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Flavors! Changes! Pictures of Marmosets!
^^^to break up the bakery-related monotony, of course. Plus, AWWWWW!
We’ve been doing a bit of experimenting this past month with our production schedules. When we opened the retail-store part of our new Bay Ridge commissary, we went about with business as usual- new flavors, new items, every single week. Those of you who have known us over the past six years loved this- loved our sense of adventure, loved trying new things. After all, this was no different than eating at a seasonal restaurant,
People in Bay Ridge, though? They HATE it.
We’re using this shop as a prototype for bigger things — which can be fun sometimes, but also maddening/confusing/occasionally itchy. This past month, we’ve tried running with the same flavors over and over for a few weeks.to see how that goes. And it has gone kinda ok. Some people seem to like the consistency, particularly when it comes to ordering for delivery weeks in advance. Some people don’t really like it, but by keeping the rotation the same, it’s forcing them to get out of their comfort zone and try flavors they’d previously ignored for their favorites. There’s people who like the idea, but don’t like the fact that it now may be months before their favorites return rather than weeks. And then there’s the people who just hate the whole thing.
We’re learning. We’re always learning, even after six years. We learn about what you like, how you like it, and how we can work to make you happy. We learn that apparently in New York, you’re not allowed to have monkeys as pets, so we may have to open a bakery in Rhode Island one day if I’m serious about getting a pygmy marmoset.
WHICH I TOTALLY AM.
This week, we’re going to be doing a little “come down” from Easter/Passover. There was a lost of stuff we made over the past few weeks people couldn’t eat because of Lent or other religious obligations, so we want you to have a chance to try the Carrot Custard Cream Pie or the once-a-year “Pizza Grana”. Likewise, we’re going to be phasing in a few more things, as we get ready to debut a schedule we think might make everyone happy.
Beginning next week, there will be four cupcakes that will be available all the time. No matter what. Barring a sell-out, you will be able to come to our shop, or place an order for delivery, and be guaranteed one of these cupcakes. They are:
Plain Ol’ Vanilla
The Ebinger: Chocolate cake, chocolate custard buttercream, chocolate fudge, chocolate cake crumbs
Tres Leches: Three milk soaked brown butter cake, dulce de leche buttercream, caramel shards
The Elvis: Banana cake, peanut butter buttercream, candied bacon
I know you’ll all be happy to see these every single day.
Next up, there will be four “Flavors of the Month”. Again, you can place orders weeks in advance and know at least eight flavors that will be on the menu. These flavors will include many of your old favorites like Root Beer Float, Pecan Potato Chip, Banana Nutella, and many more.
Then, on any given day, we’ll have 2 to 4 “wild card flavors”. I hesitate to call this the weekly flavors, because with peak produce season coming up, and with the rate we’re R&Ding new items in out kitchen, testing things out, I have no idea what sort of wackiness will ensue. Some of these will be new items, some will be old favorites, some will be flavors that get requested enough that we buckle and bring them back.
S’aright, pygmy marmoset? S’aright.
For the rest of this week, look to the flavors that were posted for Easter a little bit of the ways down the page. As always, keep up with what we’re doing on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, which will give you full access to any last minute specials, experiments, or whatever we’re doing. We’ll be back here on Friday with our menu for this weekend’s LIC Flea, and any other exciting developments that arise.
This Week’s Menu, and Paying it Forward
Today marks our two week anniversary, and already we’ve been hit with more surprises than I can count. We didn’t think that we’d be this busy, what with building a commisary/shop on the least trendy part of the least trendy commercial strip in not-trendy-and-proud of it Bay Ridge. Yet every day, we’ve gotten a steady stream of mechanics from one of the nearby service centers who have become obsessed with Stumptown coffee and our cookies, stroller-pushing parents looking for something to reward themselves with for surviving the holidays, tourists from Long Island, New Jersey and beyond who have been driving in just to see us. Really, we can’t believe anyone would drive over an hour just to grab a box of cupcakes, but you guys are hardcore out there and we love you for it. (and if you’re driving from far away and are going to make the trip for Christmas dessert, PLEASE don’t forget to preorder, because it would kill me if you came all this way just to get shut out of what you wanted.)
