Should you be struck with a sharp desire for refined carbohydrates in a culturally authentic form while you whip down the Mission Street hill to Daly City, slow down, park that gas guzzling machine, and curb your wheels. You're going to Bread Basket.
But not to linger. No, BB's linoleum-glass-metal décor does not inspire a loitering perusal of their traditional Filipino bake stuffs. Though the woman behind the counter is a benevolent deity, generous and tolerant of your gringo tendency to stare gape mouthed at her wares, repeating the treats' names softly. “Bakery” here does not signify Wi-fi. Or, for that matter, chairs.
It signifies baking, which they do quite a lot of here. Bread Basket has two other store, one in San Diego and another in SoCal, (all places with some of the largest Filipino communities in our fair land -- Daly City alone is home to 32,000) and at all of them, the pandesal is the hype item. For those of us with little Filipino and/or Spanish linguistic wisdom, pandesal are the Filipino rolls that go well made into a sandwich, as a accompaniment to your caffiene, or perhaps stuffed into your mouth from their condensated bag on your way back to your (wheels curbed!) car. As with most bakeries, an early morning trip will serve you well in your quest for fresh specimens.
Sweet tooths will find sliced apple, blueberry, chocolate and banana breads, cupcakes, flan, and custard tarts, as well as the more traditionally Filipino offerings of buko pies (buko being Tagalog for “young coconut”), hopia (chewy biscuits filled with mung bean paste or pork), and bibingka (a dense cake made of rice flour).
And of course, the ube treats. Ube is a purple yam that imparts a color rarely seen outside of breakfast cereals to whatsover foodstuff you fancy. At Bread Basket, you can buy ube twist pastries, or if you really have had it up to here with that nutritional value thing, head straight for the pastillas de ube. The pastillas de ube are fantastically violet, sugar sprinkled pillows that taste like nothing more distinctive than a delicious tube of frosting. Made by the lovely woman who just handed you a plastic box-tray of them for $2.30. Just wonderful.
But that larger question, I think, remains. Why, when faced with a bakery full of freshly baked breads, does one immediately gravitate towards the bright purple nuggets? Can we attribute it to Sunday morning cartoons, or is a subconscious yen to challenge our dietary tracts?
7099 Mission, Daly City