Touchstone Bakery

Truly great pastries are hard to come by. But in a world of shrink-wrapped scones and cinnamon rolls that can't hold their weight under all that sugary goo, there exists a bakery that might just reform our jaded standards. The Touchstone pastry case is a visual promised land for connoisseurs of fine organic carbs. The pastries are dense and sweet, thanks to the Touchstone staff's resolution to use maple syrup, molasses, and honey instead of sugar. A substitution of whole-grain flour for standard white gives each pastry a healthy, rich brown hue. And don't even get me started on the amazing flavors. The raspberry English scone ($1.85) reminds you how simple snacks, when skillfully created, are often the best. The raspberry croissant ($2.50 vegan, $2.75 nonvegan) and the cream cheese Danish ($2.75) are crisp and perky in the appreciated absence of regret-producing grease. On a more leisurely morning, the wheat-free waffle with organic fruit and real maple syrup ($3.75) is comforting, while the vegan biscuits and gravy ($3 for two biscuits, $5.50 four biscuits) call into question why we ever used turkey fat in place of savory (and healthier) mushrooms, onions, and spices. Top the meal off with an organic fruit smoothie ($4.25) and you'll be hard-pressed to have a bad day. Homemade whole-grains-and-flax granola is also available in house ($2.75/cup; $3.50/bowl) or to go ($3/lb.). And that's just breakfast; organic lunch is served until 4 p.m. every day but Wednesday. 501 N. 36th St., 206-547-4000. FREMONT

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