Best Bakery, East Bay - 2006
Crixa is an adorable Hungarian bakery complete with little tables at which you can enjoy your delicious pastries and cakes, whether alm?s rétes (aka apple strudel) or diós kifli (a walnut-stuffed flaky pastry, in daily rotation with plum and apricot versions), with a cup of good coffee. The excellent Web site, complete with tempting color photos, can teach you a lot about Crixa's specialties, but the true education starts by stopping in. Try the puncs torta (a "very Hungarian celebration cake," vanilla sponge cake soaked with a fresh, aromatic punch of orange, lemon, and rum, then iced with cherry pink raspberry fondant), or the Stefania torta, Crixa's version of the Hungarian Dobos tort "without the sticky hard caramel top," made up of six thin vanilla sponge layers spread with creamy chocolate. The place does entirely creditable versions of French pastries, too, including éclairs stuffed with chocolate mousse; American favorites, among them a single-serving Boston cream pie; and Russian treats, including bulochki, a light tea bun, and savory piroshkis. Not everything is available every day, but if it's on offer, don't miss the amaretti cream cake, a cloudlike combination of vanilla sponge cake with hazelnut liqueur, mascarpone cream, and crushed amaretti cookies. Birthday cakes decorated on request.