Crumble & Flake
I’ve always understood why food critics visit a place several times before they report on it. And my recent experience shows that’s a good idea.
I first visited Crumble & Flake on a midweek morning, although not at opening by any means. I’d heard tons of great things about them and one bad thing – that they generally ran out of pastries fairly early in the day. Still, I wasn’t expecting the veritable wasteland of emptiness I encountered that morning. I picked out three of the remaining six macarons and another cookie/cake thing which I think they call a Cheweo. I felt bad for the woman behind the counter who apologized for the limited selection. I hoped that no one had or would give her grief as she stood behind the all but empty case, probably wishing the last few things would sell so she could go home.
I wasn’t really impressed with anything I purchased that morning. The filling of the macarons was too sweet; the cookies and filling seemed to have become so integrated that there was no ending/beginning between them. So I went away thinking I couldn’t really say if I liked the patisserie or not but it didn’t seem worth the effort to make a trip to Capitol Hill to try again.
Fast forward several months later. I was wandering around Capitol Hill this past weekend and happened to walk right by Crumble & Flake. I almost walked by without stopping – I think it was around 10:00 am and I didn’t want to face empty cases again. But I changed my mind and popped in. While the display cases were not overflowing there was a broader selection this time and even some backup on rolling racks behind the cases!
The first thing I noticed were the canalé. The only other place in Seattle I know carries them is Honoré in Ballard. The last time I tried to buy them at Honoré I arrived too early in the day and they weren’t available yet. The time before the line was about 1000 people long, although that might be a slight exaggeration… Anyway, at Crumble & Flake right there in front of me was a tray with several canalé calling my name. And they had a tray of beautiful cinnamon rolls, too. I exited with one cinnamon roll and three canalé. I had a hard time waiting to get home!
The cinnamon roll was the first thing I devoured. The dough is a croissant-like dough; very light and flaky. Great cinnamon flavor and just a touch of frosting. Really good. Although they are such a refined version of a cinnamon roll I might actually have named them something else. But that’s just me.
The next day I tried the canalé. I really can’t believe I waited an entire day but I wanted to take a few photos before they disappeared. And canalé will last a few days. If you’ve never had one they are a little hard to describe. I think of them almost as a muffin version of French Toast, but that really doesn’t do them justice. The batter is rich with egg, vanilla and rum. When baked in a special canalé pan they have a crisp, caramelized exterior with a slight burnt sugar taste. The inside is springy and custardy. I think you either love them or hate them. I happen to love them. Crumble & Flake’s version might be the best I’ve had. Even better than the versions I had in France! This alone makes the trip to Capitol Hill well worth the effort.
I have yet to try any of their savory menu items but they will be next.
So, if this sounds interesting to you, take a chance and drop by Crumble and Flake. But get there early.
Crumble & Flake
1500 E Olive Way