In these days of social distancing, eating fresh pastries, breads, and other baked goods brings more comfort than ever. Fortunately, the state’s bakeries are still hopping, many with curbside service. A few have tweaked their offerings to include take-and-bake goods or ingredients that are flying off supermarket shelves. Texas Monthly’s Dining Guide reviewers headed to some bakeries to give readers a range of options for take-home treats and offer tips for ordering and pickup. In addition to patronizing local bakeries, there are many ways to help restaurants and their staffs during this incredibly difficult time.
Baguette et Chocolat
Located on the outskirts of West Austin, this charming bakery is owned and operated by French transplants from Paris’s Versailles district. Husband-and-wife duo Anne-Lise and Chi-minh Pham-dinh have been bringing an authentic taste of French boulangeries to the Bee Cave community for a decade. Their menu includes baguettes, brioche, croissants, and macarons, as well as crepes, quiches, and sandwiches.
Ordering: Many items require ordering two days in advance. Online ordering is simple; upon arrival, call or text for curbside service.
What’s yummy: The Galettes Brittany, or warm buckwheat crepes, envelop savory ingredients like ham and gooey Brie (a bonus for the gluten-conscious: buckwheat is gluten-free!). The Parisien sandwich—French ham and Swiss cheese on a baguette, with European butter and Dijon mustard—delivers layers of flavor and texture.
Pro tip: You can order a five-pack of fresh, ready-to-serve crepes to reheat and fill with your own ingredients at home. 12101 FM 2244 (512-263-8388); baguetteetchocolat.com
Easy Tiger Bake Shop
Head dough puncher David Norman, known for his breads and pretzels, recently created a sensation selling Easy Tiger’s prized sourdough starter to go. But he also has plenty of pastries for indulgent late mornings at the bakery’s north location, in the Linc shopping center (Sixth Street is closed).
Ordering: Online ordering is easy, because each pastry has a color photo. Order ahead and pick up your items in the drive-through lane. (If you enter from Highland Mall Boulevard, cruise over to the east side of the building to get in line.) An employee will bring out your order.
What’s yummy: Technical competence is Easy Tiger’s strong suit; it shows in the tidy pain au chocolat and the small, neat, well-risen butter croissants. Even-textured blueberry muffins come topped with little sugary sprinkles; the cinnamon knot is so pretty you won’t want to eat it; and the pretzel bread is a legend in its own time. Another good bet: a thin, crispy chocolate-chunk cookie. Oh, and the coffee is excellent.
Pro tip: Up for a little home baking? Visit Easy Tiger on Facebook to join its Bread Winners baking group, share pictures and tips, and get sympathy for first-time flops. The website is a treasure trove of miscellaneous goods, from a dozen eggs to green-chile sausage links. Easy Tiger Bake Shop, 6406 N. I-35 frontage road (512-494-4151); easytigerusa.com
Texas French Bread
One of the first bakeries to sell French breads and pastries in Austin, this family-owned establishment near the University of Texas campus has kept Central Austin’s sweet tooth satisfied since 1981. The bistro is on pause, much to the sorrow of regulars.
Ordering: Call if you want a small number of pastries the same day. Park in back, phone, and someone will bring them out. You can also walk up to the makeshift but adequately protected order table at the corner of 29th and Rio Grande. For big orders, call or email [email protected] before noon, 48 hours ahead of your desired pickup time.
What’s yummy: The top pick of a recent foray was a ham and cheese croissant; not classically crisp or flaky, it was so sweet and melty it didn’t matter (reheating was crucial). Toasting (or, God forbid, nuking) is also recommended for walnut scones and carrot-walnut muffins. Availability changes daily, so be flexible.
