Sugar cravings can be hard to predict. I would hazard to guess that the average South Bay resident didn’t wake up this morning and decide to hit a couple bakeries and sample 5-8 various items. But, alas, this was the way my unassuming Tuesday unfolded.
Luckily for you, I am testing out these goodies so you don’t have to, unless you want the excuse for your own scientific experimentation.
I am mostly gluten free (I’m hoping to become fully gluten free as my willpower catches up with my mindset) and my sister is newly vegan. With that in mind, I wanted an easy option for a sweet ending to meals without having to dust off my gluten free/vegan cookbooks.
After 20 minutes of intense internet research, two local bakeries stood out.
St. Moritz Bakery
Let’s start with St. Moritz. I recognized their name from the Veteran’s Park farmers market and came to understand that they are a staple at a handful of other local markets as well. Their selection is huge; 80% of it is not gluten free (GF), but the GF options keep growing.
The head baker chatted with me through a thick accent and couldn’t have been more friendly and honest about what was selling and what wasn’t. In addition, his wife has Celiac disease so he understands the demands of GF baking, dedicating one day a week to this task and thereby keeping the kitchen free from cross-contamination.
Because of the single baking day, he sells out of most things over the weekend so I was left to slim pickings by Tues AM (wish I could plan these darn carb cravings!). I settled on a pumpkin/walnut loaf, a bag of classic chocolate chip cookies, and a 2-pack of lemon bars.
There were no gluten free AND vegan options here but I was pleasantly surprised that the huge bread menu is ALL diary, egg, and fat free… but alas, there were no gluten free savory bread options.
The total was $11 but I realized after the fact that he didn’t charge me for the cookies since he couldn’t vouch for their freshness since the weekend.
- Moritz Bakery (attached to a restaurant and deli)
25600 Narbonne Ave, Lomita CA 90717 (310) 530-9880
The Good Cookies & Beyond
The Good Cookies & Beyond has been open for 3 years but only recently began advertising and is a 100% gluten free facility! That’s fantastic for those who are strictly GF, but not so great for those who like a large variety from a bakery; their menu is dramatically smaller or more focused.
Their Torrance Blvd storefront is very cute, with a view into the bakery from the counter. The bakers know their ingredients well and readily offer suggestions. I chose a couple GF donut holes after they were suggested, a vegan pumpkin cupcake with cinnamon icing, and a vegan coconut chocolate chip cookie (also suggested by the baker). The total bill came to $7 which I thought was fairly steep considering the small portions of cookies and donuts.
- The Good Cookies & Beyond, 2081 Torrance Blvd
Torrance CA 90501 (310) 320-7900
So who won the battle of the bakeries? The Good Cookies & Beyond, hands down.
The vegan chocolate chip/coconut cookie was very good, even by GF/vegan standards. I loved that it had a real chewiness and wasn’t overly sweet (a common crutch used in allergy friendly baking). At $1.50 a pop they are a splurge for those who need to eat them.
The donut holes were a close second; moist and tender, rolled in cinnamon sugar for a bit of crunch. The biggest flop was the cupcake: dry and flavorless, with a strange “Crisco-like” texture of frosting.
That being said, the Good Cookies dry cupcake isn’t half as bad as the disappointing items from St. Moritz. The pumpkin walnut bread was bland and dry (but also somehow oily?) and the lemon bar lacked the contrast of texture and tartness that one expects.
Funny enough, the chocolate chip cookies were delightful, even though they were a day or two past their prime. Dipped in milk or coffee they were addictive. To be fair, the owner most likely bakes a mean loaf of regular bread, but his GF confections aren’t worth the calorie splurge. I would go back for some of those fresh cookies… ya know when my next mid-morning craving kicks in.