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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Röckenwagner Bakery

3 Square Cafe + Bakery
1121 Abbot Kinney
Venice, CA 90291
310-399-6504 (P)

Hans Röckenwagner landed in Los Angeles opening his first restaurant, Röckenwagner , in 1985, followed by a more casual bistro, Röck, in 1999. It was his son, Hansi, who came up with the idea to add two dots above the O in his last name. It was rumored to resemble a chomping mouth because his dad was always eating something.

After copious awards, he appears to have elevated his lifestyle to three bakeries on the west side in Mar Vista, Santa Monica, and Venice. I haphazardly chose the Venice location tapped 3 Square Cafe, but primarily sourced with Röckenwagner bakery products. As we were selecting our treats, Hans sneaked into the bakery to steal some goods for what appeared to be a picnic with his family.

$1.50 Pretzel Roll (10)
A great pretzel is such a find. Most bakeries don't sell them and your fortuitous enough when it arrives as part of a bread basket in a restaurant, I love them. This one was up there and I expected no less from Röckenwagner , a golden crust, lightly salted and the ideal chewy center with a hint of egg yolk. It was simply perfect.

Another reason to befriend the pretzel is a little known fact that George Bush, the dumb one, was knocked unconscious after choking on a pretzel while watching a football game on TV. Kids should be very careful when eating hard pretzels; Bush was 55 at the time of the incident. FYI - April 26th was designated National Pretzel Day in the U.S.

$2.50 Pretzel Roll with Cheddar Cheese and Jalapeno (7)
Similar to the original, but I think Hans should have taken a page from the Japanese culinary book and kept it simple. The cheese and jalapeno does not add to the overall enjoyment.

$2.50 Pretzel Twist with Poppy Seed, Sesame Seed, Cheddar, and Bacon (7)
No pun intended, but this was a positive twist of the original. Adding a thin layer of cheese with the addition of the seeds was the key combination. The bacon also added some moisture and saltiness to the center.

$3 Triple Berry Cake (9)
My favorite of the sweet treats. Three kinds of reduced berries are layered within the softest of dough. Imagine biting through an expensive down pillow rubbed in butter, obviously on the heavy side and worth every calorie.

$2 Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookie (8)
An above average example of a peanut butter cookie spooning a dollop of strawberry preserves. The cookie itself has chucks of peanut in the dough, good quality and a logical marriage of two inseparable ingredients. Dare I say, it's one smart cookie.

$5 Chocolate Caramel Tart (4)
We sat outside and went for this one first. In a matter of unwrapping the dessert, the center had melted. Once we ate it, the chocolate and caramel was too soft and the crust was still dead hard. The quality of the filling could not be denied, but it was already ruined. Save for winter months.

$3 Ginger scone (6)
I'm not a big scone person. It was, however, better than an average scone. Caramelized ginger is scattered throughout the scone and an ample butter portion kept the encrusted center tasting more like a scone and less like a stone.

A highly recommended bakery offering over 20 different products ranging from pretzels to panini, but the core 10 treats displayed in the window front are executed well. Concentrate on what you know and do it well, that's the key to the success at Röckenwagner.

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