Ever get caught up with a friend's quest for culinary delights only to discover a world of new tastes and flavors for yourself? It happened when I accompanied Annie on her bakery visits for a report due this week. She really didn't need me to go along, could have done just fine on her own. And I could have used the extra sleep. But I was promised lunch at Porto's, so on our way to the new location in Burbank, we walked into a bakery about the size of a walk-in closet. The line stretched outside as the two counter girls quickly handed out brown paper bags as fast as they could. Of course I had to line up and see what all the fuss was about. As soon as a man carrying two large bags passed by me, the answer was clear. The aroma of the fresh bread followed him. I wanted to follow along, as he held the bags above his head to get through the crowd outside. A kind lady in line behind me smiled and said, "It is barbarie," and I was in love. For only $1.25 each, they come hot out of the oven, sprinkled with sesame seeds, slightly salty and baked to a lovely golden brown. I quickly bought two for myself and hurried back to the car to take a bite. Others were much less self-conscious and openly tore off pieces to eat as they walked by. Annie has a saying "It is so good I forget my mother-in-law," which generally applies to culinary delights, but could be useful on other occasions. Well, this lip-smacking bread made me forget everything. Except how to duplicate the formula. I searched all over and found a few formulas on the internet, but this will take some research & testing, and sampling, of course.
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