at dulce, we are committed to...
~ be fresh ~
our products are baked fresh daily in our open kitchen for our customers to see. We bake everything from scratch using natural ingredients, which are locally sourced whenever possible. Even the raspberry and apricot fillings that go into our pinwheel danishes are made in-house, as is the caramel drizzled over our espresso drinks. We NEVER use shortening in any of our products nor do we source ANY of our baked goods from other purveyors.
~ be local ~
we use local ingredients whenever possible so that the money you spend at dulce stays in the local economy. Our flour is locally grown by Sangre de Cristo Agricultural Producers north of Taos. The free-range chickens that lay our eggs live in Estancia, NM, on a diet free of antibiotics and steroids. The all-natural milk we use comes from the cows at Rasband Dairy in Albuquerque. Our fair trade organic coffee & espresso is from Agapao of Santa Fe, a company locally owned and operated here in Santa Fe. And when the season allows, we purchase the fruits and vegetables we use in many of our baked goods from New Mexican growers.
~ be good ~
we strive to be as kind as we can be to the earth and the people, animals, and plants that call it home. The packaging we use for our food and drinks are made from eco-friendly, plant-based materials and are either compostable or recyclable...or both. And if you decide to stay and enjoy your baked goods and beverages in our dining area, they will be served with real plates, glasses, and mugs. In the kitchen, we have Energy Star-rated equipment, including the double convection oven, proofer, and dishwasher. We use energy-saving CFL bulbs wherever we can and our sign uses energy-stingy LEDs to light itself at night. The chairs, tables and flooring were manufactured by companies with sustainable practices. The heating and air-conditioning are new, energy efficient models as is the 40-gallon water heater in the kitchen. A recirculating hot water pump keeps hot water instantly available at all faucets in order to minimize water wastage. Even the toilets are conscious of the scarcity of water in a desert climate and use only 1.6 gallons of water per flush.
~ be sweet ~
dulce is Spanish for sweet. Not only does our name describe what we do, it embodies our overall business philosophy. If we are sweet with what we serve and how we serve it, then we hope to spread a little sweetness to our customers. Our goal is for all of our customers to walk away happy because of what and how we serve them.
about the owners...
Dennis Adkins is the co-owner and head pastry chef for dulce. Ever since he started watching his mother bake as a child, he has always had a passion for baking. He has spent most of his professional life in the food service business. He eventually turned his enthusiasm for baking into a career when he completed the Professional Baking Program at Los Angeles Trade Tech, where he finished at the top of his class. He then continued his education at Bellouet Conseil in Paris, France, where he further developed his skills and talents in pastry and viennoiseries. After returning to the U.S., Dennis held positions at The Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills and other fine dining establishments in the Los Angeles area. In October 2008, Dennis and Kirk Barnett (see below) relocated to Santa Fe with the sole intent to open a bakery. Dennis has an intuitive gift for baking that complements his professional expertise and enables him to prepare baked goods that are superbly balanced in both taste and texture.
Kirk Barnett is the other co-owner of dulce. He earned his MBA from the University of Texas and was employed in the marketing and advertising finance areas of the film industry for 20 years in Los Angeles. He completed a professional baking program while living in Los Angeles and also competed the Patisserie Certificate Program at Santa Fe Community College. Though he occasionally provides assistance as a baker, he is primarily responsible for the day-to-day operations of the bakery.
~ reviews ~
Zane Fischer | The Santa Fe Reporter
November 10, 2010
The crust on the vegetable quiche is relentlessly perfect—like friends you can’t stand to hang around too much because they do everything right. But to eat the object of such insecurity restores the ego and, at Dulce, deeply gratifies the tongue and stomach. Inside the flavorful crust—which holds each slice secure but disintegrates eagerly into the mouth—the filling is light, practically oxygenated, and feels like eating a cloud. At least, it feels like eating a cloud liberally peppered with locally sourced, seasonal vegetables and seasoned by some heavenly spice cabinet.
But don’t confine yourself to the fresh, flawless quiches; there are too many other delights behind the pastry case. A cream cheese danish, for example, demonstrates the same masterful craft with dough and baking. And it is so deftly sweetened that you should not be surprised if people eating one snarl when you get too close. It’s a natural instinct to protect such treasure.
