Curious Gorge

There’s always that place.

It’s the one you pass, sometimes once a day, that grabs your interest, but not enough to make you stop. You think, “I wonder if it’s any good?”

Usually it’s that ‘Mom & Pop’ joint that you know has to be fantastic, because, aren’t they all?

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For me, Nations Bakery in Lyman, SC is one of those places. It’s on Highway 29 just outside Spartanburg. You blow by it on the mad dash to Greenville, or even Greer. The space had actually been home to a few different businesses, but I never paid attention until the word bakery got involved.

On a suggestion, we went.

They had me at the entrance.

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These cases full of cakes, breads and cookies (oh my!) grab your sweet tooth and pull it harder than any dentist ever could.

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A feisty fireball, who had to stand on a box to be seen from behind the counter, asked if we were there for lunch. I said, “You serve lunch today?” She looked back at me as if I were dressed as Tina Turner and said, “Uh, Yeah.”

We sat down.

There were a few others there eating. The booths were nothing fancy. Our water came in wine glasses.

The menu offered a great selection, namely the 87 different kinds of cakes.

My partner in cuisine crime got a roast pork sandwich, kind of a Cuban on crack. Truth be told, I wanted the same thing, but I’m not a fan of doing that. Why copy when you can both order something different and then share?

It sounds as boring as I was afraid it would be, but I ordered the chicken cordon bleu.

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Both sandwiches came out. The plates were so full we could’ve satisfied the knot-tying congregates at a Boy Scout jamboree. We dug in and were in no rush to dig our way out.

This chicken cordon bleu was ridiculous. The chicken breast was seared to seasoned perfection. I’m talking the intersection of Flavor Road and Holy Cow Highway.

The pork sandwich was delectable. A fusion of creamy avocado and fiery jalapeños.

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Be warned. Every sandwich comes with mayo. We ordered ours without. I figure that 400 calories would be better spent on something calling my name from the cases out front.

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Be childishly excited. Their sandwiches come on homemade bread. I mean, bread bookends so soft Charmin wants in on the action.

Then there was dessert.

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A tall glass case spun in a hypnotic whirl showing off mile-high cakes. Our waitress said we could have a slice of any one we wanted. They were willing to hack up a Heavenly whole cake. Who does that? I’m glad they do.

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I got the the tres leches cake. Whipped cream slathered on a moist mix of cake and three kinds of milk (evaporated, condensed and heavy cream).

We both got chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons. Chewy sweet coconut that got caught in a downpour of flowing bittersweet chocolate.

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The owner also gave us a sample of his Easter bread. He’s from Ecuador. We talked for a few minutes. That made the experience whole. There’s nothing better than learning the story of the cook whose food put a smile on your face.

He told me that next time we’d have to try the guava turnovers. I can’t wait.

Nations Bakery is a must-try. If anything, go have dessert.
Just remember… If you have to ask yourself if that little

20120426-204113.jpg whole-in-the-wall is any good, you’re probably onto something.

Tip: Pick a food item and spend a weekend seeking it out. We did a cupcake crawl. Iced in Taylors, SC and Cupcake Creations in Boiling Springs, SC. Both places offered mini versions of their star selections. Do that. Then you can try everything without feeling as though you owe Jenny Craig your life savings.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Anonymous says:

    “It tastes like your childhood” – love that line. LSO Enright (last soundbite optional)

    1. gonedishing says:

      Thank you!!! LSO.. love THAT!

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