Bill Walsh is deeply impressed with Scratch Bakery in Durham, North Carolina.
By Bill Walsh
In the culinary arena, few food mediums tickle my digestive system more than pies. Savory or sweet, I think I could eat pie at almost any meal (save Thanksgiving dinner; a turkey pie could never replace the bird). Naturally, when I was in the area of Durham, I penciled into my itinerary a bakery with multiple pie accolades from publications like Food & Wine and Bon Appetit. But when I found out they purveyed great coffee too, it became a must on my short trot around town.
Stopping en route one morning on my way to some business, I located the bakery bustling but not overtly crowded at its side street location. A quick glance foretold of an enticing venue, with its glass front that leads the patron into their brightly arrayed space, with a chic, modern array of furniture to seat the visiting masses.
Ordering coffee before pie (a necessity), I decided on an espresso of Intelligentsia’s Black Cat and a drip of an Intelly-concocted House Blend. The espresso, pulled short with brown crema, reverberated unsweetened cocoa, spinach, lime, nutmeg, fig, thyme and lemongrass, all together holding a nice measure of acidity and spice. The drip of the House smacked of almond, croissant, carrot, root beer, milk and some cashew in a brothy yet sweet cup of coffee.
After my coffee, I dug gleefully into two different pies (any bakery listed in the top 10 pie places in the nation deserves 2 slices of pie), all to find a confirmed haven of great pie accompanied by great coffee. If you’re close, scratch deep the surface of Scratch.