I know, I know. I use a lot of puns. But really, this one was too good to pass up and so is Proof Bakery in Atwater. Although it has only been open two weeks, they really get high marks from me for putting together a great bakery and coffee bar. Their pastry style and decor is simple yet elegant, superbly executed with no frills. To tell you the truth it really reminded me of Tartine in San Francisco, even down to the same set of shiny steel tables chairs on the outside patio
This might make some cry foul, but if they did I would flash my yellow card and tell them to stop arguing with the ref. After all, what is wrong with admiring the greatness of an institution like Tartine and wanting to incorporate some of their award winning aspects into your bakery. Especially when those aspects are delicious pastry, tasteful decor and the absence of trendy treats like whoopie pies, cupcakes and made to order expensive-a*# doughnuts. In fact, the pastry chef was not offended at all when I told her Proof reminded me a lot of Tartine, she even said "Thanks, Tartine is doing a lot of things right."
Ok, ok enough comparison, on to the food and coffee. So what is behind the glass? Let me rack my brain... things like Croissants, Creme Brulee Tarts, Orange Ginger Meringues, Florentine Ganache Sandwich Cookies, Gingerbread Pudding, Palmiers...
You know, elegant yet rustic goods; things you want to see behind the glass because you know the lack of pounds of buttercream means they speak for themselves, and they sure spoke to me.
I decided to start with a sampling of things that sounded most delicious to me, this included an Orange Ginger Meringue, a Florentine Ganache Sandwich Cookie and a Swiss-Austrian spice cookie called a Zimeral?...Zimeraldi?...Zim-something! Does the name matter, it was good!
It was so spicy warm, with a hint of candied orange peel, chewy in a good way and a little almondy. Just the sort of cookie you want to be eating in December.
The meringue was huge! Very tasty, but probably my least favorite of the three since it lacked a certain kick I was expecting from the orange and the ginger.
The Florentine Ganache Sandwich Cookie was a knock out. It was more like a brittle sandwich than a cookie sandwich, but it was still intense. The brittle was so nutty and toasty and was spotted with zingy currants.
Not to mention the dark chocolate ganache center made it just lovely.
The coffee was good, well I got an Americano, but it was excellent. They serve Four Barrel! which is my favorite espresso in San Francisco. Granted, they were out when I was there, but I guess glitches like that come with being two weeks old. The set up is kinda confusing, because they advertise the coffee as a pop-up shop called Cognoscenti within the bakery, but it seems like it is there to stay since there is a massive espresso machine installed on the counter. At least I hope they are there to stay! Or where else will I get Four Barrel in LA?
Lastly, but definitely not leastly (I think "leastly" makes the phrase sound cuter). The people there are nice and not pretentious! They are passionate about good food and coffee and glad to share it with their customers. So if you "knead" more "Proof" than that, go shove a Pain a Chocolat down your hole! As for me, Proof Bakery had become my new go to.