Fortunately, there are plenty of clean, nicely styled tables to which you can slink off and defend your danish. Or your unholy cupcake. Or your plain old—but very well-brewed—cup of joe. If, like me, you happen to be annoyed with the near impossibility of locating a properly made espresso macchiato, you may rest your bitter and complaint-prone soul easy at Dulce.
So far, I have failed to find a poorly made coffee drink or a sloppily baked offering at Dulce. A muffin awakened my childhood (and childlike) passion for banana-nut bread: crumbly in all the right places with a razor-thin crunch across the summit and moist, refreshing muffin below. It is neither too sweet nor, as is often the lamentable case, chewily moist in the center.
Simple cookies, too, are consistently excellent. Once, an oatmeal cookie that eschewed raisins in favor of orange currants put me in such a state of contemplative bliss that I was nearly run over by a tractor while standing around a construction site.
Adding to the capable quality of the food and coffee preparation is the ethic espoused and practiced at Dulce. Not only are ingredients sourced locally but, also, all of the to-go containers and miscellaneous utensils that accompany a quick pastry and coffee are renewable, biodegradable and all the other sorts of eco-conscious-ables you might want. Since it appears unlikely that progressive legislation encouraging businesses to make such moves will make it past the governor’s desk for the time being, it’s heartening to see the private sector volunteering to do the right thing. If, for example, the Santa Fe Brewing Company continues to find it entertaining to push plastic cups on customers, they may as well push biodegradable plastic cups (although glass still tastes better).
Finally, Dulce is surprisingly comfortable. It has a crisp, clean interior that manages a kind of hipster diner sensibility without being overbearing. It also avoids the Santa Fe funkiness that too often feels like required décor in local cafés.
Sweet tooth, sweet (Wi-Fi) spot and sweet sensibilities—thanks, Dulce."
Copyright © 2010 The Santa Fe Reporter
In new cafe, full spectrum
of baked goodies line the shelves
Rob De Walt | The Santa Fe New Mexican
October 19, 2010
"I've cheated on a faithful lover, and I'm not going to apologize.
No, I haven't slighted someone special. I'm talking about muffins, people! And cupcakes and cheese Danish and ... stop me before I drool on the keyboard. Again. You see, within a scone's throw of the Santa Fe Baking Company — where I can be found most Friday mornings chatting on the air with KSFR-FM 101.1 radio maven Mary-Charlotte Domandi during her Santa Fe Radio Cafe program and noshing on croissants and coffee — a new bakery and cafe has opened.
Situated in the spot formerly occupied by Pete's Pets (in a building that was the original proposed location for the Flying Star Café, which ended up in the Railyard), Dulce, as it's called, hits the sweet spot. And owner/proprietors Kirk Barnett and Dennis Adkins aren't really competing with the Santa Fe Baking Company, which offers a larger juice selection and a more complete breakfast/lunch menu (burritos, Frito pies, burgers, flapjacks, etc.). Suddenly, I don't feel like such a cheater, after all. There's always room for more than one bakery in my life — as long as I don't let one buttered mistress know when I'm slathering jam on the other.
Dulce's tag line says it all — "Be Sweet." Whether you fancy the red velvet, carrot or coconut cupcakes; the blueberry or pear-ginger scones; banana-nut muffins; quiche or just need an espresso shot to get the day started, these folks have you covered. The selection is small for now, but everything I tried was delicious, and the case was well attended. As Barnett and Adkins get a better idea of what their inventory should be as they watch their business grow, they plan to add some more lunch-able items — possibly sandwiches and breads — to the menu. Dulce (1100 Don Diego Ave., Suite A, 989-9966) is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and closed on Sundays to preserve sanity. The café takes cash and major credit cards except American Express, and there is ample free, on-site parking and accessibility for patrons with disabilities."
Copyright © 2010 The Santa Fe New Mexican
Cupcake vs. Cupcake
Zane Fischer | The Santa Fe Reporter
February 9, 2011
"If you want to blow your mind with the queen of cupcakes—a red velvet cake—Dulce wins out in terms of texture, flavor and indelible cake love."
