In my area of San Diego, chain coffee shops outnumber independent cafes, but one advantage that the Village at 631 has over the competition is a kick-ass pastry chef. The baked goods in the display case are so vastly superior to the mass-produced items at Starbucks that making the comparison between the two almost feels mean.
The Village has a proper kitchen set-up, where pastry chef Katie creates homey pastries, ranging from the popular pineapple upside down cake to chocolate bourbon bread pudding. She says her specialty is creating simple treats “just like mom used to make” — assuming, in this case, that your mom could bake (I was lucky, mine could).
With some vaguely defined fitness goals for the new year (basically to not grow out of my current pant size), I had to keep my nibbling to a minimum, but I did sample a blackberry bar (top), a strawberry cheesecake tart (below), and a triple berry scone (above) with homemade strawberry preserves.
The scone and blackberry bar were excellent, and would pair particularly well with a warm, milky drink. I loved how the blackberry bar was so buttery and crumbly, yet not overly sweet. The strawberry cheesecake tart was a little jammy for me, but still tasty.
I didn’t try the red velvet cupcakes (which were massive), the pineapple upside down cake (with a layer of cream cheese frosting), or the chocolate bourbon bread pudding (which is typically served warm), but they all looked very tempting. I’m no psychic, but I can already see these desserts in my future.
The Village at 631
631 9th Ave, downtown