Back in May, the ownership of downtown Tacoma's sweet spot, Corina Bakery, changed hands.
Yes, it is still the Land of Cake. It is also becoming much more.
Seeing as how I'm fortunate enough to live a couple blocks away, I've popped in a few (OK, several) times to see the changes under new owners Mike and Molly Ott and baker Julie Rex.
I talked to Molly today, who ran down a list of new offerings at the bakery: a savory cheesecake with a walnut crust, olive tapenade and herbed cheese, to be spread on crackers or crostini; flaky butter croissants; rosemary sourdough loaves and French-style baguettes; and a savory bread pudding. Corina also can do special order gluten-free versions of most of its baked goods.
I can vouch for the huge muffins – my grandma would say Texas-size – with a puckery lemon glaze.
Julie says they're also working on a theme month for October showcasing the apples of the season, with a plan to feature similar seasonal ingredients a few times a year.
"We want to continue to expand the menu so it becomes more of a bistro," Molly adds. They're also hoping to acquire a beer and wine license. That way people who stop in for dessert could also have a bit of cheese and a glass of port for a change, Molly says.
But never fear, Julie says, the customer-favorite tall red velvet cake will stay. And her favorite?
"Asking if I have a favorite is like asking a parent if they favor one child over the other." she says with a laugh. "That's my diplomatic answer."
Fair enough. I, for one, am excited to see more locally made bread in Tacoma. Which brings me to a documentary freshly out on DVD that might be of interest to you all. It's about Edward Espe Brown, the Zen teacher and baker known for his groundbreaking "Tassajara Bread Book," which is nearly 40 years old.
I can't capture the charm of watching Ed hold forth on the enlightening pleasures of making a few loaves with your own hands. You'll have to rent it yourself.
Here's the trailer for a taste.