As I ambled along backroads about Murphys in Calaveras County and Sutter Creek and Amador City in Amador County the past few days, I couldn't recall a splashier show of spring poppies in the foothills. Hardly hill or hollow was without a bright patch of the golden blooms.
The display made me thankful for at least two reasons: One, that the legislature in 1903 had the good sense to name the golden poppy California's state flower. Second, that Gov. Schwarzenegger wasn't in office way back then. I suspect he would have caved in to the lily, lilac and lupine lobbyists and vetoed the measure, just as he buckled to cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay partisans a couple of years ago when legislators voted to declare zinfandel the state's "historic" wine grape.
Yeah, I hold a grudge, but that isn't the culinary point of this item. Andrae's Bakery in Amador City is. No matter how many times we stop at the shop, the Andraes seem to be stocking their already crowded display cases with something new. This time around it was a zesty pistachio and orange brioche. We resisted the oatmeal cookies and Basque cake, but not that or the brownies and the cranberry-and-walnut sourdough bread.
If you stop, be prepared for a long line and claustrophobia. The shop, which also has extensive selections of cheese and housemade sandwiches, is small and almost invariably crowded. But that's going to change. The Andraes are drawing up plans for roomier new quarters in neighboring Sutter Creek. The new bakery could be open as soon as this fall, though they may hold off on the debut until after the busy year-end baking season. Whenever it's open, we'll be back, looking for poppyseed cake.