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Tall Grass Bakery

This week’s Happy Cookie Friday is brought to you by Tall Grass Bakery in Ballard. When I say the word “bakery,” I mean there’s hard core bakerying going on in that joint, all day long (open til 7pm). Tall Grass uses all organic and as local as possible ingredients.

Our first visit to Tall Grass was one of those happy little accidents as we were in the Ballard neighborhood specifically to try Cafe Besalu. Though they’re located next door to each other, their differences can easily sustain the close proximity competition. Cafe Besalu embraces the french pastry while Tall Grass mixes, ferments, and bakes the perfect loaves of bread. James Bowles describes artisan baking as “working creatively with good, local ingredients.” I say artisan baking at Tall Grass means “I’m about to eat a damn good loaf of bread.”

We walked in right around 3:00 and witnessed a handful of bakers putting the art in artisan. Dough was rising on pans, loaves were cooling on racks, and my mouth was watering from the smells floating from the ovens.

It’s like a secret world back there, where I want to put on an apron and throw some stone-ground wheat on my clothes and bury my fingers in some dough. I know I’d stand out as much as Tom Cruise did in Eyes Wide Shut, but it’d feel good to slip into that world for a minute.

James is a huge pretzel fan, so we had to try one ($2.5). It was everything a fresh pretzel should be–hard and salty on the outside, with nice, doughy innards.

These wild looking snow-shoes are olive loaves. Not purchased, but added to our “next time we have people over for dinner and want to wow them” list. We tried the baguette ($1.75) instead.

Do not leave Tall Grass without a baguette. It.is.awesome. Why on earth would I waste my time trying to figure out the magic of bread at my house when I know I could never achieve such perfection for only $1.75?

Raisin buns added to that “Next Time” list (to be eaten and properly enjoyed in private). This oat bread ($5/loaf) was on the counter to sample. Yay for samples!

Look at that beautiful texture, man. Gorgeous.

I always like asking places what’s their best seller. The very friendly baker who had stopped doing that thing he do with dough and came around to help us said that the granola was pretty popular. We got a bag of the cherry apricot ($6).

I’m not normally crazy about pumpkin seeds, but they blend nicely with the chewy cherries and apricots. This is really good granola.

Since my raison d’être is cookies, I squatted to view the cookie case and what to my wandering eyes should appear, but one of my most favorite kinds of cookie.

I love how the display cards list the ingredients. I don’t blame TGB for not listing the nutritional values, because I have to tell you an awful secret about the oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. They’re insanely calorie-laden. My research has shown that most bakery versions of the oatmeal chocolate chip cookie averages about 500 calories. These things cannot be purchased when alone and must, absolutely must, be shared. Don’t trust yourself alone with a whole cookie, especially this one. The texture is very chewy, and while it did not reach perfection by being perfectly crunchy on the outside, it was very close. If the cinnamon had been traded for a tad of peanut butter? This cookie could easily become my new bff.

Tall Grass Bakery has been around for a decade, and I sure hope they’re around for as long as I am. I’ve read on their Facebook that they have cinnamon rolls on Saturdays and Sundays. I have been too afraid to go there and find out, because it could get really ugly. But if you go, and if you eat one, please let me know about it. I know I won’t be able to resist for much longer.

That's what can happen when you play with your cookies. Happy Cookie Friday, man.

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