Monday, April 20, 2015

Swan Song for the Bakery Babe...or is it? Visit my new blog at www.silverwebb.com!

It has been three and a half deliriously delicious years as the Boston Bakery Babe, and I have enjoyed every bite. Savoring Boston one cake, pie, and dainty at a time has given me a taste of the city that I will always treasure. Thank you to the 53,000 readers who have visited me here in that time. I never expected that a site which began with my love of cupcakes and cream puffs would reach so many people, but I am so pleased you visited!

Now, you may wonder, Babe, why close up shop? When I started the blog, it did not occur to me that in three and a half years I would be leaving Boston. But that is what happened. I have moved my life back to California, under palm trees and blue skies. I decided it was time to combine all of my many interests into one blog. I adore tasting and testing new food, of course. But I also write fiction, paint, and do craft projects. so, using my pen name of Silver Webb, I am pleased to present
  Le Salon Curieux de Silver Webb!




Please visit me there for further food adventures in California, paintings of fairies and mermaids, and so much more fun!


I will leave the Boston Bakery Babe site up, as a tasty trove of information about Boston, for anyone who wishes to read. But I will not be updating information on location, hours, etc. for bakeries, so please verify all of that before you set out for a visit. And let me say, Boston is so worth visiting. It is a city I truly love.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Freedom's Eve: Champagne and Cupcakes at Lincoln's Cottage in DC



I really felt blessed this New Year's, in a way that I normally do not (I have nothing against New Year's, but it is very often celebrated for a few minutes at midnight, in my jammies.) This year, my friend suggested we go to the Freedom's Eve celebration at Lincoln's Cottage, which is on the outskirts of DC.

It is kind of embarrassing to admit this, as I have plenty of college education, much of it in history, but I did not know that this "cottage" (it's actually a rather large house) is the place where Lincoln drafted the Emancipation Proclamation, a powerful document that changed the face of our nation for the better. He signed it on New Year's Day, and the evening before, a vigil was held, with many people praying for that document to be signed. That is why it's called Freedom's Eve. As I watched a stream of old photos showing what life was like before the Emancipation Proclamation, in the very house where Lincoln did something extraordinarily brave, I felt that I was partaking in honoring a very special moment in history.

Not that I was too virtuous. There was a dessert buffet. And nothing says Emancipation or Happy New Year's like champagne and cupcakes!





And so, although a little belatedly (it's already April...I'm a little behind on my posts!), I'm wishing you all Happy 2015!

Christmas 2014I

Call it my Winter Wonderland Tour! I had a wonderful Christmas in New Jersey, a state that has graciously ignored years of my smack talk and still allowed me in. I was off to a good start with Christmas Eve mass at Newark Cathedral, complete with cop cars stationed on every corner and girls walking down the aisle in stiletto heels! Fog cemented the dramatic picture. I felt like it was the beginning to a Sherlock Holmes novel!




Meanwhile, back at the Manor, my very kind hosts treated me to a Christmas feast that I will not soon forget. I ate so well and so extensively that stuffing myself back into the car to leave was an arduous task!





And, of course, how could I not visit Fifth Avenue for Christmas decorations galore! The tree at Rockefeller Center was glorious, the store windows were gleaming with Christmas sparkles...and the spirit of St. Nick kept me from getting too cranky as my toes became distinctly frosty after walking around for 5 hours!





On a more meaningful note, this was the first time I have spent Christmas at a friend's house (rather than in my own home or with family). Although my friend's family was not so keen on Christmas decorations, they went out of their way to make me feel welcome and to feed me well. There is something very touching and special about being welcomed into what is usually a family-only celebration. I have to say, New Jersey's stock is rising in my book!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Halloween Bonanza in New York City: Payard, Laduree, and Victorian Mourning clothes at the Met


Ah, New York City. Perhaps the most pastry-dense real estate in the country. As often as I've visited and gleefully sampled goodies, there are always new places to explore. On the recommendation of my good buddy (and fellow foodie), we went to Payard, a bistro-slash-patisserie with orange and brown decor that made an excellent vegetarian croque monsieur with mushrooms and Gruyere.

And a pastry case that made the Babe slightly weak in the knees.


The caramel tart was so good that I actually dipped my finger in it and foraged like a monkey to slurp up all of it's caramelly-goodness. Or, in layman's terms, I flipped my wig.



But our weekend, was far, far from over. A quick stop at Teuscher chocolates. A Halloween cupcake or two from Magnolia bakery...



And, oh yes, a visit to the patisserie Laduree...maker of arguably some of the finest macaroons in the city (well, at the very least, a solid tie with Maison du Chocolat's macaroons, my heretofore top choice). Laduree often has a long line out the door, but we lucked out on a rainy Saturday, and it was only a few moments in this charming shop before we were laden with fluffy, slightly chewy macaroons that justified the price tag.



How, you may ask, was I still walking at this point, having ingested quite a swath of edible delight? Well, for the sake of science and research, I carried on, somehow. Perhaps it was the lure of pu-pu's and martinis at Salon Ning, the rooftop lounge atop the Peninsula hotel? No drink tastes bad when looking down on the lights of Fifth Avenue!




That said, there was at least one attempt at penance. Although the usually serene and lovely St. Patrick's Cathedral is so heavily under construction that it was not quite its normal self.



And truth be told of my visit to St. Patricks, I was still dressed for Halloween...security was very nice about not tackling me in the aisles for my choice of stockings.


