@tomatotomato, I appreciate how you understood the vibe of our trip. On the way to Lobster Claw right now. Will report back. I know going in I will likely be disappointed with the bread (I’ve had lobster rolls in NH before), except maybe a non- traditional brioche like at Neptune. But you never know.
King Arthur Flour was like a dream come true. I had one hiccup which I posted about on Yelp. But the day started and ended strong and KAF exceeded my very high expectations. I don’t agree with the other complaints on Yelp about dirty tables, poor quality, or overall poor service. There are so many patrons pouring in and out, the staff cannot possibly clean every table once someone gets up and still keep prices somewhat affordable. We sat there for almost 5 hours.
As an amateur home baker, I really appreciated the freshness and attention to detail. Besides the pizza, I even appreciated the things that I didn’t like. I have never been to a bakery with bakers that have the skill level to produce so many items that look the same. Usually I’ll point and say I want that one or this one, but here every item was crafted with precision.
The unexpectedly good items were the London Fog tea drinks (made with steamed milk) and the cheese crackers. Even at $10, the crackers were worth every penny. I have tried so many times to make these at home and always fail. The tea was executed as well as Harney and Sons in NYC. Got 4 London Fogs and 2 bags of cheese crackers.
Other highlight: Most of the breads, even flavored ones like jalapeño cheddar. (Kaiser Rolls were just okay and pizzas were not well-conceived.) The morning bun laced with orange zest. The Florentine cookie, even though it was sweet, it was good sweet. Raspberry Whoopie pie. It tasted like there were some ingredients I don’t like (flavorings, maybe shortening) but it was executed very well. The bee sting cake, basically brioche sandwiched around diplomate cream with a honey-almond crunchy topping.
I really enjoyed many long conversations there with staff. I couldn’t bring much back, but at least I could hold, smell, and taste so many of their store offerings (pans, extracts, box mixes, etc.) Now I don’t have to wonder what the items are like. The store staff were also very graceful with my child and “put her to work” to help her pass the time while I was in my hours long trance.
Here are some pics: