There aren't a lot of savory items on offer at Dulce, the new bakery and sweetshop that has dropped a cream-filled and flaky-crusted bomb on the South Capitol district. But one can find there a quiche as delectable as any ever offered in, as far as I'm concerned, the history of the world.
The crust on the vegetable quiche is relentlessly perfect—like friends you can't stand to hang around too much because they do everything right. But to eat the object of such insecurity restores the ego and, at Dulce, deeply gratifies the tongue and stomach. Inside the flavorful crust—which holds each slice secure but disintegrates eagerly into the mouth—the filling is light, practically oxygenated, and feels like eating a cloud. At least, it feels like eating a cloud liberally peppered with locally sourced, seasonal vegetables and seasoned by some heavenly spice cabinet.
But don't confine yourself to the fresh, flawless quiches; there are too many other delights behind the pastry case. A cream cheese danish, for example, demonstrates the same masterful craft with dough and baking. And it is so deftly sweetened that you should not be surprised if people eating one snarl when you get too close. It's a natural instinct to protect such treasure.
Fortunately, there are plenty of clean, nicely styled tables to which you can slink off and defend your danish. Or your unholy cupcake. Or your plain old—but very well-brewed—cup of joe. If, like me, you happen to be annoyed with the near impossibility of locating a properly made espresso macchiato, you may rest your bitter and complaint-prone soul easy at Dulce.
So far, I have failed to find a poorly made coffee drink or a sloppily baked offering at Dulce. A muffin awakened my childhood (and childlike) passion for banana-nut bread: crumbly in all the right places with a razor-thin crunch across the summit and moist, refreshing muffin below. It is neither too sweet nor, as is often the lamentable case, chewily moist in the center.
Simple cookies, too, are consistently excellent. Once, an oatmeal cookie that eschewed raisins in favor of orange currants put me in such a state of contemplative bliss that I was nearly run over by a tractor while standing around a construction site.
Adding to the capable quality of the food and coffee preparation is the ethic espoused and practiced at Dulce. Not only are ingredients sourced locally but, also, all of the to-go containers and miscellaneous utensils that accompany a quick pastry and coffee are renewable, biodegradable and all the other sorts of eco-conscious-ables you might want. Since it appears unlikely that progressive legislation encouraging businesses to make such moves will make it past the governor's desk for the time being, it's heartening to see the private sector volunteering to do the right thing. If, for example, the Santa Fe Brewing Company continues to find it entertaining to push plastic cups on customers, they may as well push biodegradable plastic cups (although glass still tastes better).
Finally, Dulce is surprisingly comfortable. It has a crisp, clean interior that manages a kind of hipster diner sensibility without being overbearing. It also avoids the Santa Fe funkiness that too often feels like required décor in local cafés.
Sweet tooth, sweet (Wi-Fi) spot and sweet sensibilities—thanks, Dulce.
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