I am an occasional bread baker and a frequent bread fiend, so I appreciate a good bakery. We are fortunate to have the Village Bakery here in Sebastopol, as well as a number of other good artisan bakeries in Sonoma County, including Wildflower Bread in Freestone (superb!), Grindstone (fermented, non-wheat breads) and Full Circle Baking Company in Penngrove (also excellent).

My family and I were in Maryland for the holidays and we had the opportunity to visit the historic downtown of Ellicott City, on the old National Road, near Baltimore. Along with many antique shops and the B&O Railroad Museum, Ellicott City is home to Sarah & Desmond’s Vegetarian Cafe. We first visited Sarah & Desmond’s not long after they had took over an existing bakery-cafe and it was located in a narrow three-story building with a kid’s play area upstairs.  Sarah had been a White House pastry chef during the Clinton Administration, but 9-11 and the birth of their son prompted them to follow their dreams of operating a bakery/cafe.  A few years down the road, I was happy to discover that they’ve moved across the street into a one-story, wheel-chair accessible building (the staff appreciates the lack of stairs). And with a play area, they are still very family friendly.

Sarah & Desmond’s strength lies in their pastries, breads and drinks, rather than their sandwiches and wraps. Nonetheless, our fare purchased for the flight back to California later in the day was quite acceptable, if a tad bland. Had we not just eaten lunch, we would have happily sampled any number of their offerings.  They also host music and other events and appear to serve as good community gathering site. I hope they continue to thrive.