We’ve also been surprised that our book was named one of the ten must read cookbooks of 2013 by The Huffington Post. Some other sites, like First We Feast, gave us that honor as well, but sites like First We Feast are run by the cool boys from college who go out partying every night, who Instagram all the awesome dinners at hotspots they go with with their equally awesome friends, who exist out on the fringes of the mainstream. The Huffington Post, on the other hand is pretty much the official news dealie for all of freaking America. ALL OF FREAKING ‘MURICA.
In many ways we’re still shocked that the book is a real tangible thing, out there on bookshelves across the world, being purchased and read by people we didn’t personally beg to do so. We didn’t set out to write the best cookbook of the year — funniest cookbook ever, yes, but best? That’s supposed to be for people like Daniel Boulud and Michael Anthony.
I have no idea how he got to be the chef at Gramercy Tavern, either. Maybe they were impressed by this?
So to everyone who thusfar has bought the book, championed it to their friends, and purchased as a holiday present to keep spreading our buttercream and the story of that time I was asked to leave the Staten Island Mall by a 15 year old boy in an elf costume — THANK YOU. If you haven’t bought our book yet, you can grab one from Amazon, a local bookstore, or come visit our shop at 9009 5th Ave in Brooklyn and Matt and I will sign one for you! We’ll write whatever personal sentiment to your loved one you’d like for this holiday, or draw pretty much anything you feel is appropriate for your friends (read: lots of penises).
As big as those last two things are, the biggest surprise of all happened the past Saturday.
I didn’t see any of this happen — I was busy baking — but a woman who didn’t leave her name came in to buy a few things for herself. When she was done, she said that in memory of Sandy Hook, someone she never met did a random act of kindness for her. Then she handed our weekend manager some money and said “Every time a child comes in today, take the price out of this until it’s all gone”.
How nice is that? Dozens of children got to have cupcakes, cookies, pies and more this weekend, completely for free.
In conjunction with the Verrazano Rotary Club and Bay Ridge Cares, we’ve been collecting unwrapped toys for children in Coney Island who are still affected by the damage of Superstorm Sandy, and for patients at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center. Matt and I will be taking the same cash amount that woman dropped to us out of our own pockets, and heading to some of the shops close to us to buy toys for these kids. While normally we encourage you to shop small (personally we’re huge fans of Kaleidoscope here in Bay Ridge), this time we encourage you to attempt to get as much bang for your buck as possible — the more toys we can collect, the more children we can make happy. Within 4 blocks of our shop are some great discount stores where you can stock up:
- Century 21 Home Store: 87th Street between 4th & 5th Avenue
- DII: corner of 87th Street & 4th Avenue
- Donna World: 86th Street off 5th Avenue
- TJ Maxx: corner of 86th Street & 5th Avenue
We encourage all of you — go to one of these shops, see how much twenty or thirty bucks will get you, and come drop off that sack of toys with us. To show our appreciation, we’ll give you your choice of a cup of coffee or a cookie, completely on the house.
While you’re dropping off toys? Pick up one of the many delicious things on this week’s menu. Note that the shops we wholesale to will also be getting items from this list, so if there’s things you’d like to see them stock, ask them!
