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You could have easy access to all the best restaurants in the world, and there would still be no substitute for a good old fashioned bakery. Sometimes simplicity beckons and all you really need is some fresh baked bread, a muffin, or an oatmeal raisin cookie and a glass of milk to create the perfect food experience. With these simple pleasures in mind, here are 11 of the best bakeries from across the country.

Broward-Palm Beach

House of Sweets

Two pretty, perky girls as cute as ’50s pinups, Michelle Parparian and Amanda Watkins, have transformed a 1920s Florida cottage into a vintage clothing store with a cupcakery in the tiny rear kitchen — a kitchen known to turn out a thousand cupcakes at a pop for local events. But they’re…More >>

Heart shaped treats at the House of Sweets

Denver

City Bakery

Want to know who made the great bread you had at that restaurant last night? Odds are good that it was City Bakery, the bakery and dessert-a-teria started last year by freaky bread savant Michael Bortz. Bortz started out in Denver as an independent, then went corporate as a baker for Paradise…More >>

Houston

French Riviera Bakery & Cafe

The farmhouse loaf made by brothers Louis and Robert Wu is a dense loaf of bread, about 15 inches long, in the shape of an elongated football that is dusted with flour, which makes everything it comes into contact with white. And it is so crunchy that taking a bite may cause scratches in your…More >>

Los Angeles

Brooklyn Bagel Bakery

First-timers at the Brooklyn Bagel Bakery, a squat factory in a part of town now better known for burritos and Filipino sinigiang, are often put off by the display in the cramped retail vestibule, glass cases full of blueberry bagels and strawberry bagels, cranberry bagels and chocolate bagels,…More >>

Miami

Yiya’s Gourmet Cuban Bakery

Whenever some young, enterprising chef chooses to tamper with food basics, he or she runs the risk of popular revolt. And often the result is total failure. But now and then, a place such as Yiya’s Gourmet Cuban Bakery arrives, executing the essentials with high ambition balanced by common…More >>

Nashville

Cuppycakes Bakery & Confections

Is it the portion? The portability? The entrepreneurial entry point for women? Whatever the case, as with pet rocks in 1975, the Rubik’s cube in 1980 and the Cheetah Girls, like, yesterday, the time is now for the cupcake, which has moved like Michael Corleone on the layer cake and the sheet…More >>

New York

Almondine

New York’s ultimate baked good may well be the staggeringly buttery almond croissant at Almondine. The calorific bomb is deceptively light and airy, the golden pastry harboring an almond paste that works the floral, nutty route instead of relying on too much sugar. More >>

A gooey chocolate chip cookie from Almondine

Orange County

Japonaise Bakery & Cafe

Cream Pan, Tustin’s beloved little Japanese bakery, recently expanded into bigger digs with a shiny espresso machine and a new name. The baked goods, however, smell just as sweet. Crusty loaves with long, determined gashes. Sugary dough domes filled with azuki and cream. All are spectacular….More >>

Phoenix

Barb’s Bakery

It would be easy enough to celebrate about Barb’s Bakery just for the beautiful wedding cakes, done up in the same kind of elegant designs that Martha Stewart would approve of, in flavors from devil’s food to pink champagne. After all, hearing your guests rave about how good the thing looks and…More >>

Seattle

The Essential Bakery Cafe

I’ve been an Essential bread buyer for years, but when I go to their airy cafe in Madison Valley (there’s another Essential cafe in Wallingford), my foremost thoughts are not about the bread. Instead, I dwell on the produce. Essential makes some of the freshest salads in town, and I once had…More >>

A bevy of delights at The Essential Baking Company

St. Louis

222 Artisan Bakery

Three cheers for three twos: 222 Artisan Bakery is worth the drive to Edwardsville. Plan a Saturday morning around the trip, but don’t dawdle: the bakery closes at noon on Saturday. Or play hooky from work. You won’t be disappointed, whether you’re starting your day with a cup of one of 222’s…More >>

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