Gayle's Bakery & Rosticceria. A constant on lists of favorite local eateries, Gayle's turns out some of the best hot cross buns around. Arrive around 8 in the morning and you might get them fresh from the oven ($1.25 each). Closed Easter Sun. 504 Bay Ave.; www.gaylesbakery.com or 831/462-1200.
Boulangerie Bay Bread. A must is Le Nid (French for "nest"), a butter cookie topped with a thin layer of chocolate cake, gianduia mousse, chocolate shavings, and colored malted eggs ($4). Also don't miss the lemon mousse bombe ($3.50). Closed Mon. 2325 Pine St.; 415/440-0356.
Victoria Pastry Co. Hand-painted chocolate eggs filled with either small toys or candy come in a range of sizes, from 6 inches to 16 inches long ($10-$150). Order at least three weeks in advance to customize yours. Open daily, open until noon Easter Sun. 1362 Stockton St.; 415/781-2015.
Portuguese Bakery. People line up to get a loaf of the sweet, pillowy, melt-away Portuguese bread with dyed boiled eggs baked partially inside ($1.75 for a single serving, $4.75 for a larger loaf). Closed Sun. 2082 El Camino Real; www.portuguesebakery.com or 408/984-2234.
NEAR SANTA CRUZ
Aldo's Italian Bakery. Traditional Italian colomba bread is infused with almond oil and citron, then baked in the shape of a dove and dusted with powdered sugar ($12). Closed Sun. 4628 Soquel Dr., Soquel; www.aldos-cruz.com/bakery.html or 831/476-3470.