News, Views, Happiness Pursued

The Breakfast Serial

Norimoto Bakery makes the pastries of your dreams

by | Dec 16, 2020

photos/Dan Zarin

Norimoto Bakery
740 Broadway, South Portland

Well, here we are. Winter has arrived. And while I might look like a hardy New Englander — I own flannel-lined jeans and have snow tires on my car — I don’t love the cold enough to commit to outdoor dining in temperatures south of 60 degrees, so I’ll be sticking to takeout for the foreseeable future, with a strong preference for curbside pickup.

Since the pandemic began, I’ve searched for takeout breakfast options that travel well. I’ve eaten my fair share of bagels and some truly excellent breakfast sandwiches (see my October review of Ramona’s). But as the months have dragged on, I’ve been looking for something a little different.

Enter Norimoto Bakery, launched last year by former Ten Ten Pié baker Atsuko Fujimoto. 

Norimoto is primarily a wholesale operation, but on Saturday and Sunday mornings Fujimoto posts to Instagram a menu of available baked goods. I found the ordering process simple and efficient. I sent a text with my name, desired pickup time, and a list of what I wanted. After receiving confirmation and the amount due (payment can be made by Venmo or personal check), I drove to the back door of Two Fat Cats Bakery’s South Portland location, where my order was packed up and waiting for me on a rack.

Although a few items had already sold out by the time I placed my order, I was still able to get a decent selection of pastries to bring home to the family. Everything we sampled was a masterpiece; each item was among the best of its kind I’ve found anywhere in the Portland area. 

First up was a Shokupan loaf ($4), a supremely light and fluffy white bread with a mild flavor and an ethereal crumb that melted into Zen-like nothingness after each bite. Our next selection was a kale-feta savory pie with potatoes and caramelized onions ($6). Slightly earthy and just salty enough, this brunch-worthy treat delivered a symphony of textures: flaky crust, creamy potatoes and tender, chewy greens. We instantly regretted ordering only one.

The roasted delicata-and-butternut squash quiche with spinach and oat-milk custard ($6) had an incredibly flaky crust filled with a velvety, flavorful custard and perfectly seasoned, slightly al dente vegetables. The adzuki-bean black-sesame roll ($4) was airy and a little chewy, reminiscent of a cinnamon roll but much less sweet. A light dusting of matcha powder added subtle bitterness.

The small loaf of dairy- and gluten-free pistachio olive-oil cake ($15) was delicate, pleasantly crumbly, and just barely sweet. Buttery “MeSo Millionaire” shortbread ($3) was topped with an addictive, sweet-salty miso caramel. Sure, a shortbread cookie isn’t traditionally a breakfast food, but when it’s this good, who the hell cares?

We ended our pastry feast with a cranberry tart with condensed-milk custard ($5). Its almond-walnut crust was rich and perfectly tender, and the custard — by far the sweetest element of the morning’s offerings — balanced out the sharp tartness of fresh cranberries.

This day’s selections were as varied as they were delicious, making our breakfast a fun change of pace and an immensely satisfying meal. One can’t predict what’ll be on the menu during future weekends, but there are no wrong choices at Norimoto Bakery. My advice: if it sounds good to you, order it; if that’s sold out, order something else. You won’t be disappointed.

Curbside pickup is available on Saturdays and Sundays from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

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