Eggnog: Eggnog cake & buttercream, nutmeg
Hansel: Gingerbread cake, white chocolate pudding, speculoos buttercream, white chocolate dipped gingerbread cookie
Elvis: Banana cake, peanut butter buttercream, candied bacon
Hot Buttered Rum: Rum spiked butterscotch soaked cake, hot buttered rum buttercream and drizzle
Port Poached Pear: Pear cake, vanilla buttercream, port poached pear slice
Chocolate Candy Cane: Mint chocolate chip cake, mint buttercream, crushed candy canes
Coquito: Coconut rum soaked cake, coconut buttercream, toasted sweetened coconut with lime zest
ON SPECIAL (limited availability rotating throughout the week)
Riskreme: Cardamom cake, Norwegian rice pudding buttercream, candied roasted almonds
Creme Brulee: Vanilla cake, vanilla custard buttercream, caramelized sugar
Fruitcake: Rum & brandy soaked fruitcake, vanilla buttercream, candied kumquats, dried fruit, pomegranate seeds
- Classic Sea Salt
- Chocolate Orange
- Nocello — made with Italian walnut liqueur and roasted walnuts
Whoopie Pies & Cookie Sandwiches
- Classic Vanilla Marshmallow Whoopie Pies
- Eggnog Whoopie Pies
- Car Bomb Whoopie Pies - filled with Bailey’s buttercream and Jameson ganache
- Cookie Whoopies - chocolate chip cookies filled with Nutella and marshmallow
- Christmas Smores - homemade gingerbread cookies, ginger ganache, toasted homemade eggnog marshmallow
- Chocolate Chip Cookies
- New Jersey Cookies - sweet corn & fresh blueberries
- Coconut Cream Macaroons - gluten free
- Gingerbread Men
- Pistachio Cannoli Cookies - orange zest
- Dark Chocolate Almond - brown butter, sea salt
Breakfast & Tea Cakes
- Banana Bars - banana chocolate chip streusel, salted caramel
- Cinnamon Bun Gooey Coffee Cake - cream cheese icing
- Gingerbread Loaves - with or without fresh cranberries
- Brown Sugar Sour Cream Mini Bundt Cakes
Pies by the Slice (rotating availability)
- Sweet Potato Pie - honey whiskey butterscotch
- Cranberry Meringue - housemade fresh cranberry curd
- Chocolate Cream - dark chocolate budino, mascarpone chantilly, chopped Belgian chocolate
- Creme Brulee - almond flour crust (gluten free)
- Individual Meyer Lemon Tartlets - port wine simmered bing cherries
For whole pie orders, please give us 24 hours notice
Cakes by the Slice (rotating availability)
- Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake - praline crust, gluten free
- Cranberry Cheesecake - fresh cranberry orange compote
- Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake- lemon wild Maine blueberry compote
- Sticky Toffee Pudding - brandied toffee sauce
- Milk & Cookies Layer Cake - brown sugar chocolate chip cake, mascarpone buttercream, crushed homemade chocolate chip cookies, ganache
- S’Mores Layer Cake - chocolate cake, speculoos pudding, toasted marshmallow buttercream, ganache, graham cracker crumbs
- Chocolate Chestnut Cake - chocolate cake, chestnut mousse, chocolate chestnut buttercream, ganache, marrons glace
For whole cake orders, please give us 24 hours notice
Note that availability of these items is not guaranteed, and special off-menu items appear pretty frequently. Best way to keep up with what’s going on is by following us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Today at The Brooklyn Local
With the announcement of this new “Hipster Bar”, my native neighborhood in Brooklyn- Bay Ridge- has taken a little bit of a beating in the press this week. There’s been articles on Eater, Brooklyn Paper, and Gothamist with lots of comical screaming in the comments. My personal favorite was the guy who moved here from somewhere else proclaiming that people from Bay Ridge were “townies”. Adorable!
I’m fully aware that Bay Ridge may not be held in the highest regard across the city. We’re not trendy, and we like it that way. We sure as hell ain’t perfect, or really anything close to perfect- but this is still my home. I grew up here, my parents grew up here, my grandparents grew up here, and if anyone gets to talk smack about this neighborhood, it’s US- not silly people on the internet.
The plus side to not being trendy is that we have lots of great secrets we get to keep all to ourselves. We still have the old neighborhood charm that’s been destroyed in most of New York City, plenty lots of diversity and people holding strong to their ethnic roots (Irish, Italian, Polish, Russian, Chinese, Greek, Scandinavian, Lebanese, Yemeni, Syrian, Mexican- I can go on). This is the Brooklyn Matt and I grew up in, and the one we’ll raise our kids in until we eventually get COMPLETELY priced out of here.
We’ve very honored to have been asked to participate in tomorrow’s Brooklyn Local- a sampling of the best of the best of the borough. I’m always proud to, in any way, be an ambassador from Bay Ridge. We always do super-special, limited edition things for this event, but this year, we’ve decided to make it extra special and personal by bringing not only Robicelli’s best, but by making things we think that represent our neighborhood. You may think Bay Ridge is nothing but old man bars, union types and tough guys- but we are so much more than just that.
