Heaven in a box.
As promised, I ventured out to Balboa and 38th Avenue this week to check out Nibs (3717 Balboa), the little bakery that supplies the Grove with its delicious baked goods, including the stellar bran muffins I blogged about last week. Owners Thomas and Wendy Jovero were there minding the shop and had just pulled a blueberry-orange coffee cake out of the oven. Nibs is a retail café, with a gleaming pastry case and a few little tables looking out across the street at the Balboa Theatre (I’m seeing a perfect Saturday shaping up, aren’t you?). But they also supply wholesale goodies to the Grove, Café Flore (2298 Market St.) and Cow Hollow’s new coffee-wine bar, JoVino (2184 Union St.).
Two specialties Nibs doesn’t (yet) farm out are its scones, which regulars swear are the best in the city, and their mini-quiche shaped like cupcakes. After sampling the still-warm coffee cake, I dug into the quiche: Its shape meant there was lots of pastry to offset the creamy eggs and tangy cheese. Then onto the scone, a lemon-chocolate chip version. Funny, because I recently found myself wondering why more pastry chefs don’t combine these two delicious and complementary flavors. The scone was PER-FEC-TION: Crumbly but moist, biscuit-like but sweet, full of delicate flavor.
Lord, these Joveros know how to bake. If I try to describe exactly what I mean by that, it will sound like an utter cliché: flaky, buttery, etc. A better explanation is to simply say that baking is all about ingredient choice, timing and the subtlest aspects of texture, and the Joveros have mastered all of these. Go to Nibs and find out for yourself.