Cream cheese and chocolate at Boulevard Bakery

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With bakeries, it's all too easy to get into routines. I get my povitica at MeMa's (unless I'm near Strawberry Hill), my lemon cookie at JaWa Le's Bakery-Bistro, and my mini muffins at the Classic Cookie.

When you start to have the exact change ready or the counter staff doesn't even bother to ask what else you want, you might be in a bit of a rut. To that point, I've never walked out of Boulevard Bakery & Pastries with anything other than decorated cookies.

The bakery in the Northeast (2815 Independence Avenue, a few blocks west of Van Brunt) is a step back in time, with checkerboard linoleum floors and a long pastry case that dominates the L-shaped counter. This is where I go when I need cookies for a birthday party or a get-well gift -- just as countless Kansas Citians have done since the bakery opened in 1991. 

But in an effort to explore what's to the right (creamhorns, chocolate fudgies and Radar bars) and to the left (pastries, danishes and turnovers), I was determined to walk out with a white box that didn't contain a red ladybug or yellow bumblebee cookie. The two pastries that follow might have just been added to my regular order. 

The cream cheese star pastry would make any cup of coffee a little better in the morning.
  • The cream cheese star pastry would make any cup of coffee a little better in the morning.

The cream cheese star pastry could be considered an oversized danish, but it's much more interesting than that. Four sugar-encrusted twists stick out like spokes from a center that's sweet cream cheese with a slight tang, the perfect textural compliment to the flaky exterior pastry -- it's like breakfast chips and dip. I've finally found a suitable Midwest alternative to the buttered rolls sold on breakfast carts in New York City. A cup of black coffee is a must, though, because this pastry will suck all the moisture from your mouth by the second triangle of the star.  

The chocolate fudgie requires a commitment to eating dessert.
  • The chocolate fudgie requires a commitment to eating dessert.
Ho-Ho lovers watch out -- the chocolate fudgie is essentially a homemade version of the classic dessert. The cake is soft (unlike Ho-Hos, which can taste like they've been in the wrapper too long) and incredibly moist. Boulevard also sells a vanilla fudgie (white cake, vanilla icing), with hints of lemon and a similar taste and texture to a vanilla cupcake. And one of Boulevard's most popular items -- the radar bar -- is a chocolate fudgie with crushed walnuts on top.

The bakery is also hard to beat on price. Most pastries are right around $1 -- my cream cheese star was 97 cents and the chocolate fudgie was $1.08. The Boulevard Bakery is open from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Tuesday to Friday) and 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. It's closed on Sunday and Monday. They'll take orders by phone (816-483-7172), which is something to consider if you're heading over on your lunch break. And bring cash, because credit and debit cards are not accepted.

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