Sept. 23, 2017
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Michael J Wilson

At Least It’s Early!

A need somewhat filled

June 21, 2017, 12:00 am

I’m always amazed when I hear about people going downtown for breakfast regularly. First, it’s not cheap; restaurants downtown have downtown prices. Second, breakfast is a meal that doesn’t show up on most restaurants’ menus unless it’s a weekend brunch. Third, restaurants in Santa Fe have Santa Fe hours. Have you tried to get an early breakfast downtown on a weekday? Tourists are lucky that hotels offer continental breakfasts.

This is all a preamble to discuss Boultawn’s Bakery (105 E Marcy St., 983-9006), which just took over the location vacated by the short-lived Chez Dré. The spot is right downtown, is super visible and ready to go. Chef/owner Tawn Dix bought the space wholesale, down to the decor. This made it easier for Dix to set up quickly, but it lends itself to an overwhelming sense of deja vu as you enter.

The menu is simple: pastries, breakfast sandwiches and crepes. The trend away from 20-page menus is so welcome. Give me a smaller selection made well and I’m happy. And Dix is making simple foods well.

The case was full of croissants and cinnamon rolls. He offers a small selection of tiny waffles as well, which is an incredibly nice break from the artisanal donut fad. After talking to the counter staff for a bit, it was revealed that Dix is also substituting coconut oil for butter in his pastries. I’m all for experimenting with cooking, but am deeply skeptical of these sorts of changes. I decided I’d give the cinnamon roll ($2.75) a try.

For the rest of the meal I went with a crepe with turkey and spinach filling ($7.95)—that also promised a house-made bechamel—as well as the berry jicama salad ($8.50). They have a full coffee menu and a nice selection of sodas. I grabbed an apple soda and sat by the window.

Up front, I want to emphasize that the menu is very reasonably priced and their seven days a week, 7 am- 4 pm hours make them one of the easiest and earliest places to get food downtown any day of the week. Their light-fare menu also makes this one of the few places to get something simple mid-day. This is all very welcome.

I got my cinnamon roll first. I hadn’t thought to ask for it after the meal, which was my fault. It’s clear that this is more of a diner-type spot and I did order it with my main course. After an internal debate of to dessert first or not, I dug in.

First Impressions:

  • It is oddly light in color
  • The icing was bubbling and smelled great

This was not an American cinnamon roll—those are the size of your head, slathered in frosting, and dark brown with a thick layer of cinnamon and sugar. This was more like the simple iced bun you’d get in many European countries, and it tasted like that as well. More like a dinner roll in texture, with icing that was more rich than sweet, it was pretty good. I did miss the specific butter taste that coconut oil just cannot match, but this was a good desert. I’d have it again.

My salad and crepe came next.

First Impressions:

  • This salad was very large
  • The crêpe was a bit anemic looking, but also thick somehow
  • Plating on the crepe was weird

Let’s start with the salad: A pretty basic chopped lettuce affair with a really nice spread of strawberries and jicama, topped with sunflower seeds and nice side of mango. The dressing was a berry vinaigrette that was a little sweet for my liking, but it is really nice to see a salad not using sad spring mix.

The crepe was ... not a crepe. Or it was, but it was very thick and pancake-like. The sliced turkey and spinach were cold, and this could have been a good choice if the pastry itself had also been cold, but it wasn’t. The bechamel was creamy and ranch-y, which is an interesting choice, but made the whole thing feel like a really oddly made wrap, and while I am into evolving cuisine, this felt a bit off. It didn’t taste bad, but it didn’t feel like the promised meal.

Bottom line is that downtown needs an early-morning spot with simple, cheap fare. Dix is filling this hole. Though he’s currently a square peg in a round hole. There are rumors of bagels, and if he can evolve his menu as he moves forward this will easily become a go-to for many people who up to now have had to make do with more expensive later-in-the-day options.


 

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