Cafe Besalu, $2.75
Standing at Cafe Besalu's counter or sitting at certain tables, you can watch the bakers at work in the open kitchen and marvel at their ability to turn slabs of pale, flabby dough into golden, flaky baked goods.
Besalu's schnecken is a testament to that transformative power. This traditional pastry takes its name from the German word for "snail," but its originators were probably eastern European Ashkenazi Jews. Neither filled nor topped, the almond-scented schnecken nevertheless offers a tantalizing variety of textures: a crisp and airy skin, a tender center of buttery, barely-baked dough, and a pebbled bottom of not-quite-caramelized large-grain sugar.