Upstate New York Splendors Part 2a
Sep 19, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose
My parents were both born in New York City in the early 1900's. My mother always loved it and my father was always looking to move to the country. But when, in their 80's, my father finally bought his dream property in upstate New York, my mother chose to join him on his land (which meant living in an airstream trailer in the snow belt) over staying in New York City.
Gradually she convinced herself that upstate New York had its charms both cultural and culinary. So when she reported the discovery of a terrific bakery in Saratoga Springs called Mrs. London's, and told me I must come to visit I was suspicious. I thought it was merely a ploy to get me to come up and visit her and my father! How wrong I was. After all these years I got to visit not only Mrs. London's, but to meet the whole London family. Suvir told me I was going to experience the best croissants in this country. He was wrong: They were the best croissants in this world! Look at the crumb! And this wasn't one of many Michael London cut to find the best texture--it was a random one he pulled out of the display case.
Forgive me as I rave rapturously, but truly I was stunned by the quality of both the brick oven-baked breads and the desserts.
Michael London (Mrs. London's husband) is an amazing man. Not only did he do a stage at the famed Parisian Mulot bakery, he also did a stint at Fauchon, and somehow managed to learn and communicate without speaking French. He brought home many techniques, improving on some and inventing others of his own. He also put his heart and soul into the décor of his bakery/restaurant, using everything of the highest quality just as he does in his baked goods. Michael is also a gifted story teller. Most touching was the story he recounted of his father who grew up as a deaf mute, ran away from home to become the famed boxer who never lost a fight, until one day a blow to his head won him his hearing! He learned how to speak and in short order wrote the story of his life.
Elliott, Suvir, Charlie, and I tasted each and every thing pictured below and I wanted to cry with delight to discover such soul mates--such beautiful people, and such extraordinary dedication to workmanship. Did I mention generosity?! Michael not only taught Sarah Beth Levine how to bake, he moved in with her when she was opening her first bakery in New York City to help with the opening.
There were many highlights to this trip to upstate New York but this one felt like coming home again.
Next up: Photos of their son Max London's Restaurant.