The Crixa of the Matter
Meeting a friend for coffee.
Just writing those words brings to mind such pleasurable moments. Hot beverages and friends just somehow go together. There is time, then, to catch up and to slow down, to hear all about one another's worlds and to connect face to face. No email, no texts, no tweets; instead, a smiling face across a tippy little table.
And, when you meet the friend in a new-to-you bakery that serves decaf coffee that actually tastes like hi-test and pastries that are so decadent or so flaky that they melt in the mouth... well, now you're talking!
My friend Naomi introduced me to Crixa Cakes in Berkeley. It's a tiny shop just a stone's throw away from the dreaded Berkeley Bowl (the original one) and it specializes in Hungarian baking. They did have tiramisu and other non-Hungarian delights, too, but their hearts are Hungarian.
Naomi enjoyed their traditional poppy seed and walnut cake, of which she shared a bite. It seemed to be made almost entirely of poppy seeds - as if they had replaced the usual flour with those tiny black dots. Very nutty, in a good way.
I fell for the color of this rhubarb pie. Thiebaudesque. That rosy pink just called to me and, when the server offered to put a dollop of whipped cream alongside, well, who am I to refuse? Sweet and tart all at the same time, with a crisp, flaky crust, it was the perfect accompaniment to their full-bore coffee.
As we chatted and tasted, the tiny place filled with people, to the point where they actually brought out additional folding tables and chairs to try to accommodate the rush. When shops are this popular, there's a reason, and it's not just the proximity to Berkeley Bowl. Deeply tasty coffee and killer pastries and a good friend to share them with. That's the Crixa of the matter.