Saturday, July 18, 2009

Guglhupf Bakery, Durham, NC


Guglhupf Bakery and Cafe is a Durham institution. I first came to know about it while looking to buy Aparna's birthday cake last year. After almost a year in Durham, and several recommendations from friends who had been there, we finally made it for lunch today afternoon.

The cafe is primarily a Salad & Sandwich place. While the menu isn't rich in vegetarian options, it did contain a few options that showed some imagination as opposed to a run-of-the-mill apologist vegetarian selection that's more of an afterthought than anything else. We started off with the do-it-yourself bruschetta featuring warm toasts, roasted red peppers, olive tapenade and ratatouille - the tapenade was an easy standout. The cheese plates were particularly eye catching but I left them for another day. I had to pace myself - the sandwiches and pastries were still to come.

I ordered the roasted beet sandwich which was excellent. While I'd have preferred slightly crunchier red beets for their sheer beauty, the golden beets weren't bad at all. The bleu-cheese dressing and the pungent flavor of the arugula leaves made it a memorable meal. Aparna got the half-n-half combo with Eggplant Panini and lentil soup. The former was excellent with melting fresh mozzarella cheese, the latter was passable - it was the only vegetarian option available at that time.

We ended with a rich chocolate mousse (pictured above) and lemon panacotta. As it often happens, I forget that I have pictures to take before attacking a dish and the pannacotta suffered as a result. It was a tidy little package and had all the attributes of a great pannacotta - a light but firm texture, not overly sweet with a hint of lemon and creamy without tasting milky.

While the cakes and pastries are top-notch, Guglhupf Cafe is a charming destination for a relaxed weekend lunch. It may not have a great vegetarian selection but it does well in terms of "quality not quantity".

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