BEST BAKERY (1999)
Per its name, Turtle Bread Company started five years ago fashioning excellent European-style bread--earthy sourdoughs, springy baguettes. Then they moved into specialty loaves: an essence-of-spinach bread, moist Irish soda bread sweet with buttermilk and oats, sour and crunchy focaccias. Finally, gloriously, they began bringing out pastries. Turtle Bread's pumpkin pie is the ideal before which all other pumpkin pies are as shadows. Its buttery, layered crust is the same magic stuff that wraps the flaky fruit turnovers, chocolate croissants, and startlingly pleasurable cream-cheese claws. The chocolate cherry cheesecake actually made us laugh out loud, mouths full of a heretofore unimagined taut richness. Notice to owner Harvey McLain and head baker Greg Wayd: A name change is way overdue.