PASADENA, California, November 5, 2017 — What made America “great” was our nation’s ability to industrialize virtually any process and through scale and efficiency produce it at such a low price that consumers found it irresistible.
After World War II, that was the American genius. That was the American miracle.
So instead of barbecuing our own burgers, we bought them at McDonald’s; instead of own creating our own cupcakes we bought Hostess Twinkies; instead of baking our loaves, we bought Weber bread. The food was so cheap and plentiful our parents couldn’t afford not to buy it.
The new stuff didn’t taste the way mom made it, but it came fast and cheap, leaving mom with a dollar, not just a dime, in her purse in case she needed to buy more junk.
But somewhere in that industrial conversion, we lost our nutritional soul.
Now small entrepreneurs are trying to reclaim that soul, rebelling against the bland and the boring, by making small batches of artisanal coffees, beers, cheeses, pickles, ice creams and breads. I attribute the movement or start of the rebellion to Howard Schultz who convinced the owners and investors of a very tiny Starbucks coffee bean business in Seattle that consumers would give up their Folgers and Yuban for a more artisanal blend of coffee. Of course, Starbucks has since become an industry unto itself, sparking a new generation of competitors like Intelligentsia, Stumptown, Blue Bottle and a host of others.
So rarely a day passes now when I’m not searching for that micro-brewery or breadmaker that can give me that full-taste experience that had become increasingly limited in my childhood, in deference to progress. And the newest candidate I can add to the list is Seed Bakery in Pasadena. The owner, Joseph Abrakjian grinds his own flour and turns it into earthy breads, boules, brioche, and ciabatta. Nothing tastes store-bought.
While waiting to take home a cranberry rye loaf, Colleen and I sat down for a bite of vegetable quiche, the cheeses melding with the vegetables and wheat crust to create a slice of perfection. I have since forgotten all the vegetables that went into the quiche (we asked), but I do remember the taste, a 10 out of 10.
As we enjoyed our quiche, my head kept drifting upward toward a large chalkboard listing Seed’s breakfast and lunch offerings. Already I was planning my next visit. For breakfast, items included brioche French toast ($10), house made granola ($8), spinach frittata sandwich ($9) and farm fresh eggs and toast ($7). For lunch, sandwiches included salmon gravlax, tarragon chicken, pulled pork and short rib melt.
I wanted to try everything — and I mean everything — on the menu.
Like the bread they are producing, Seed has been rising up to provide that homey, earthy experience that no machine can quite duplicate. It still takes that human, artisanal touch to create food that is memorable, and Seed creating culinary memories every day, except Monday, its day off!
942 E. Washington Blvd, Pasadena
Breakfast and lunch served from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday thru Saturday, Sunday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed Monday