The first time I went to Zak the Baker was back in December 2014 (revisit that meal here). I was staying with my family for the week between Christmas and New Year's and we had decided to spend an afternoon in Wynwood. We were all blown away by the house made bread; my parents inhaled two chocolate rugelach; and I was particularly infatuated with the avocado toast.
This past weekend when I was back in Miami, we spent our final day in Wynwood. There was no question we would dine at Zak the Baker, especially since he had expanded to a second space.
The original location is now home to the deli, which is exclusively savory food. Where there used to be a chalkboard menu, there are now four scrolls of butcher paper that list the current offerings.
As we approached the counter, I was overjoyed to see they carry all the Dr. Brown's sodas, including the tough-to-find celery flavor.
Of course I ordered a cream soda. Whenever I am in a classic Jewish deli I can never resist!
My cousin ordered the hibiscus tea, which unfortunately tasted like watered down cranberry juice.
We sat down and waited for our names to be called. When they shout your first name, you scurry up to the counter to grab your goodies.
My sister ordered a combo plate, which meant she got soup, a salad and half a sandwich. The soup that day was chickpea.
After a few spoonfuls she commented, "This is such a great, fall soup. The chickpeas are buttery and the carrots and onions add a nice texture."
She also enjoyed half of a tuna salad sandwich on rye bread with a side of cucumber salad. She raved about the rye bread and the tuna. She mentioned, "This cucumber salad tastes more like pickles. I mean that in a good way!" As she worked her way through the three items in front of her she added, "Everyone who comes here should get the combo plate. It's the best deal. Everything tastes hearty, but I never felt too stuffed."
Across the table, my cousin was enjoying a tuna salad sandwich on white bread. She chimed in, "This is such a generous portion and I really love the sprouts. They add a nice crunch to every bite."
I had a difficult time deciding what to get because the menu had changed so much since my first visit. I had been looking forward to sharing a hummus plate and re-ordering that epic avocado toast. Instead I wound up ordering half of an egg salad sandwich on rye and a side.
The sandwich was super yummy. Fresh bread makes all the difference! Sadly, the pickles were not the traditional half sours I was expecting.
The salad I chose was listed on the menu as butter lettuce, sprouts, tomato, cucumber and carrot. When it arrived, it also had beets, which is my least favorite food. It's one of the only things I absolutely will not eat. I wish they had included that in the description, so I would have known not to order it.
Worried I might not be full after the salad and half sandwich, I requested a scoop of avocado on the side. You can also order scoops of smoked whitefish, smoked salmon, tuna salad, chicken salad or egg salad.
As we were wrapping up our meal, people were circling like hawks, hoping to snag our table. I remembered this from last time, seating here is very hard to come by.
With our lunch plates cleared, we headed out and a few doors down to Zak the Baker's new location, a space dedicated just to baking!
I love this mural on the building between the two spaces.
The bakery embraces the wild paint colors that Wynwood is known for.
Inside, the shelves are piled high with Zak's signature loaves of bread. Had I been staying in town another night, I definitely would have brought one home to my parents.
We came in search of dessert and had plenty to choose from. I was ogling the pastries in a way usually reserved for weekend mornings at Sofra.
After much deliberation (and drooling) we selected the chocolate chip cookie and the dark chocolate flourless cookie.
Each one was the size of a tea cup saucer!
I took one bite of the flourless chocolate cookie and my eyes rolled into the back of my head. This is one of the best, richest cookies I have ever had the pleasure of tasting. The outside was perfectly crisp, the inside was gooey and there were whole almonds mixed in.
The chocolate chip cookie was chewy and extra buttery - just the way it should be. All we were missing was a glass of cold milk for dunking.
If you live in Miami, pick up sweets from the Zak the Baker the next time you're invited to someone's home for dinner or a holiday. You will be the hit of the night. For visitors, add Zak the Baker (the bakery) to your must-visit list.