Most of the action in Encinitas, a seaside town in North County San Diego, takes place right along South Coast Highway. You’ll pass by a seemingly endless stream of breakfast spots, gastropubs, and surf shops while driving. Still, to find the best bakery, you’ll have to diverge from the main strip. For the past 18 years, Darshan Bakery & Café has promised “pastries to reincarnate for,” which is a pretty funny tagline for a textbook cafe.
Darshan features a pastry case with temptations at every turn. I was lucky enough to time my visit with a fresh batch of Almond Croissants ($4.95) straight from the oven. Crusty, buttery layers lined with shaved, toasted almonds contained oozing frangipane flavored with almond and vanilla extract that delivered an intoxicating, almost alcohol-like quality. Bonus: Darshan typically dusts almond croissants with powdered sugar before serving.
The team behind Darshan also own Sitaram around the corner, offering organic Indian thalis.