In a world oversaturated with cupcakeries and artisanal donut shops, it's nice to have a bakery that's both bursting with substance and lacking in gimmickry. Gordy's Bakery & Coffeehouse in Encinitas is one of those quiet stalwarts beloved by the beach locals, but deserving of wider acclaim.
Gordy's confines (441 Encinitas Blvd.) explode with color and humor; its purple-and-yellow walls are covered in Technicolor concert posters from Solana Beach's Belly Up Tavern, and an enormous, hang-gliding Pee Wee Herman soars over the small seating area. You may also notice some groovy track-and-field posters for San Dieguito Academy tucked among the music ads—chef and owner Gordy Haskett is a track coach at the high school, as well as an elite runner.
This athletic pedigree clearly informs what you'll find in his bakery case. The toothsome muffins are packed with nuts, dried fruit and oats, yet they still manage to be moist and sweet. Fans adore Gordy's legendary Plonk, packed with raisins, bananas, walnuts, dates and more, but I prefer the lighter, nut-free Durfey, with apple, nutmeg and cloves. Gordy's has gluten-free and vegan offerings, too, but I don't buy into baked goods that lack butter, so you're on your own. (And don't get me started on my beloved gluten.)
Although Gordy's muffins are packed with protein and healthy fats to start your day, what you really need to get your paws on are the meatier offerings. I adore the Sweeney Todd Meat Pie, a cupcake-sized package of gorgeously flaky pastry baked around a steaming, juicy mixture of beef and spices. The heap of moist meat keeps the bottom of the pie soft and dense, while the cap of pastry above is buttery and light as air. The sausage roll is another meaty winner, with the same delicate and shattering savory pastry rolled around a piggier filling. It's a glorious meat cannoli.
The bacon-and-cheese scone may tempt you, because you're a sane and logical human being who recognizes genius and beauty in the world. Go for it. Personally, I like the meat-to-dough ratios in the pies and rolls better, but if you're a savory-for-breakfast kind of person, this one's a winner.
But fear not, sugar lovers, this bakery doesn't skimp on the sweets. The fruit bars are heavy and laden with a sweet, buttery, oat-filled topping. If you can catch the Snozzberry, it's a delight, with both boysenberries and blueberries providing the sweet tang of summer fruit. But you'll also find chocolate bars with caramel and walnuts, Cap'n Crunch Treats (think Rice Krispie) and the finest chocolate-chip-peanut-butter cookie outside of my mom's kitchen.
Gordy's Bakery doesn't have the flashiest of locations. There's not much of an ocean view, though the outside patio enjoys a perfect onshore breeze. This isn't a trendy, Coast Highway coffeehouse with suspendered baristas and cold-brew contraptions. But in the old-Encinitas strip mall just off the freeway you'll find ample parking, a locals vibe and a filling morning meal of a coffee and pastry for just a few bucks.
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