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Let's eat.

From Big Sur's killer cliff-clinging eateries to Salinas' unparalleled produce, this blog aims to sniff out all things Monterey County can stomach, via picture and prose, curiosity and appetite, hand and mouth.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Bakery Station Opens in Oldtown Salinas

One of our Salinas staffers brought in two little white boxes of small jewels earlier this week: little apple, banana nut and blueberry crumb muffins, still warm—and downright delicious.

With them came welcome news. The Bakery Station (783-1140) is now open on Monterey Street (#202) in Salinas.

Over here the muffins helped a sales star who's been ill with the flu break her unwanted fast (she had to move fast because the collection of two dozen went quickly). Over in Oldtown, best friends, founders and Salinas High alumni Ana Melissa Garcia (the baker) and Erika Olivarez (the bookkeeper) call their business "a true match made in leaven."

They're doing what they call "handmade, artisan-style fusion baking" and "retro, old-world baked goods." In less flowery/abstract terms, that means everything is old-school and from scratch. That also means everything from deli sandwiches built like the big Bel Air and its house-baked sourdough, 8 ounces of turkey breast, three strips of thick bacon, gouda, smoked chipotle aioli, spring mix, cucumber, red onion, tomato and pepperoncini ($8.95), to three-cheese-and-ham frittatas ($5)... breads like parmesan-garlic foccaica, $3.50/9-inch loaf) to the aforementioned muffins ($3 for the big boys). There are even Mexican wedding cookies passed down from Garcia's great grandmother, no ceremony required. The owners cite a culinary-minded family life as a major inspiration for their infant endeavor.

And there are desserts like the chocolate truffle tort, a rustic, flourless, dense, rich, chocolate lovers' treat with chocolate ganache ($6/for a darn-hard-to-finish slice).

All the goods are nestled nicely into a restyled gas station made over with key help from the Rancho Cielo Youth Corps (444-3532), who remain reliably eager to help out wherever they can—including carpentry, masonry and painting. (Call them—everybody benefits.) The joint reflects that classic car-style motif. A 50-year-old Snap On toolbox is being used as a coffee station, for instance.

"It's been such an adventure to come back and bring something new to Salinas," Garcia says. "We hope to eventually expand our business by providing culinary lessons to the community."

Response is so enthusiastic the biggest challenge, as Olivarez says, "keeping up."