Last on the weekend's list of indulgences was a trip to the Met to see an exhibit of Victorian mourning clothes. Absolutely beautiful clothing, all in jet black and black-tinged mauve...an appropriately macabre display for Halloween.




So, NYC, let us say au revoir, until we feast again!

Payard: www.fpbnyc.com
Laduree: www.laduree.com
Salon Ning: http://newyork.peninsula.com/en/fine-dining/salon-de-ning-rooftop-bar

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Rosebud Diner: At last, the pie gods are sated!


The Rosebud has been rebooted! The iconic diner car restaurant of Davis Square has been reopened to much fanfare. Although presently only dishing up dinner, it will soon be serving lunch and brunch with much aplomb. But why, you may ask, would the Bakery Babe be fiddling about with an upscale gastro diner with green leather-tufted bar stools, designer lighting, and no shortage of hipster patrons?

The answer is simple. Pie.


Regular readers of the Bakery Babe will know that my summer pie quest, although diligent, did not end in a particularly satisfying way. The pie gods were not sated, and I remained unable to recommend a place in Boston for truly good pie...until now. The Rosebud's dessert menu is largely comprised of pie. And although there are some tweaks to the classics, it is more-or-less the kind of pie that you imagine would be served at Grandma's kitchen table circa 1950.


Having been invited by my foodie conspirator to have a pie tasting, I found myself hard pressed not to plant my face into billowing whipped cream and thick, honest-to-goodness chocolate pudding in the chocolate cream pie, with a crust that was soft, a little chewy, and very satisfying. I fear my face may have been speckled with chocolate in my enthusiastic devouring. But we had two more kinds to try, and I expected what you find at most restaurants and bakeries: the same crust filled with different toppings. But the Rosebud treats each of these desserts like its own little kingdom, and the crust for the apple cherry ginger pie had a sweet layer of caramelization on top that perfectly enclosed soft apples, tart cherries, and little gems of ginger. With a scoop of vanilla ice cream, I was verging quite close to sugar nirvana.


And for the unusual and alluring grapefruit caramel meringue pie, I found a crumbly, sweet cookie crust housing a grapefruity custard, topped with cloud-like pillows of meringue...that truth be told did not taste like meringue...it tasted like a mountain of marshmallows that had been toasted to glorious perfection. How they are turning a profit by charging only $6 a slice for gourmet pie, I don't know, but I hope they keep it up!


And also of note, cocktails are a specialty at the Rosebud. I can report that their mocktail Blueberry Collins is excellent.


So, Boston, you have your answer at last. If you're in the mood for a heavenly pie jag, make the trek out to Davis Square and grab a seat at the Rosebud Diner. It's well worth the trip!

www.rosebudkitchen.com

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Fenway, America the Beautiful...and veggie dogs?


Baseball mystifies me. My opinions on baseball are limited to critiquing the beards and bell-bottom pants that seem to be part of the modern baseball uniform. Am I the only one who misses those knickers that came to the knee, and clean-shaven guys looking snappy at bat? The Red Sox seem to have enough collective facial hair to weave a roof to cover Fenway.

But no matter! Suffice it to say that I did not expect my visit to Fenway to be life-changing. But I felt it was my duty as a Bostonian to at least investigate. So, with my $8 ticket, off I went to Kenmore on the Green line, into the carnival that is Yawkey Way. For those new to Fenway, Yawkey Way is a little street outside the main entrance to Fenway, wherein you will find concession stands, guys on stilts, brass bands, and stores with Red Sox goodies.



But I was saving my stomach for the concession stands inside Fenway. You see, I'd been told that the crucial things to have at Fenway are peanuts, a beer, and a dog. And since normal dogs aren't an option, I'd done a little research and found that one concession stand in the entirety of Fenway sells veggie dogs. It is hidden far off in the corner of the concession strip, almost as if it is hiding in embarrassment. And truth be told, I was expecting something that deserved shameful exile. But, I was pleasantly surprised. It was a fair sized dog, with a nice bun, and except for a slightly mushy interior, it was perfectly edible once it was loaded up with condiments.



Had I been behaving, I would have followed expert advice and eaten this with a beer and a packet of peanuts. But I was sucked in elsewhere, and ended up with onion rings (tasty), a slice of pizza (nothing special), and an 8 oz cup of soda that cost $5. The prices at Fenway are ear bleeding. I paid $26 for lunch. And another $6 for watery-tasting ice cream in a little plastic Red Sox hat.


If were I basing my experience in Fenway on gastronomics, I would have come home a slightly sulky Babe. But the minute I walked into the arena, to thousands of excited Red Sox fans, I realized why this place has such a special place in Boston's heart.




There is something about Fenway that feels old, in a good way. Sit in one of the wood seats, and it isn't too hard to imagine that it is 1912, the year Fenway opened. Add to that the sheer enthusiasm of Red Sox fans, and you have a really special experience. Even up in the worst bleacher seats, people were cheering and decked out in Red Sox hats.



On the day I went, a veteran with prosthetic limbs threw the first pitch. And when the microphone died on the policeman singing the National Anthem, the entire stadium pitched in and helped him finish the song. For those cynical about patriotism, an afternoon in Fenway will remind you of the better part of America. Sounds too corny, you say? Go to Fenway. See if you don't cry during the National Anthem. See if you don't come away feeling like you understand Boston a little better. Trust me, you will have a blast, even if you're a Yankees fan!

For those who don't want to go during a game, you can take a tour of Fenway on non-game days and learn about the history of the place.

 www.redsox.com