Pro tip: For lunch, order sandwiches (like chicken salad or their famous pimento cheese) ahead of time. They’ve also got you covered for a dozen eggs and milk. 2900 Rio Grande (512-499-0544); texasfrenchbread.com
Bisous Bisous Pâtisserie
Paris meets Dallas at this charming West Village bakery. In addition to classic French pastries and wildly popular macarons, owner Andrea Meyer gets creative with croissant dough, fashioning Danish-like pastries and cruffins (dough sheaths rolled with fillings and baked in muffin tins). Scones, muffins, desserts, and coffee drinks round out the menu.
Ordering: Call for same-day pickup, or order in person (customers enter one at a time). Place online orders two days ahead; call upon arrival for curbside delivery.
What’s yummy: Expect flaky croissants and luscious lemon meringue tarts par excellence. Always ask for the decadent kouign-amann, a frequent special, made of croissant dough laminated with sugar and butter. The savory smoked Gouda and ham cruffin goes well with a glass of wine.
Pro tip: Buy a dozen freezer-to-oven pastries for no-fuss fresh-baked treats at home. Desperate scratch bakers can pick up yeast, flours, and sugar here too. The gorgeous, sinfully rich cakes require two days’ notice. 3700 McKinney Ave (214-613-3570); bisous-bisous.com
Since 2016, owner Corrado Palmieri has had a cult following for the pastries of his native Southern Italy. He makes everything from scratch and roasts beans for the cafe’s many excellent coffee drinks. Besides sweet bakery treats, there are calzones and panini made with house–made bread.
Ordering: Online ordering is efficient, with email confirmation and text alerts. Call on arrival for curbside service. Delivery is via Grubhub.
What’s yummy: The filled sweet pastries are worth every calorie. For breakfast, get the graffa, a puffy, sugar-dusted bread filled with vanilla pastry cream. Some pastries could double as dessert, like the pasticciotti (shortcrust pastry dough filled with a choice of creamy custards) and cannoncini (flaky, tubular pastries filled with vanilla or chocolate pastry cream). The savory rustico pastry, stuffed with spinach and ricotta, is hearty enough for dinner.
Pro tip: Add bagged coffee (beans, ground, or pods) and gelato to your order. 920 S. Harwood (214-684-9932); palmiericafe.com
Amid gentrification in the nearby Bishop Arts District, this mom-and-pop Mexican bakery retains Oak Cliff’s Hispanic soul. Alfonso Vera bought the tiny spot in 1995, after working for decades at Neiman Marcus’s bakery, where he learned cake–making. A wide variety of fresh pan dulce draws loyal customers.
Ordering: Phone orders are welcome, but there’s no curbside service. An attendant will bag the pastries you choose.
What’s yummy: Although the classic conchas with brightly colored embossed toppings don’t disappoint, the best pan dulce is the Granada, a pillow-soft egg bread with a geometric topping design. The Novia, a coiled egg bread dusted with superfine sugar, is another winner. The pineapple and apple empanadas are excellent, with a nice ratio of sweet filling to wonderfully textured crust.
Pro tip: Ask for the capirotada (Mexican bread pudding, with raisins) in the refrigerated glass case at the counter. The bakery is also famous for its fanciful custom cakes, from two-layered to multitiered. 932 W. Davis (214-943-2167); veras-bakery-dallas.sites.tablehero.com
For decades, Esperanza’s has been the go-to Mexican bakery on Fort Worth’s north side. A sibling of the renowned Joe T. Garcia’s Mexican restaurant, it’s named for one of Joe T.’s daughters.
Ordering: Speak loudly when you order; a high plexiglass partition separates you and the attendant. If you don’t know the names of the items, pointing is perfectly acceptable. After the order is bagged, pay the cashier.
What’s yummy: The brioche-like conchas taste as good as they look; colored sugar-paste designs atop the perfect domes lend a clamshell appearance. The empanadas are sturdy turnovers with a glossy egg wash, filled with sweet potato, pineapple, or apple. Teatime treats include orejas (featherlight, ear-shaped pastries sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon) and galletas (shortbread-like cookies with jam centers).
