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Gusto guide: Bites from Andrew Galarneau's favorite bakeries

Gusto guide: Bites from Andrew Galarneau's favorite bakeries

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Everyone has a favorite bakery, a place that reliably serves up sweet reminders of sticky-fingered childhood joy.

This week, I’m serving up my list of places whose work calls to me, deep down in my little kid heart.

French-inspired croissants, praline-cream-filled pastries and Polish paczki, for sure, but also Yemeni honeycomb pastry, Turkish-style borek, Canadian butter tarts, Italian stuffed breads and Syrian baklava.

If your best bakery is not on this list, please don’t take it as a rebuke. You already know where to find your heart’s desire.

Places that are primarily restaurants, with liquor licenses, are another story. That said, here’s my collection of suggestions to find places where “baked goods” would be more accurately labeled “baked greats.”

Butter Block croissants are Buffalo's finest

The pastry case freshly stocked at Butter Block Bakery & Patisserie.

Butter Block

426 Rhode Island St.; 716-424-0027;

Croissants that satisfy veteran Parisian café-goers, from straight-up butter bomb ($4.25) to the intriguing genre-bending pretzel croissant ($4.75), are a requested component of my Death Row breakfast. The rest of the case isn’t too shabby, either.

. . .

Mushroom galette at Flat 12

A mushroom galette from Flat 12.

Flat 12 Mushrooms

37 Chandler St.; 716-903-5098;

On Saturdays and Sundays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., you can find the rare Turkish-style börek ($5) on Chandler Street, as well as Saturdays at Bidwell Farmers Market. They’re phyllo based pastries stuffed with feta, ricotta and roasted mushrooms grown at the Black Rock indoor farm, or beef versions. Mushroom galettes are also available in smaller numbers.

. . .

Korv burger at Ecklof Bakery

The Korv burger with lingonberry jam at Ecklof Bakery & Deli.

Ecklof Bakery & Deli

832 Foote Ave., Jamestown; 716-488-1516.

Korv is Swedish-style sausage. The Ecklof korv burger ($7.95) is housemade korv of beef, pork, onion, spices. It is served on Swedish limpa rye bread, topped with red onion and lingonberry jam.

. . .

The Little Bakery

8803 Buffalo Ave., Niagara Falls.

Niagara Falls eaters talk about “Trusello’s style” pizza, topped with dark herb-intensive tomato sauce and grated cheese. Just off the LaSalle Expressway, this unassuming building has fresh trays waiting for walk-up customers after 11 a.m. “Old fashioned” ($1.25, $22 full tray) and specialty slices ($1.75/$25) are the pizza choices. Massive loaves of Italian bread are $4.50.

. . .

Roht Afghan sweet bread at Sahar Bakery

Roht Afghan sweet bread at Sahar Bakery.

Sahar Bakery

2784 Sheridan Drive, Tonawanda; 716-314-0116.

In the Molinara’s plaza just west of Niagara Falls Boulevard, Afghan bakers offer roht ($5/$8). That’s a traditional round cardamom-scented sweet bread that’s drier and less sugary than most coffee cake, made for eating with black coffee or tea.

. . .

Socotra Café

671 Ridge Road, Lackawanna; 716-939-2778.

Yemeni honeycomb bread ($6) is a pull-apart treat of yeasty filled bonbons the size of apricots, served warm. The cheese version, filled with orange blossom scented cheese, won my favor over the Nutella version. Also on offer: tea or coffee in Adeni, Harazi, Radai, Iraqi, Jubani and plain old Turkish varieties.

. . .

Five Points Bakery sharp cheddar bread

Five Points Bakery's sharp cheddar cheese bread, packing a half-pound of cubed Canadian cheese, is worth a trip.

Five Points Bakery

44 Brayton St.; 716-884-8888;

Buffalo’s grassroots whole-grain bakery will sell you the cheesiest cheddar loaf in town ($8.75), containing a half-pound of chunked-up extra sharp cheddar bread. Another specialty is whimsical toast plates that are adorable as they are tasty.

. . .

Buffalo Bakery

205 Ontario St.; 716-768-3616.

Samoon ($2.99), the pointy-ended Iraqi daily bread, comes warm from the oven. Manakish ($2.99), dough stretched to order and baked, topped with beef-onion sauce, mozzarella cheese, or extra virgin olive oil and za’atar, a mixture of thyme, sumac and sesame.

. . .

Eileen’s Centerview Bakery

465 Center Road, West Seneca; 716-674-8586;

If you are supposed to bring something to the office or a gathering, may I commend the almond ring ($13.99) at this traditional Southtowns bakery. Rich Danish dough containing a serious almond paste payload, toasted sliced almonds and confectioner’s glaze is a potent friendmaker.

. . .

Fresh Arabic Sweets

560 Amherst St.; 716-768-3826.

Tiny shop across the street from the Amherst Street Wegmans offers three to six types of Syrian baklava made daily, edible artworks wrought in pistachio, syrup and a touch of sheep’s butter, a conspicuous bargain at $7.99 per pound. If you’re lucky, the cheese-filled kunefe won’t be already gone when you visit.

. . .

Elegant French-style pastries at Ginger Snap Patisserie

Ginger Snap Patisserie's pastry case.

Ginger Snap Patisserie

6572 E. Quaker St., Orchard Park; 716-667-6879;

Skilled pastry makers offer a wide variety of fine patisserie, but I’m drawn to the Paris-Brest ($6.25). The praline-cream-filled pastry isn’t always available, but if you have one, you’ll look to repeat the experience.

. . .

BreadHive bagels ready for the cafe

Freshly baked and cooled BreadHive bagels.

BreadHive Bakery & Café

402 Connecticut St.; 716-980-5623;

Standard gets are West Side sourdough ($5.75) and fresh sourdough pretzels ($2.50) that beat any of those heat-and-eat frozen numbers of indeterminate age.

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