Featured Restaurant: Crumb Brothers Bakery in Logan, Utah
You may have noticed that I’ve scaled back on the fast food reviews as of late. For those of you who expect nothing but fast food I apologize, but believe it or not, Ryan and I do get around to eating other things. For me in particular, the past few weeks have been a chance to explore my local community and cross off some local establishments from my college “to do” bucket list. These are the places people have always been telling me to go, yet for one reason or another, I’ve never made time for in the past. Now, with less than a month until I step out into the “real world,” it’s high time I got around to seeing if these places can match their local reputation.
One of the first places I decided to hit when embarking on my own little “foodie quest” was Crumb Brothers Bakery. These guys, I’ve always been told, are legit. Crafting artisan breads in an old world, European tradition, Crumb Brothers has been selling their breads to grocery stores around Cache Valley for years. I knew I liked their breads from buying them in stores, but had never been to their actual bakery. The Crumb Brothers Bakery is situated in a rustic-looking, but modern, building that hosts a picturesque cafe.
I was pretty much overwhelmed when I got in there. The first thing I noticed was the delectable looking pastries. The girls behind the counter (who, by the way, offered me oodles of free bread samples) expertly described all their offerings, which they told me were made with European style butter and all natural ingredients. The breads, they said, take two days to rise and work off of a cultured starter, which gives them an amazingly firm and crunchy exterior that yields to an airy yet chewy interior. I had the chance to sample a few breads while there and thoroughly enjoyed a slice of Sun Flower Honey Oat, which has a wild sweetness and chewy interior. I also really enjoyed the slice of a Hot Cross Bun I received – not overly rich or sweet, it still moist and plump with raisins.
Making a decision for breakfast in a place like this is almost impossible for me. Everything just looked so good. As much as I wanted to try one of their pastries or sweets (including Blueberry Bread Pudding), I had a lot of walking ahead of me that particular morning so I wanted to get something a bit more substantial. My eyes gravitated towards a small sandwich menu, and to two choices in particular. Because it was a Friday I couldn’t have meat (good Catholic boy like me) so I had to choose between an amazing sounding peanut butter and honey on whole wheat, or a fresh mozzarella and artichoke sandwich with sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil drizzle, and basil. Oh jeez this was a tough choice – do I go with the sweet, safer sounding breakfast option (peanut butter) or the Italian flavor profile with ingredients just too good to pass up? Well, you guessed it; no way was I passing up fresh mozzarella!
At $3.50 for a half sandwich it’s not cheap, but it’s not a bad deal either considering you are getting quality ingredients and a side (I chose chips). The sandwich itself is compact, but it packed a punch where it counted. I got at least a full 2 ounces of mozzarella (maybe closer to three), and the olive oil drizzle was pretty heavy. The mixture of artichokes, basil, and sun-dried tomatoes was outstanding, bringing a symphony of sweet and briny and earthly flavors to my mouth.
The bread had a perfect and hard crunch that held together the wet inside mixture together and soaked up the oil, but the star of the show was the huge slab of cheese. Fresh mozzarella is so underrated. With good olive oil on top, it’s smooth and mild, but has a distinct mellowness in its sweetness and a sense of creaminess that best comes with savoring each bite. I would have added some black pepper and perhaps a bit of balsamic for a tang, but hey, who am I to argue with such great cheese? It’s the size of the sandwich that makes you slow down and think about what you’re eating, and really gain an appreciation for the purity of flavors. For me, sometimes lost within the overpowering flavors of sweet and salty that you get with fast food and dining hall food, the careful attention was a bite of something special.
I wish I had found Crumb Brothers’ bakery earlier. I don’t have much time left at Utah State University, and the bakery is a bit outside my “normal” price comfort zone, but I think I’ll have to make a special point to stop in one morning and pick up a pastry. The service is friendly and attentive, the food borders of ethereal, and the ambiance sings “vacation.” What more can you ask for? Oh yea, a beautiful morning with a mountain view, and that’s exactly what I got.