The age-old problem: Your wallet is hurting but the weekend brunches are calling. You are not alone in your troubles, and rest assured SFR is on the hunt for some of the best (and quieter) brunch and pastry shops around town, particularly as businesses are allowed to start serving more patrons. Perhaps if there’s one thing uniting this fractured nation right now, it’s brunch.
Where the Wild Crepes Are
Sagche’s Coffee House (730 Saint Michaels Dr., 780-5263) feels old school in most ways. If it has a website, we couldn’t find it, and its social media spheres aren’t particularly active. Still, co-proprietors and brothers Erwin and Walfre Sagche have built a faithful following at their limited Midtown digs, and though Sagche’s Coffee House might be small and lacking in aesthetic pretense, the emphasis is placed on the food rather than the decor. Sagche’s boasts full menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the siren call of crepes was too much to ignore, even if the eatery’s variety is ultimately small.
Ranging from $8.50 to $11.25, crepes come in both sweet and a savory varieties, so we sampled one peach and one veggie breakfast (both $8.50). Sagche’s doesn’t skimp on presentation. The peach crepe was spongier than expected and had a muted, sweet flavor, which balanced well with the smooth peaches that topped the package. With three dollops of vanilla-infused whipped cream and a light drizzle of hazelnut sauce, it almost felt like a work of art even as there was some difficulty in navigating a fork around its delicate texture. Perhaps it was a bit too rich, and a balance of tartness could have added nuance, but still—it already feels like it might become a go-to crepe for future visits.
The veggie breakfast crepe contained an unfamiliar variation of green chile, which was both odd yet pleasant; spicy, but not hot enough to sweat. But isn’t that kind of the chile dream? You want bold flavors without so much spiciness as to cancel out any enjoyment. Blended with squash, zucchini, egg and mushroom, this crepe held together better than the peach did, and though the flavor could’ve been stronger or even harder on the herbal flavors like thyme, it was well worth the price.
Sagche’s enjoys an under-the-radar yet devoted following to its coffee. Even during a brief visit, you’ll notice a good handful of folks coming in for a cup as if it were Java Joe’s. The Sagche brothers outsource their coffee from family-owned Odacrem in Albuquerque, a small-batch roaster with bona fide coffee experts from El Salvador and Costa Rica. The Peruvian blend really should fight the Mexican organic in the parking lot to see which comes out on top, but the edge goes to Peru. Keep your eye out for Odacrem’s blends—they’re killing it. So is Sagche’s.
Chronic Danish Addiction, Don’t Send Help
Already on the path of low-profile cafés, I’d heard through the grapevine Angel’s Bakery & Café (4350 Airport Road, Ste. 13, 557-6156) was still running after vacating its downtown locale some time ago. The cinnamon rolls, I’ve been told, are insane. You might recall a time when the bakery had a space on Water Street, but it closed up shop in 2017 to focus more on the wholesale side of things. An online search might tell you the bakery has closed down—but that’s a lie. With that knowledge happily in hand, it was obviously time to sample an assortment of pastries recommended by the bakery’s staff.
To start, Angel’s empanadas are an exciting take on the Spanish treat. More and more, these little pockets of flavor are showing up on Santa Fe menus, and at Angel’s Bakery, they’re both sizable and affordable ($2.50 each). A gorgeous golden-brown topped with roasted and caramelized brown sugar that adds a light and pleasant crunch, neither the peach or pineapple empanada tasted overburdened with sugars, and the pineapple’s light acidity contrasted wonderfully with its sweet filling. Both kept firm and never crumbled, even after a bite or two revealed the tasty layers within.
Blueberry cheese danishes followed ($2.50 each), and I could easily see myself spending the rest of my life with them. Soft with a light sugared glaze, this became my favorite item on the menu. Lesser pastries are often overreliant on their fruits and fillings—the kind you bite into only to have blueberries spill down your chin. Not so at Angel’s. The cream cheese and blueberries are used expertly, crafting a creamy yet firm balance of sweet and savory.
It was almost hard to save room for the cinnamon roll ($2.50). Full disclosure: I’ve never been a fan. In my experience, most cinnamon rolls are often tough or doughy or purely a vehicle for icing. At Angel’s, however, it’s easy to taste each individual step in the cooking process, from the earthiness of the roll’s browned butter to subtler and evolving cinnamon profiles that never overpowered the cohesive flavor. Crisp at the edges, the center stayed soft, but not undercooked. What is this? Magic? I won’t go so far as to say I’ve been converted to a cinnamon roll super fan, but this one brought me close.