Best breads (2000)

Tasteez Market & Bakery

When the Palmetto Grille closed, chef Michael Bortz -- a noted chocolatier -- turned his talents toward making some dough. After a stint at the Corner Bakery, he hooked up with Tasteez owner Scott Wagner, who challenged Bortz to come up with artisan breads that would complement the market/deli's daily roster of gourmet takeout foods and carved-to-order eat-in items. And Bortz more than complied, assembling an impressive roster of boules, baguettes, brioche and ciabatta, each sporting the ideal texture and flavor for its type. The brioche, for example, boasts a classic brioche à tête shape, sweet and studded with golden raisins, with a thin, chewy crust and an egg-enriched interior. The hearty, thick-skinned boules come in olive, rosemary and roasted garlic flavors (on Sunday, the special is chocolate cherry); the crispy, crackly exteriors of the baguettes contain a light, smooth center that's particularly good in the sourdough model. Need an excuse for loafing? You won't do better than Tasteez's bakery.


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