EVERETT — It was mid-Saturday afternoon and the bakery was still packed. One thinks of Saturday morning as the time when people line up for doughnuts.
However, it’s been this way all day each Saturday since February when Despi Delite Bakery opened on Broadway.
“Every day is busy, but on Saturday we rock and roll,” Melissa Despi said. “That’s when we put on our dancing shoes.”
Melissa’s husband, Christian Despi, is part of the well-known Despi family of Seattle, where for nearly 30 years they have owned and run the original Delite Bakery on Beacon Hill.
“My mother-in-law thought we needed a presence up north,” Melissa said. “She made the right call, and our location on Broadway is great.”
The modern storefront, located kitty corner from Everett Memorial Stadium, has few signs, which makes for a clean aesthetic throughout. The bakery has a big kitchen in the back where Christian spends the early morning hours of each day. He started working for his family business while in his teens. He’s now pushing 40.
Melissa, 37, is in charge of counter service. Large display cases are packed with all sorts of goodies, including bread and rolls, French pastries, cookies, Filipino ube cakes, savory chicken empanadas and hopia balls, and, yes, lots and lots of doughnuts.
This week, look for delectables for Easter weekend. Also, cakes can be made to order, and the ones in the case were beautiful.
The wall behind the counter is decorated with drawings by children who visit the bakery. Crayons and paper are at the ready by the counter seating against the windows.
Without a doubt, this is Everett’s new hot spot. Don’t miss out. And take advantage of the Filipino specialties.
An ube cake roll is $10, but an ube cake slice is $3.25 and the new ube “pop tart” is $2.25. A small package of ube bread goes for $3.20. And you can’t miss the ube old fashioned doughnut sprinkled with coconut or the ube cheesecake.
A little more on ube: It’s a root vegetable like taro, but it is best described as a purple yam. Ube is used in desserts of many kinds in the Philippines, including its deep purple ice cream. Ube is an everyday ingredient, not a delicacy. It has a less savory taste than a potato and is a bit more like a sweet potato.
A description I read from Nicole Ponseca, the owner of two Filipino restaurants in New York City, perhaps says it best: “The taste of the purple yam is an amalgamation of vanilla with the nuttiness of pistachio. The flavor is quite gentle and not too intense.”
Not everything in the bakery is sweet. The substantial chicken empanadas are only $1.75 and include potato and vegetables. The sweet/savory hopia balls include pork (broth flavored) and mongo bean, and also are filling. Ham and cheese croissants are popular as well, Melissa said.
Fruit tarts are $2, a leche flan goes for $8, an egg pie is $8 and a loaf of banana bread goes for $5.
I brought a bunch of goodies back to the office and my friends weighed in.
Nobody thought the ube old fashioned doughnut tasted any different than a conventional old fashioned. I disagreed. My husband ordered a regular old fashioned at the store, so I had tried both. The ube was different, and better.
Here’s what my colleagues had to say:
“The ube cheesecake was nice, lightly sweet, plenty creamy and perfectly cheeecakey,” Ben Watanabe said. “Kind of a nice addition to the cheesecake wheel, in case some of the other flavors — raspberry, chocolate, etc. — are too strong for your appetite, this one will really settle into its own niche in the cheesecake pantheon.”
Andrea Brown said the bright purple of the ube “is also my favorite nail polish color. The cheesecake was filling and satisfying.”
Ben also liked the pork hopia: “It danced on the balance between sweet and savory, chewy and crumbly, and made for a nice late afternoon snack.”
Sara Bruestle decided immediately that she had to try all of the ube purple treats because purple is her favorite color.
“The cake was like Easter on a fork. I wish all cakes were as light and fluffy as this one,” Sara said. “It was so delicious that I barely noticed the buttercream frosting on top. When I was a student at Everett Community College, my best friend was Filipino. Eating the bean bun reminded me of her.”
Despi Delite Bakery
3713 Broadway, Everett; 425-249-2295
Hours are 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sunday.