Dulce bakery delivers sweets, cheerful outlook
despite changes to original plan
Candelora Versace | The Santa Fe New Mexican
February 16, 2011
"Every calculation based on experience elsewhere fails in New Mexico," said Lew Wallace, New Mexico territorial governor, back in the 19th century. Many residents agree this dicho holds true today, and for Dulce Bakery owners Kirk Barnett and Dennis Adkins, it's meant revising their expectations — sometimes on a daily basis.
"It's still so much of a learning process after five months," Barnett said. "How much to order, what the daily rhythm is, what the holidays were going to be about. ... We were not quite prepared in the beginning."
Dulce's motto — "Be Fresh. Be Local. Be Good. Be Sweet."— pretty much sums up their business philosophy: to use local products whenever possible and to bake fresh goodies every day; to be as gentle to the environment as they can; and not only to serve a sweet product, but to serve it sweetly as well, bringing niceness and spreading overall good cheer to their customers.
So far they've maintained this overriding philosophy, even while learning how to keep moving when their expectations mash up against reality. The pair relocated to Santa Fe in 2008 from Los Angeles and intended to open last spring. Construction issues at the former Pete's Pets building on Don Diego Avenue and city regulatory processes pushed their opening to September, barely giving them a chance to hit their stride before the holiday season's oversized need for sweets set in.
Their plan was to be a bakery with an open kitchen. Perhaps coffee could be served as well, they decided — almost as an afterthought, according to Barnett. They are mildly astonished that they are perceived as a coffee shop that has baked goods on the side. Considering the sheer amount of coffee drinks they sell, Barnett said the partners are glad they bought a shiny new industrial-strength espresso machine instead of the used one they were originally planning on.
Barnett, who manages the business, said he had originally intended to bake alongside his partner, who is the primary artist in the kitchen with a background in pastry-making in Paris and The Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. Perhaps naively, he admitted, they didn't expect the "business" part of the business to be a full-time job.
Barnett's food-service background is minimal: three months as a waiter during college, a professional baking program in L.A. and the Patisserie Certificate Program at Santa Fe Community College. Their decision to create Dulce came when he was laid off from his marketing job at New Line Cinema, a film-production company.
And while Adkins, who also worked at the famed Auntie Em's Kitchen in L.A. — home of the red-velvet cupcake that has swept the bakery world — says his specialty is cake, both partners have been surprised at the popularity of his 4-inch fruit tarts. Positive reviews and word of mouth about Dulce's quiche have made it a prominent feature in their cases, as well.
"We toured all the local bakeries, we studied the market, and we just felt like there was a niche for our product," Barnett said. "One of the most frequent comments we get from people, what they like about the desserts, is that it's not too sweet."
That's a reflection of Adkins' special touch in the bakery.
"For me, what I think about when I'm baking is balance. I don't go for overly sweet. You're going to go to the trouble of putting all those different ingredients in your product — like in a carrot cake, the carrots, the currants — and if you can't taste them because it's all overpowered by sugar, what's the point? You want to be able to taste it."
The altitude wasn't a problem for Adkins, who said he made some adjustments to his recipes. "The flour bakes really easily here; it has a high protein content," he said, adding that it's locally grown from the Sangre de Cristo Agricultural Producers north of Taos. He also uses free-range antibiotic-free eggs from Flying E Ranch in Estancia and natural milk from Rasband Dairy in Albuquerque. Fair-trade, organic coffee is supplied by Santa Fe's Agapao, and they hope to use as much local produce as they can during the growing season.
While both partners betray a certain nostalgia for L.A. and the hustle and bustle of the big city, they know that Santa Fe was a good choice for their business model. Without a doubt, their greatest surprise was the amount of support they've gotten from the South Capitol neighborhood, and from their neighbors in Eldorado who have taken care of their dog, volunteered at the business and showed up en masse for their opening, Barnett said.
"I'm almost certain that we never would have received the outpouring of support from our old neighborhood in L.A.," Barnett wrote in an e-mail. "Santa Fe has a much stronger sense of community that we very much appreciate."
IF YOU GO: Dulce Bakery and Coffee
Location: 1100 Don Diego Ave., Ste. A
Hours: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday, closed Sunday.
Contact: 989-9966, or visit their website at http://www.dulcebakery.com.
Other: Has ample parking; is compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act; offers free Wi-Fi.