I'm in Old Town Orange at least twice a week, but I never once thought to go into the Gallery on Glassell, just north of the circle, until my wife and I were taking a stroll last weekend. The store concentrates on the art of California and the west and has an interesting display of Day of the Dead-type art and sculptures of La Catrina in the interior.
We walked in because of the sign on the door that said Grampy Pat's sourdough bread was available on weekends, and sure enough, there were still a couple of baguettes left.
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We weren't expecting to see what gallery director Jim Hathcock calls "La Cocinita," a collection of mostly Spanish foods given pride of place right in front. Olive oil, date "bread" (a sticky, sweet concoction of dates and nuts), vinegars, olives and tinned goods line shelves, where they compete for eyes with locally produced candies and honey.
Grampy Pat's bread was excellent, as good as the much-vaunted sourdough in San Francisco and far, far better than the overpromoted mush that is Boudin. The crust had a slight crackle and required quite a bit of work to tear, a positive quality when it comes to sourdough. The crumb inside was fine and even without being too dense or too airy, and the flavor was incredible, sour without being overwhelmingly so, and satisfyingly lactic. Transported home, the baguette disappeared in no time at all. My only issue with the bread is that at $4.49 for a baguette, the price was quite high compared to, say, a farmers' market baguette. Still, the bread was excellent, one of the best loaves in the county, so let's hope that increased volume will reduce the price a bit.
Deliveries of Grampy Pat's bread only happen on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Pre-orders for baguettes, 2-pound boules and two kinds of rolls are accepted; call the gallery by Thursday to place your order.
Gallery on Glassell, 115 N. Glassell, Orange, (714) 744-9844; www.galleryonglassell.com.