All those years I served as an international flight attendant, crisscrossing the globe, one of my favorite layover locations was that eternal City of Light, Paris—mainly due to the fact that there’s seemingly a French bakery on every corner. Every time I’d return stateside, I’d bemoan the fact that I couldn’t get freshly baked goods as abundantly or as easily in America.
Then I moved to Rancho Mirage, and discovered one of the jewels in the crown of the Palm Springs Valley: Aspen Mills Bakery. I loved finding excuses to run errands in Palm Springs proper simply for the fact that it gave me the opportunity to dart into Aspen Mills and procure myself a butter croissant, a chocolate chip cookie, a pumpkin raisin nut muffin, a loaf of one of their more than 30 varieties of bread (carrot raisin is my sweet favorite, squaw my savory), or one of their eight delectable sandwiches (you haven’t really lived until you’ve sampled their Hacienda: nine-grain bread flanking roasted chicken, pepper jack cheese, tomatoes, guacamole, onions, mayonnaise, and spun lettuce). But on the days that Palm Springs was out of reach, alas, so was Aspen Mills.
And then the powers-that-be decided to open not one but two satellite locations, both in Rancho Mirage! How lucky can a boy be? So now, when I need an Aspen fix, I venture to the Rancho Mirage Public Library on Highway 111, or to Clark’s Nutrition on Monterey. There I’ll find not only my local Aspen Mills outpost, but all the artisanal baked goods they’ve been making for the last 19 years. But tasty, wholesome food isn’t the only thing this family of bakers has been making in the last two decades. They’ve also created their fair share of satisfied regular customers—one of which just happens to be me!