Our first stop is Nordic Delicacies at 3rd and Bay Ridge Avenues. My mother’s parents came from Norway during World War II to escape the Nazis- they, like many of our ancestors in Bay Ridge, had been part of the resistance effort. Once the waterfront closed up, most of the Scandinavians moved on, and in a neighborhood that once had hundreds of stores just like this, Nordic Delicacies is the last man standing. They make excellent comfort foods like Lapskaus (beef stew), Norwegian waffles (better than Belgian), and my favorite- crunchy, paper thin cookies rolled into cones called “Krumkake”
Our first specialty cupcake tomorrow is exactly that:
Krumkake: Cardamom scented cake filled with lingdonberry jam, bavarian buttercream, crushed krumkake from Nordic Delicacies, and whole berry lingdonberry compote
Next stop: D. Coluccio and Sons! Technically not in Bay Ridge proper as it’s on 60th Street and 12th Avenue, but all the Coluccio’s live in Bay Ridge, and this is where I’ve gone shopping with my mother and grandmother since I was a girl. You need tomatoes, oil, cheese, whatever- you come here.
Matt and I went on Wednesday to scour the aisles for new products we haven’t played with before, which has led to two brand new items for tomorrow:
Saffron and orange honey cake, Sicilian orange saffron buttercream, saffron and honey caramel shards
Dark Chocolate Whoopie Pies filled with Sicilian Pistachio Crema buttercream and Roasted Pistachios
The last great Bay Ridge institution I want to introduce you all to is Balady Halal Food Market on 70th Street and 5th Avenue. This part of the neighborhood has become predominantly Middle Eastern, with some nicknaming the district “Bay-rut”. Here you’ll find hookah lounges, incredible restaurants (Bab Al-Yemen, Hazaar), and this market, which despite it’s small appearance is a absolutely foodie wonderland once you step through it’s doors. I’d travel an hour to shop here. It’s hands down one of the reasons I feel so lucky to live in this neighborhood.
I could make hundreds of cakes based on the things I find at Balady Market, but today we’re only making one:
Banana cake, tahini buttercream, fried Lebanese pastry dough, toasted sesame seeds and honey drizzle
Within walking distance from Bay Ridge is 8th Avenue, also known as “Little Hong Kong”. We have lots of Asian groceries in the area selling products from China, Vietnam, and more, such as this:
Thai tea powder (steeping in milk). Our last featured cupcake tomorrow is Thai iced tea soaked cake, sweet buttercream, sweet thai tea and milk drizzle.
See, Bay Ridge is so much more than our beer-swilling, tough-talking reputation! Though not like we wouldn’t represent that side of us, too…..
Behold, our GUINNESS STOUT AND PRETZEL BROWNIES! We haven’t made this one since fall of 2009- and if Bay Ridge had an official flavor, I don’t think anyone would doubt it was Guinness.
Come find us tomorrow in DUMBO, and make a date to come explore Bay Ridge sometime- maybe when our hipster bar opens! We look forward to greeting all of you with your ironic mom jeans and old-timey bikes!
Only a few hours left for Vendy nominations- if you haven’t nominated someone deserving, now is the time! And if you need a suggestion, well what do you know- I have one!
Pictured is, in my estimation, the absolute best Halal cart in New York City. Mind you, this is coming from a person who has lived here all her life, and has eaten more than her share of street meat. Sammy K’s cart serves something that’s so delicious, it’s worth waiting on the perpetual lines in the rain, the heat, the snow, or whatever else nature throws at you. Last week during the freak hailstorm we had, I actually left my house specifically just to run over and get a lamb over rice figuring there’d be no line. And wouldn’t you know it, there still was. And I waited anyway.
Sammy was the center of a local controversy this year when a bunch local merchants who were completely uninformed about the NYC food permitting system tried to have him shut down, claiming he was poaching business. There were a ton of things they didn’t take into account (permit resale costs, commissary rent, food cart storage costs etc), none more than believing the neighborhood loves him solely because of his low prices. Sammy could charge $20 for his lamb platter and I’d still pay it. It’s better than just about every entree I’ve had at any restaurant, in Bay Ridge and beyond. (and for all the people whose main argument against the cart is that they don’t wash their hands- I’m working on my book at the Starbucks around the corner from them, and yes, they all come in several times during the day to wash up)
Use the following info to place your vote for Sammy K- and come down to Bay Ridge some day and get yourself a lamb over rice and salad with white and hot sauces, then maybe spend a few hours exploring and checking out some of our other small businesses. If you need suggestions, hit me up on Twitter. Trust me, it’s not a bad place to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Vendor Name: Sammy K
Vendor Location: 86th Street & 5th Avenue
Type of Food Sold: Middle Eastern Halal