Tutti Baci and Piano Lessons

Saturday promises to be a really nice day. In the morning it is crisp, cool and blue sky, not much humidity. After my almost ritual early Saturday morning work out at the Westfield Y, I change my breakfast routine for today from Bovella's and head over to Tutti Baci instead. Now that they have inviting chairs and tables out in front, it seems like a good place to have a coffee, a croissant or some other breakfast sweets, sit outside to enjoy the beautiful weather and read through the papers.

I have been at Tutti Baci a couple of times just to get coffee to go and the coffee there is quite good. It is typically fresh brewed, they have some flavored versions that I enjoy (e.g. Hazelnut) and when you "eat-in" you can have it in a china mug instead of a paper cup. I would probably rate the coffee at close to the level of Ahrre's Coffee Roastery (which is the benchmark in the area) and certainly above some of the other decent chain standards in the area (like Panera or QuickChek).

I had a croissant from Tutti Baci to go at one point before. They are ok but nothing special. They are a far cry from what you can get at Bovella's. They don't taste as fresh (even if you get them early in the morning), have a more compact heavy texture (as compared to the light fluffy one's at Bovella's), they are not as buttery and you just don't get this sense of utter satisfaction from such a more average croissant.

So I don't even try them again today and rather go for something else. The cheese turnovers (not sure what the official name is) look appealing and fresh. And yes they are good. Whatever they do, they manage to get the cheese filling just right, not an easy task. It is not heavy or crumbly as you often see, it is rather light, with a smooth consistency and a very intense mouth feel. The taste is not too sweet and balanced with a slight citrus nuance. The dough is also right to the point. Certainly worth another try.

After a leisurely breakfast at Tutti Baci, I drive to Scotch Plains for piano lessons at the "Scotch Plains Music Center". This is another institution in the area and a very special place. And maybe it is good that it is not in Westfield. With the retail rent inflation in Westfield downtown, a place like the Scotch Plains Music Center might not be able to survive in Westfield anymore.

There are quite a few stories about the Scotch Plains Music store and its legendary owner Greg Natic, that I will save for later posts. One thing however that is remarkable right now are the Saturday concerts that Greg is organizing outside in front of the store on Park Avenue in Scotch Plains. He calls it the "Annual Music on Park Ave. Series" and this year is the 8th year this event is happening. During the summer months Greg uses his network of contacts in the New Jersey Music scene to get one band to Scotch Plains every Saturday and to introduce these bands to the locals as well as people shopping Scotch Plains. After my music lessons, I typically hang out bit longer, with a coffee (or an iced coffee) to enjoy the music.

If you want to enjoy some cool jazz on Saturday morning and early afternoon, head over to Scotch Plains.

Signing Off - The Westfield Blogger

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