When someone lives out their dreams and you can taste the essence of those dreams; that is what we call pure magic. Hush Harbor Artisan Bakery and Café is a vision come true for all of us. The Monroe family owns, operates and entertains at this fantastic bistro that is headed by Donnie as the lead bakery and originator of this aspiration. Leaving the suit world 13 years ago to find a hearth worthy of his baking dreams, he has carved out a community that is thrilled to daily partake and share his exceptional yeasty creations. Donnie starts each day around 2:30 am with ancient starters pounded and proofed, then baked in a specialty oven lined with bricks from Italy so the bread cooks up, not around. The result is a product served at all the finest restaurants in the area.
The staples are French Baguette, Multigrain Wheat, Rustic Italian and Ciabatta, but he adds a Klamato olive loaf and other specialty loafs on Saturdays. Open for lunch every day but Sunday, Hush Harbor Artisan Bakery and Café offers you a taste of this magnificent bread fresh out of the oven with inspired sandwiches, soups and salads.
I started with the Raspberry Chipotle Chicken salad that was raspberry and chipotle glazed chicken breast served with tomato, onion and cucumber atop a bed of mixed greens, tossed in honey mustard vinaigrette. Chef Ryan Tremble has created an amazing amalgamation of flavors on this delicious salad. The chicken was both sweet and hot, cooled by the greens and tossed dressing. It was delectable. I pushed on to my favorite sandwich in the world, a Cuban. I seek out this delectable combo of bread and meat, as when it is done correctly will make your taste buds weep with pleasure. This one consisted of a fresh ciabatta roll stacked with premium black forest ham, pork loin slices marinated in a Cuban mojo and cooked to perfection then added swiss cheese, dijon mustard, mayonnaise and sweet pickle chips. It is served hot and would make Ricky Ricardo moan with a remembered taste of his homeland.
My next visit, we were warmly greeted by stunning Morgan, Donnie’s daughter and front of the house director. She suggested I try the specials. Gary began with a tour of the pastry shelve. Key lime pie that oozed with tart perfection on a soft graham cracker crust and then the pecan browning that was a heavenly chocolate indulgence. I began with a bowl of the chef’s grandma’s Cheesy Potato Soup, it was a symphony of cubed potatoes and four different kinds of cheese, served with thin slices of the French baguette. The urge to dip over took my politeness. The Vietnamese Bahn Mi sandwich was served on the ciabatta bread with a marinated pork loin, pickled Dacron, radishes, carrots and onions and sliced jalapenos. Its spicy, tart, hot combination was outstanding. That wonderful bread stayed firm on the outside, while absorbing all the juices. Next we tried the Catfish Po’boy served only on Friday’s. The matriarch of the family hales from New Orleans, so this was a proper Po’boy. The catfish is flash fried and served with a spicy remoulade sauce. It was flawless and tasted of Louisiana.
Returning on Saturday for breakfast and to get some of the bread straight from the oven, I had Big D’s Benedict. This luscious split croissant covered with sliced ham, a poached egg, and a house-made hollandaise sauce. The secret to benedicts is the ratios and this was precision personified with a magnificent sauce. Gary tried the French toast and four other items from the pastry shelve including a cinnamon roll, muffin, apricot danish and another key lime pie. The French toast was made with fresh sourdough olive thyme bread served with scrambled eggs laced with bell peppers and onion and a savory sausage.
Located in the heart of Atascadero, Hush Harbor Artisan Bakery and Café has become an important part of the community, bringing love, joy and sustenance to all who enter their doors. Come and meet the family, and experience the best bread and pastries on the entire coast. The bakery hours are Monday and Tuesday 7 am to 4 pm, Wednesday from 7 am to 5 pm and Saturday from 7 am to 4 pm. Lunch starts daily at 11:00 am. They are open for breakfast on Saturdays only from 7 am to 10:30 am. They are closed on Sunday. Located at 5735 El Camino Real in Atascadero, you can call them at (805) 460-0541.