In a candid and emotional blog on eGullet that generated more than 300 postings, pastry chef Melissa McKinney chronicled the 2004 opening of Criollo, her bakery in Portland, Oregon. From the $14,000 lost on a bum refrigerator deal to the lines out the door on Christmas Eve, McKinney detailed each high and low. Today Criollo is a hit, thanks to desserts like these buttery shortbread bars with sweet-tart raspberry jam.

Criollo Bakery, 4727 N.E. Fremont St., Portland, OR; 503-335-9331.