Pro tip: Weekday mornings are quiet. For curb service, call in your order. Otherwise, only one person per family may enter at a time. 2122 N. Main (817-626-5770) and 1601 Park Place Ave (817-923-1992); esperanzasfw.com
Pearl Snap Kolaches
This local upstart gave Cowtown some of its first fresh kolaches. A second location opened in Funkytown to further satisfy the public’s hunger for these pillow-like, fruit-filled Czech sweet rolls—and for klobasniky, cylindrical rolls filled with smoked sausage.
Ordering: Call ahead or email ([email protected]), and order by the dozen. Otherwise, queue up—six feet apart—for swift counter service. For online orders, there’s in-town and nationwide delivery.
What’s yummy: The top kolaches are apricot and blueberry, and the best klobasnek holds a smoked beef-and-pork sausage link wrapped with Colby cheddar and pickled jalapeño. The heartiest choice is a kolache stuffed with pulled pork. Giant cinnamon rolls go well with the coffees from Big Bend Coffee Roasters, in Marfa.
Pro tip: At lunch, get the Little Becky, a poppy–and–sesame-seed-crusted ham-and-cheese kolache. Decline microwave heating, unless you can tolerate paper sticking to pastry. Thursday and Friday evenings, the White Settlement store sells $5 Angus beef kolache burgers. 4006 White Settlement Rd and 2743 S. Hulen (817-233-8899); pskolaches.com
Three Danes Baking Company
The daughter of a Danish native, pastry chef Darlene Marks studied baking in Copenhagen. Since 2017, she’s been selling goodies from the bakery located at her inn on the Near Southside.
Ordering: Order via phone, text, or Facebook messenger. For curbside delivery, text upon arrival at the yellow Victorian house, near the bakery door on W. Leuda Street.
What’s yummy: Perfect with a cup of the strong Peruvian coffee are the smørkage (Danish butter cake) and the kringle (a Texan–ized strudel with cinnamon and pecans). Less sweet is the frøsnapper, or Danish twist, a buttercream-filled puff pastry. For dessert, get the mazarinkage, a chocolate-dipped, muffin-size cake with an almond-butter interior.
Pro tip: Check the bakery’s Facebook page for weekly menus or request an assortment box and let Darlene choose for you. Produce, eggs, and organic beef from Stone’s Throw Farm are often sold on-site. Currently open only Friday and Saturday. 712 May (817-690-8465); three-danes-baking-company.business.site
Emma + Ollie
“People sure are eating a lot of sugar these days,” says Rebecca Rather, the owner of seriously adorable bakery and restaurant Emma + Ollie, and she would know. Fredericksburg is only an hour and a half from either Austin or San Antonio, and you need a break anyway, right?
Ordering: It’s best to order a day ahead (you’ll need to call), because it’s a small place and very popular. You can pick up at the bakery counter or have them bring the order to your car. There’s also delivery in Fredericksburg for $5.
What’s yummy: These days, the pastry menu is short and sweet: beignets under drifts of powdered sugar; seriously cheesy bacon cheddar scones; sausage-and-cheese kolaches; and changing muffins (pistachio-orange-zucchini if you’re lucky). The amber-crusted biscuits with honey butter and jam are worth their weight in gold (but cost only $4 each).
Pro tip: The restaurant’s pickup menu of lunches (think tomato cheddar soup, fried chicken kale salad, salmon Cobb) is under “The New Normal” on the website. Also click on “Weekly Specials” for changing frozen meals (potpies, chicken lasagna) and cooked, ready-to-serve dinners (chile relleno, crawfish étouffée). Wine pairings are being planned. 607 S. Washington (830-383-1013); emmaolliefbg.com
If you went to bakery heaven, this would be it. With no shortage of sweets in enticing colors, this is modern, adult-in-a-candy-store stuff. Expect to pay a pretty penny for European–leaning pastries like kugelhopf (a sugar-dusted Austrian doughnut cake), perfect croissants, giant scones, and a rainbow of macarons.
