Gold in them thar hills

Illustration By Mark Stivers

Charlotte’s Bake Shoppe

6246 Pleasant Valley Rd.
El Dorado, CA 95623

(530) 295-3998

Highway 49 winding down from Placerville is full of towns so small you don’t even have to blink to miss ’em. Keep a sharp eye out for El Dorado, which is notable for a different kind of gold: the tawny crusts at Charlotte’s Bake Shoppe, including pizzas, bread and sweet treats. I loved the cornmeal crunch in a buttery shortbread cookie as well as the yummy almond topping on twice-baked brioche with blueberries. And it’s a truly friendly spot. When I was there, a fellow customer called out, “You like Parmesan?” and rushed over with two bucks to the case holding long, Parmesan-crusted cheese sticks. “I’m buying her one of these,” he said. “I come all the way from Carmichael for them.” It might not have been the kind of nugget the forty-niners were looking for, but the impulse and the savory cheese stick both were golden. 6246 Pleasant Valley Road in El Dorado, (530) 295-3998.