As someone who calls myself an athlete, writing a weekly food column and now hosting a radio show on KPRi can make staying at my “fighting weight” challenging to say the least. I still run competitively, surf, and throw a variety of cross-training activities into the mix to keep things interesting. As long as my body cooperates, I will be out there competing at some level. That said, I have the same passion for all things culinary and having creative outlets to convey that passion gives me as much pleasure as my athletic endeavors. It’s an interesting mix to say the least and one that I’m sure is shared by many in this huge playground we live in, especially with new dining options opening daily.
As I thought about this column, I ran into Gordy Haskett, owner of Gordy’s Bakery in Encinitas. Perfect timing as Gordy is as immersed into the local running scene as anyone around, while cranking out some of the best baked goods ever out of his cool little space on Encinitas Boulevard. I’ve seen him running in the area for years, either solo or leading a pack of San Dieguito Academy cross country athletes, where his teams number close to 80 runners. Yes, I said 80 runners, that says something about the coach. Despite him being a distance guy and me being a sprinter, we both share a love for running and food.
Gordy was born and raised in Encinitas, so he has an insider’s knowledge on the local dining scene. His brother Craig Haskett is the famous concert poster artist Scrojo whose posters I’ve been admiring for years. Gordy’s early years in Encinitas had him washing dishes at the Coffee Mill which is now the Encinitas Café. He graduated from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco long before being a chef was perceived as being cool and celebrity chefs were rare. Gordy also worked in England for a year as castle chef for Lord and Lady Caudor. He quit cooking for a spell and became a “running bum” for a couple of years. I should point out that the word bum does not do justice to some of the times he has produced. He has run a 2:23 marathon, 30:47 10k, 14:55 5k, and a 10:10:58 Ironman Hawaii. Those are some seriously fast times, folks.
Gordy opened and ran a successful wholesale bakery in 1988 which he sold and that lead to him managing the running mecca Movin Shoes. The urge to get back into the kitchen and a strong following amongst North County athletes led him to open Gordy’s Bakery in 2010 and that’s where I caught up with him recently.
Gordy’s is tucked away in the Smart & Final shopping center on Encinitas Boulevard just East of I-5. It’s a cool place that reminds me of a cross between a European coffee shop with the eclectic touches of Ducky Waddles Emporium, and a bit of Lou’s Records thrown in with the Scrojo posters adorning the walls. I like that mix. Gordy’s girlfriend Ellen Amano works the counter, serving up a mix of sweet and savory delights. Those delights feature some items that have attained local legend status enough to have been copied and introduced by other local bakeries but we won’t go into that. The Plonk is the rock star and combines oats, raisins, brown sugar, banana, butter, flour, dates, walnuts, water, sugar, eggs, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and ginger. The B-Bar and the Lunch Lady are also best sellers. Cakes, cookies, scones, brownies, macaroons, shortbreads, tarts and a variety of other breads and sweets fill the cases at Gordy’s. And of course they have an extensive selection of coffee available.
I’m a big fan of the savory side of the menu and love the sausage roll and meat pie. I pleaded my case for them to include pasties on the menu and given their UK connections I’m hoping they succumb to my wishes.
Gordy’s always seems to be filled with athletic looking folks which is proof that I am not alone in my dual love of eating and playing. It actually makes perfect sense as it’s all about calories in and calories out and everything in moderation. That’s my simplistic view of it but it seems to work.
Gordy is a cool guy who has found a way to balance his passions and his bakery is worth checking out if you have not already. Find out more at www.gordysbakery.com