Ordering: Call or order online for curbside pickup or delivery. If unfamiliar, order inside; pastries are extra large, and some aren’t fully described online.
What’s yummy: You’ll be gobsmacked by the open-face strawberry jam croissant with endless flaky, buttery layers (plain is great too). Other stunners are the towering muffins, busting with blueberries; moist hazelnut muffins laced with shaved toasted hazelnuts and chocolate chunks; and bright citrus-cranberry scones. The full coffee bar makes a stellar cappuccino.
Pro tip: Anything goes for custom cakes; a recent specialty cake looked exactly like a roll of Charmin! They also sell granola, bulk coffee, artisan breads, and brownies, gift boxed. Check out the website’s 10K Baguette Challenge; a $3 donation buys a baguette for the Houston Food Bank. Multiple locations; commonbondcafe.com
Nestled in a strip center in Montrose, La Guadalupana offers sinfully delicious pastries as well as chilaquiles, enchiladas de mole, and posole.
Ordering: It’s not crowded these days; you can phone in your order for curbside pickup, or order though Doordash.
What’s yummy: Chef Trancito Diaz is a pastry wiz, and his churros and croissants are among the best in the city. Besides light and buttery plain croissants, he makes tasty almond croissants too. The churros are addictive, warm and crusty with a surprise center of dulce de leche. You won’t regret ordering them by the dozen.
Pro tip: Don’t miss the terrific house-roasted cinnamon coffee, and bring home some savory dishes for lunch or dinner. La Guad (as some regulars call it) is renowned for its friendliness; chef Diaz often gives away pastries. 2109 Dunlavy (713-522-2301)
The Original Kolache Shoppe
There are kolache chains galore now, but this pint-size bakery in southeast Houston is an original, owned by the same family since 1956. Served warm from the oven are old-school Czech fruit kolaches, sausage klobasniky, fajita hand pies, and walnut-dusted cinnamon rolls as big as your face. Surprise treats are sand tarts and crisp pastry twists piped with lemon cream cheese.
Ordering: Most folks show up to place their order. The bakery closes at noon on weekdays, so it’s crazy busy between 8 and 10 a.m. No online ordering, but you can call ahead.
What’s yummy: The cherry with streusel kolache is a morning glory—puffy, yeasty bread bulging with fruit filling. Sweet cottage cheese kolaches could be lunch. Extra-large klobasniky blanketing kielbasa sausage, cheese, and jalapeño, as well as the savory hand pies (“croissants”), are hearty fare. Want dessert? Get the flaky cinnamon-apple turnovers drizzled with caramel.
Pro tip: A full coffee menu, featuring Zeppelin coffee, includes nitro cold brews. Caramelized nitro peach tea, organic loose-leaf teas, and bottled kombucha are also available. 5404 Telephone Rd (713-649-0711); originalkolache.com
RIO GRANDE VALLEY/McALLEN
CC’s Sweets & Tweets
CC’s says they “love to bake you happy,” and they’ve been doing that with their innovative cakes and cupcakes for a long time. Now they’ve expanded into macarons and pastries.
Ordering: Ordering is easy on the user-friendly website. You’ll get a text or email confirmation; simply text them back when you arrive to pick up.
What’s yummy: CC’s creative cupcake designs have spilled over into their macarons, with fun versions like sprinkle-coated birthday cake and crunchy fruity pebbles. The best macaron is a classic, though: light and airy brownie-flavored batter with a rich chocolate fudge center. The cruffins are a fun take on a flaky croissant, baked in a muffin tin with either vanilla or chocolate cream. Other winners include the Ferrero Rocher Brownie and the Layered Brownie, a blondie topped with fudge brownie, sandwiching a crunchy layer of Oreos. 5401 N. 10th, McAllen (956-878-5787); lovetobakeyouhappy.com
De Alba Bakery
A Rio Grande Valley institution for three generations, this family–owned bakery now has multiple locations and a product line that includes everything from pastries and custom cakes to salsas and tamales.
