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Treasure Found: Sunny Bakery Cafe

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Sunny Bakery Cafe is a Carmel Valley local secret…so far (Photo: Mark C. Anderson)

September 23, 2022 – Many words come to mind when thinking about how to summarize the Sunny Bakery Cafe experience.

Thoughtful. Relaxing. Comprehensive.

Still, if I had to settle for one word, I’d go with it. shiny.

Bright as color, bright as smart, brilliant in flavor.

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The decor, the juices, the coffee, the vibe, the food items all radiate shine.

All of a sudden there’s something in Carmel Valley that she doesn’t know is missing.

Sunny opened to enthusiastic local response this summer, but took much longer to make and cook.

Chef-owner-operator Analuisa Béjar has worked in kitchens and advocated great food for decades, mostly in her hometown of Mexico City, 2,151 miles away.

Owner Analuisa Béjar is the author of a book on pastries (Photo: Mark C. Anderson)

Her resume unleashes an avalanche of culinary experience, from working as a food critic and columnist, to editing cookbooks and developing recipes, to multiple food magazine editorial shows.

In fact, it helped him write a definitive book on pastries that bode well for the pound cakes and cinnamon rolls he rocks. (To be clear, these are in keeping with Bejar’s tutorial planning a Day of the Dead special that will deliver flavors born South of the Border, not French-inspired, Mexican-based sweet breads.)

Béjar’s brother took over the old Wild Goose Cafe in June after convincing him to relocate not far from his second home in the deep Carmel Valley.

Visitors don’t need to know his bio to be impressed by the sweet and savory options.

My colleague and I tried the iced coffee with Santa Cruz-based Pacific Espresso beans, BLT, lox bagel and yes, The Cookie Monster.

Each one was perfect.

Lox on homemade bagels (Photo: Mark C Anderson)

The BLT, delivered to our outdoor table by Béjar, sits on a soft brioche with a quartet of chewy bacon. I normally look for more crunchy pork protein, but this sandwich stole my love with its harmonious textures and maple-soy-honey glaze on smoked bacon, making me question that choice.

Lox topped with cream cheese and (yes) bright red tomatoes over the homemade bagel options – I’ve been to everything – offers something I can eat anytime.

Meanwhile, the lumpy and sweet Cookie Monster can rival any chocolate chip cookie on the Monterey Peninsula, something I’ve followed for years because chocolate chip cookies are a family tradition.

Loaded BLT is a local favorite (Photo: Mark C. Anderson)

When I’m next in the valley, lemon butter cookies, croissant sandwiches, cheese scones, bagel rolls, quiche and breakfast burrito of the day, another customer spontaneously recommended, will have me standing unprovoked.

Béjar admits that it’s difficult to transform a trash-dominated place into a thriving hub, but he audibly enjoys what Sunny has quickly transformed. She also seems fascinated by how much the neighbors are helping with CVs, working the tile sheet in the front, bringing products from their farm, donating the stylish door design, and gifting bells to ring when someone enters.

“The most important thing is a sense of community,” he says. “Everyone has been so generous – I’m in awe.”

Their happiest moments at work come shortly after dawn.

Sunny’s cinnamon buns are popular with morning customers (Photo: Mark C. Anderson)

“I love that the locals come here every morning,” she says. “Sometimes they have philosophical conversations, sometimes they joke with each other. It’s really nice to feel this community.”

In other words, Sunny is already shining.

More on Sunny Bakery Cafe’s Instagram page.


Mark C. Anderson is a writer, photographer, editor, and explorer based in Seaside, California. Reach @MontereyMCA on Instagram and excitement.