Some of the best chocolate eclairs around are at Kay Bakery.
But don't put your hands down after you eat one of their eclairs; you'll get chocolate everywhere. I used seven napkins the last time I got a Kay Bakery eclair.
These aren't those smooth oval pastries with chocolate on top and lemon filling inside. The eclairs at Kay Bakery, which are 6 inches long and 2 inches high, are oval, but they're craggy, a bit crusty, covered with chocolate on top and filled with cream. They remind me of the ones I used to eat in the 1950s and '60s at the old Goldsmith's bakery Downtown. Remember? The bakery was near the gourmet food tunnel that went to the parking lot.
Queo Bautista, who co-owns Kay Bakery with his brother, Misael, said the place also is called "Panaderia Monterrey" because of their Hispanic customers.
Queo said the eclair recipe dates to when Kay Bakery opened in 1932. The Bautistas bought the recipes along with the bakery three years ago. The eclair filling is the same Bavarian cream custard customers have been enjoying for decades.
They make two dozen eclairs a day. The pastries take about 11/2 hours to bake in a 450-degree oven.
After you make your purchase, the eclairs are placed on a white paper doily and placed in a white cardboard box. Even if you just buy one eclair, which costs $1.99, you get it in a box.
While I was at the bakery earlier this week, I asked a customer who came in if he ever bought the eclairs. "My daughter eats them," he said. "They're a little too sweet for me."
Ironically, the man's name was Sweet. Chester Sweet. He was at the bakery to order a cake rimmed with blue, purple and green roses for his eclair-loving daughter, Chelsea, 14, who graduates today from Riverdale Middle School.
The Sweets are sweet on Kay Bakery. Chester and his wife, Laritha, travel from Cordova to the bakery, which is off Summer near Perkins, four or five times a month. They've been customers since before the Bautistas bought the bakery. "They treat you like you've been coming here all your life."
Kay Bakery, 667 Avon Road, is open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Call: 767-0780.
Michael Donahue: 529-2797, firstname.lastname@example.org