Ordering: Online ordering is easy on their beautiful website, but you can drive through to pick the freshest baked items from the display.
What’s yummy: Slightly sweetened pastries like conchas are dense enough to dunk in coffee or Mexican hot chocolate without them falling apart. It’s always best to pick up a wide assortment of goodies, like fruity turnovers and rich cream-cheese “tacos,” to share with friends (or not!).
Pro tip: They sell prepared masa and corn husks for you to make your own tamales at home. 2633 Pecan Blvd, McAllen (956-631-9790); dealbabakery.com
This bakery and cafe has a decidedly upscale vibe, from the Tiffany–blue accents and velvet sofas to the beautiful takeout packaging.
Ordering: The website is not up and running yet, but you can order the old–fashioned way, by phone. Friendly staffers offer a thorough description of menu items and can help you put together an assortment.
What’s yummy: Their vanilla– and chocolate–filled croissants transport you to Paris (and we don’t mean Paris, Texas!), thanks to wonderfully flaky pastry and just enough filling to add sweetness without making things soggy. Adelitos—flaky croissant pastries with a layer of vanilla cream or Nutella, topped with a lattice of pastry—are like Texan strudels.
Pro tip: They make an outstanding cup of coffee, and they’ll package the components of their creative mimosas to-go. 5101 N. 10th, McAllen (956-800-4192).
Bakers Jeremy Mandrell and Anne Ng met while working for Thomas Keller in California, and since moving to San Antonio in 2010, they’ve shown the city what pastries are meant to be. Made with quality ingredients, their pastries are little works of art.
Ordering: You can order online for curbside pickup, through a delivery service, or in person.
What’s yummy: The lemon curd–filled kouign–amann, a crown-shaped pastry, may bring you to tears with its extra-buttery flakiness and tart-sweet curd. The macarons are justly famous and come in enticing flavors such as Earl Grey and blackberry-cardamom. Don’t miss the raspberry-topped cheese Danish.
Pro tip: Take home a tray of ready-to-bake cookies; proceeds benefit staff members who are unable to work because of COVID-19 regulations. Multiple locations; bakerylorraine.com
An outlier in the pastry world, this family-owned bakery makes homey “macro-friendly” treats. Personal trainer Audrey Ayala’s offerings are free of added sugar, wheat flour, and butter. You’ll find some unusual options too (“raw” cookie dough, anyone?).
Ordering: Order online and allow thirty minutes for preparation; a pickup time will be texted to you. Text when you get to the shop.
What’s yummy: The cinnamon–swirled, gluten- and dairy-free coffee cake is among the best. While not actually a pastry, the extra-dark–chocolate and sugar-free Protein Pb Cups will boost your serotonin levels through the roof. Skip the jalapeño-cheese bagels, unless you’re desperate for something resembling a bagel.
Pro tip: Pick up loaves of gluten-free and dairy-free protein bread, whole cheesecakes, and coffee cake for the family. 12682 FM 1560 North, Helotes (210-540-3288); barbell-sweets.com
Open since 1961, Bedoy’s is one of San Antonio’s best–known panaderias. The Hillcrest location is closed for renovation, but the Hildebrand store is humming. The traditional pan dulce summons memories of Fiesta and Dia de los Muertos.
Ordering: Call to order, and be prepared to wait a minute if you need an English speaker. The website has photos but no labels, so you’ll want to know the difference between an empanada de camote (a half-moon pastry filled with cinnamon-laced sweet potato) and an oreja (a flaky ear-shaped pastry).
What’s yummy: You can’t go wrong with the pan dulce. It’s best enjoyed fresh, so order early, and give it a quick oven warm-up. The conchas are billowy, with a great scallop of sugar on top; the semitas are tender and aromatic with anise. For cookies, get the marranito (little pig), a dense ginger-molasses cookie.
Pro tip: Take home a stack of fresh flour tortillas too. 803 W. Hildebrand Ave (210–736-2253); bedoysbakery.com