Flour is THE bakery. The one everyone has heard of in Beantown. The Magna Regina of bakeries. Started by Joanne Chang, Flour has grown from one location to three, with the sticky buns achieving the status of legend after she trounced Bobby Flay in a Sticky Bun Throwdown. Add to that her gorgeous cookbook, Flour, and you have an empire in the making. And it's an empire worthy of the hype. The counter of baked goods is a study in plenty, pleasure, and care. Raspberry bars, "Oreo" cookies, and brownies meet you first at the counter.
But hold out, friends, for the meringues and the bread pudding, which is something of a transcendental experience in the winter.
This bad girl tasted as decadent as she looks. A yeasty, moist coil of bread drenched in a sugary glaze and studded with pecans. All I ask is for a little melted butter to drizzle over it and I'm fairly certain I'll have arrived at the sweet end. Having downed only a quarter of this beauty, and thereby feeling like a sugar comas was coming on, I also ordered one of their ridiculously good sandwiches, the tuna curry dotted with apples and raisins on crunchy grilled bread. Trust me, you want this.
Just don't forget to ask for a to go box. You're going to need help hauling home all of the cookies and goodies you couldn't manage to eat in one sitting.
So, what's the catch? EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN BOSTON WANTS TO COME HERE TO EAT ON A SATURDAY MORNING. I was only at the modest Central Square location, and it took twenty-three minutes of standing in line before I had my sandwich in my clutches. Not that the line doesn't move fast; there is an army of bakery goddesses behind the counter moving at break-neck speed. It's just that you are likely to find twenty to thirty people ahead of you in line or milling around trying to score a table. It's the sort of "problem" every bakery owner would love to have, and there's really no cure for it, short of expanding the seating area to something the size of a football field. This is not to say that on a Tuesday afternoon at 4 p.m. you can't swing by and find only a mildly crazy scene, but to go on the weekend is to step into the bakery battlefield. Put on your game face, bring your I-pod, and get ready for the line and the table hawking. It is, in my not-so-humble opinion, entirely worth it.