Never underestimate the worthiness of a well-run independent bakery. They're forerunners in freshness, from-scratch quality and an overall love and diligence for their food that's unseen in the likes of mega-chains and grocery store bakeries. Places like these can restore one’s hope in the American food landscape in a single bite...if they’re doing it right.
So, when visiting Frida’s Café and Bakery in Largo, one has to wonder if they necessarily hold up to a description like this.
The answer is, absolutely!
Housed in a large bright building on the side of Ulmerton Road, Frida’s is a veritable mecca for homemade baked goods, soups, salads and much more. The chalkboard menu lining the wall is enough to make one recoil in indecision as there are so many delicious-sounding items crammed into all corners of the board. It's hard to pick just one.
For lunch, the half sandwich /half soup combo seemed like a good jumping off point. A simple turkey and smoked gouda panini and potato bacon soup felt like the perfect complimentary pair for the rainy afternoon. And for the most part it did not disappoint.
Great bread is essential for a great sandwich no matter which way you cut it (pun intended) and Frida’s recognizes this. Pressed just right, the loaf on the panini was crunchy on the outside as it was soft on the inside with a hint of mild sweetness that complimented the sandwich innards well. If Frida’s uses pre-cooked deli turkey, they could’ve fooled me. The ample helping tasted as fresh as the one on Thanksgiving and the smoked gouda melting with the chipotle mayonnaise and tomato really knocked things out of the park.
The potato bacon soup was rich and hearty, loaded with tons of soft potato, chives, carrots and to much disappointment hardly any bacon. When this beloved meat did show, it was in crumb-sized specks you had to work to notice. A great soup otherwise, just bacon-deprived.
Of course, what would a trip to the bakery be without bringing home some baked-up sweetness? Cookies, pastries, cakes, donuts and the list goes on. Frida’s really has a sweets section that can only be described as monstrous. A simple cranberry scone, about the size of a softball, was just as huge as it was mildly tart and delicious.
The cranberry almond bar dipped in chocolate was the stuff of legend.
Covered in sliced almonds and deceptively soft, the bar was a beautiful menagerie of sugar cookie, almond, cranberry jam and milk chocolate that’ll be hard to forget.
Around since 1987, Frida’s definitely has the years under their belt to know what they’re doing when it comes to fresh, baked goods and classic café fare. Give ‘em a visit soon and see what you think.