Monday, December 19, 2011

The Hi-Rise Bakery and Spotted Dick

The Hi-Rise bakery used to be tucked away in a colonial yellow house on Brattle Street, a wellknown secret among the Cambridge crew, it's charm in the winter was to cram into their
small counter space, pick out a wondrous dainty or two and then abscond with it up the old, wood staircase, into their upstairs parlor. These days, they're housed in a modern sort of bakery on Mass Ave. that has all the charm of a doctor's waiting room. While I'm trying to forgive them for this bombastic insult to the once darling ambience of the cafe, I have to admit I haven't spent much time in their new spot. 

But the one thing that I can't criticize about the Hi-Rise is their heavenly pastries, the most loved of which has to be their blueberry lime bread. It is, for my purposes, an especially tall muffin/scone, with a gorgeously light crumb, bursting with blueberries, and that hint of lime that the California girl in me goes nutty for. It is no exaggeration to say that I moved back to Boston for this blueberry lime cake, for it really ranks as one of my top ten favorite baked treats of all time.

It's hard to explain how it starts off as a muffin, veers a bit into a cake, and then ends with a waxy, sugar laden top that defies category. Equally mystifying is how they got such a beauteous lime flavor without any visible zest in the cake. But some mysteries I am content to let be. With my plentiful triangle of high-grade butter in hand, I downed the blueberry-lime bread in one blissful go.

But be warned. And this may come as a shock to those of you not from the East Coast. If you visit during the winter, they won't be offering the blueberry lime cake. And like me, you might have a moment of outrage, and demand to know why they're missing. Well, the Hi-Rise uses fresh blueberries, kids. Which means they're seasonal. So savor them whilst you may!

But take comfort, Bostonians, in knowing that during winter, one British treat is readily available to all within distance of Shaw's Market. For a tenner, you might feast on this pudding classic. Ambrosia pudding poured over Spotted Dick.

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