Craftsman & Wolves is a new-ish bakery on Valencia St. It is not a carpentry supply store or a bizarre dance studio/cult. It’s one of those bakeries where it’s easy to be overcome with blind fear, the same fear a child experiences when they begin screaming after discovering they’re holding a stranger’s hand.
At first, everything looks delicious and I’m feeling confident. I’m like, “Bakery….I know bakery. Bakery has cookie, has cake, has bread.” But then bakery turns out to have things called “the rebel within,” and “pain au cochon,” and a scone with “mango, ginger, coconut, and kaffir lime.” And when the woman helping boyfriend and me decide points to something and explains, “this is a financier,” I know that this is not the bakery of my homespun, capitalist youth (Panera).
Nevertheless, we persevere, wading through the muck of over-descriptive pastry names and decision-anxiety. We purchased one (1) brewed coffee, one (1) small latte, one (1) chocolate chip cookie, one (1) “rebel within,” and one (1) sesame passion fruit croissant. The total cost: a cool twenty (20) dollars. I wonder what my sister would say, the one that called $1 popcorn at the Wichita botanical garden “a rip-off.”
The place is packed and we’re forced to sit next to strangers. I’m not mad, I’m just telling it how it is.
We dig into the food, delicately placed on square ceramic plates that are clearly not from Ikea. The first surprise is that the rebel of “the rebel within” is a soft-boiled egg. BOOM. SURPRISE. The yoke is gooey and fairly delicious (if you like egg juice), adding to the flakey, hammy, biscuity, exterior. Unfortunately, the dough around the egg is a little raw, disappointing for a place that calls itself “a notion.”
The cookie was tantalizing, salty enough to make sure everyone knows there’s salt in it, and plenty of chocolate even for the women. It wasn’t doughy at all (though it was described as such by a review in 7×7), but I’d definitely stop back in on a day that I deserve a treat and dunk that mother-nucker in some Nescafe instant coffee (BRING ON THE BOOS! I FEED OFF YOUR HATRED!)
The third baked item, the croissant, was a little sad and dry. The flavor was good, but if I’d had a pat of softened butter or some edible lotion I would have moisturized the crap out of it.
Upon leaving Craftsman & Wolves, I knew I would probably return, if only for their carnitas and machengo mac and cheese. It was fairly tasty and certainly interesting. Maybe next time I’ll get something even more inscrutable, like a buckwheat, concord grape, and peanut butter cube cake. Just try to figure that one out.