I’m not sure I’ve ever described the kind of neighborhood I live in. Yes, I live in Long Beach, but Long Beach is so many things to so many folks, and so it really depends on the neighborhood in which you live. For us, our little slice of the LBC is tucked between the busy 7th Street corridor that runs East-West through town and the waterfront, and we’re just about three miles east of Downtown. We’re nestled in a great little residential area where you can walk and bike to restaurants, bars, shops, salons, and coffeehouses, not to mention the beach. We love it!
But one business this area had been sorely lacking was a bakery. No, not a donut shop as we’ve got plenty of those (for those who know Long Beach, we might even be the donut shop capital of America, boasting literally one about every ¼ mile to every direction in a five-mile radius, no joking). What I’m talking about is a true corner bakery that bakes fresh breads, sweets, and savory treats, one that you can smell before you see it.
Well, we’re lacking no more, RMT’ers. Located under the brand-new, blue-and-yellow “BAKERY” sign at the corner of Termino Ave. and 4th Street in the Belmont Heights area of Long Beach, Scratch Baked Goods (3950 E. 4th Street, Long Beach, CA; website coming soon) opened on November 1. And upon learning that news mid-day, guess where I made sure I was that afternoon? Yep, that’s right – the second I picked T up from school last Tuesday I asked him if he’d like to go check out a new bakery with me, and of course he jumped at the chance. Atta-boy!
We pulled up just before 4 p.m. (note for drivers, free off-street parking in the back, hooray!) and discovered that the secret was definitely out. While this was a soft-opening for Scratch, it appeared that the news had been well-publicized regardless. There wasn’t a table to be had, the line was three-deep, and the shelves were almost bare. While we waited in line, a hand-written sign went up on the door reading “Sorry Sold Out,” so I was getting fairly nervous about what T and I would come away with, if anything (I was eyeing a roasted vegetable galette for myself and a cookie for T). Well, we didn’t get the galette as that sold just before we got to the front, but we did get this delicious Molasses and Spice Cookie. It was pretty close to perfect in roundness, flavor, and texture. If you like soft, chewy cookies, I highly recommend this one, and so does T.
Scratch hasn’t even been open a full week, and I’ve been back twice since opening day. The second time I got three items: Brioche with two flavors of homemade jam; a Rosemary, Goat Cheese, and Caramelized Onion Brioche; and a slice of zucchini bread. All were amazing. The plain brioche was a buttery biscuit of yum and when topped with the fig jam in particular, yum squared. The savory brioche I had would be a perfect companion to a side salad to comprise a lovely lunch; even better, a dozen of these pumped-up pastries would make a lovely hostess gift at your next dinner party or for wherever you’ve been assigned to bring rolls or bread (thanksgiving anyone?). Finally, the zucchini bread… OK, have you ever bit into zucchini bread and even wondered if it WAS zucchini bread? Yeah, well, you won’t have that problem with Scratch’s version. Not only can you see the unmistakable strips of shredded vegetable in the bread, but you also can taste it fresh and bright in every single bite. Scratch definitely has a handle on what to do with an abundance of zucchini fresh from the garden, and I thank them for making this bread the way they do (undisguised and abundant with true zuke flavor).
I’ve also tasted their oatmeal-walnut-cranberry cookie and their doughnut muffin. While I wasn’t drooling over the doughnut muffin (it was good, just not great compared to all the other goodies I’ve sampled from them so far, and again, that donut glut here locally perhaps?), their seasonal cookie was quite tasty. I think the size of this cookie was a “mini” compared to the molasses spice one, so I got two and shared one with a friend (versus breaking one in half). Oh yeah, not only does scratch make up different types of cookies daily but they also bake them in different sizes depending on your appetite, a nice option for those like myself wanting to try a variety of items versus having to settle for just one large piece.
Scratch also bakes up fresh bread on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday afternoons. When I told C that these were the days for the fresh bread, he asked if Jimmy Buffett was running the bakery (haha – and for non-Buffett fans, that’s a reference to his strict concert schedule of only Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays; maybe I will ask why they chose those dates the next time I go in… now I’m curious, though they don’t strike me as Parrotheads but I guess you just never know!). Anyway we hope to get over there very soon for some of their bread while it’s hot and in stock (rumor has it it’s a popular commodity thus far, so I might hold off on joining that fray for a couple of more weeks yet).
Scratch also features fresh roasted coffee from another local up-and-coming business, Rose Park Roasters. This is the Roasters’ first retail outlet venture according to Scratch, and after trying the coffee myself I can say with confidence that it definitely won’t be their last. The coffee is strong, nutty yet naturally sweet, and it pairs well with the rich, flavorful foods that Scratch serves up all day long.
Since I’ve been so many times already, I think Deborah (owner) is starting to recognize me, and that’s OK (and nice meeting you last week, too, Deborah!). While I know I’m not going to be visiting as often as I have opening week, I do know that I’ll be visiting pretty regularly. It’s not just a bakery, it’s a local business, and it’s not even a half-mile from my home. I see it as just doing my part to support the local economy, and you should your part, too… one scratch baked good at a time.
Scratch is taking holiday orders now! Order your Thanksgiving treats by November 19 by calling 562 987 1500 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org . Delivery is FREE within a three-mile radius of the bakery. Closed Mondays.