You know a bakery is good if it's been around 100+ years. Vagaries of the economy notwithstanding, if you've been selling cake for a century, you're doing something right. And Lyndell's, open for business since 1887, is definitely doing something right. A ten minute walk from Davis Square on Broadway, Lyndell's let's you know about a block away what you're in for with its old-fashioned red and white sign of a jolly chef dancing. It's a portent of the good-natured ladies behind the counter and possibly of an urge to do a happy dance once you walk in the door.
You will first be met with that intangible quality that can't quite be quantified in any other way than taking a deep breath and being met with the scent of doughnuts, cake, Italian cookies, cream puffs, pastries, pies, and bread all jumbled together. You know, the smell that thrilled you as a kid, when you walked into your local bakery and your mom told you to pick out a treat. Eons could be spent dwelling on that dilemma at Lyndell's, as I don't think it's possible to pick just one treat. Luckily, I didn't have to!
I went first for Lyndell's specialty, their half moon "cookies." I put that in quotes because the disk of light, fluffy cake is nothing like a cookie, and when frosted with thick, dark chocolate and vanilla creme icing, it really has left the realm of cookie far behind. Call it a flying saucer of cupcakey goodness, but don't call it a cookie, please.
When you've satisfied yourself as to the deliciousness of the moon cookies, proceed directly to the danishes, cinnamon buns, and other breakfast pastries. This is where the old world influence shows: yeasty bread laced with layers of cinnamon, twisted around dollops of raspberry jam and laced with sugar glaze. This, with a cup of Lyndell's coffee, is breakfast heaven. And judging from the number of goodies they make each morning (and sell that same day), a goodly portion of Somerville agrees.
After your moon cookie and danishes, veer to the doughnuts that, in and of themselves, justify Lyndell's existence. Cool, creamy custard stuffed into a chewy dough and topped with a dark chocolate glaze: the Boston creme is the apex of what a doughnut can be. It turns out that bliss can be bought folks; and it only costs 95 cents at Lyndell's. You really only want to get one per person though, as this plump baby packs enough goodness to fill you up for the morning.
After you have oggled the cupcakes, considered hauling home several of their pies (including a lemon pie, which the Bakery Babe will have to sample on another round), and generally loaded yourself up with as many boxes of goodies as you can carry, the final touch is the old fashioned machine they use to throw twine over your bakery boxes. No kidding, a machine from the 1950s that ties twine for you.
I really couldn't ask anything further of a bakery, except perhaps some tables to sit at. But carrying your goodies home to eat is a small price for the ultimate comfort pastries.