I love collecting cookbooks and a few months back I came across one called ‘Baked in America’. Because of my love of all things American I bought the book (well, I’d literally drooled over the pages, so had no option but to buy it!!). Flicking through, I read that the book was written by a couple of American guys who had set up a bakery in Chiswick, West London. I actually remembered seeing them on the Food Network months before and loved their concept of bringing US style baking to the uninitiated in the UK.
(I have to admit, that I haven’t yet baked anything from the book, but intend to do so soon.) However, as I was coming to London for a week in June, I made it my mission to visit the bakery – called ‘Outsider Tart’. I had time to myself on the Saturday afternoon and took a tube trip, to Chiswick, which was fairly far out. The train got emptier as it neared my stop. I alighted and found quite a charming suburban area. I had looked up the whereabouts of the store on Google Maps so had a fair idea on how to get there and made my way up the street. A lovely little exterior – with funky adjoining graffiti that only added to the charm greeted me. I entered and found a surprisingly small but modern and friendly atmosphere. I have since found out the bakery has bought the unit next door and it is being converted to give them more space.
Inside, one wall had goods to buy, where I found the green mint chips used in a previous recipe, and the other was a counter, with the baked goods laid out. There were no identifiers on each of the items, so I had to ask the member of staff. I felt that this encouraged more interaction with the customer, rather than making it an impersonal experience.
There were no S’mores brownies that day, but what did stand out for me was a Hepburn (read the book!) baked with peanut butter filled pretzels. I plumped for this and the chips and made my purchase. I loved the little branded brown bags.
I left not long after, heading back to the tube station. Looking forward to eating my baked good, the glutton in me couldn't help wishing I had purchased more. Now the strange part of this tale is, when I arrived back to the area near my hotel at Waterloo, I happened upon an International Food Fair. There were various stalls wafting amazing smells and who should happen to be selling baked goods? Only Outsider Tart! I bought two cookies – a sugar saucer (more like the size of a dinner plate) and a cinnamon snicker doodle. Now we didn’t scoff all the goods at once, but myself and ‘better half’ enjoyed them with a cup of coffee over the next couple of nights.
Heaven certainly was baked in America! Visit their website http://www.outsidertart.com/