You know I’m busy when I forget the Tumblr because I was supposed to be working but there was a Golden Girls marathon on television and I got sucked into watching it working so hard that I passed out early on the couch.
In consolation, I bring you this. You all know it, and probably haven’t thought about it for a while, but seeing this is going to make your damn Monday. That and some sweet Robicelli’s baked goods of course, available at a very smart, quality minded, and exceptionally good looking retailer near you.
It’s a DOUBLE holiday weekend! We have Derby day tomorrow, which I really know nothing about as I’m not from Kentucky or do I understand horseracing. I DO understand drinking though, so that’s what we’re going on!
It’s time for our once-a-year super-limited-edition-so-make-sure-you-snag-one Mint Julep cupcake. Each cake is made with muddled mint, real Kentucky bourbon, and garnished with a hand candied fresh mint leaf. I personally first developed this recipe many years ago when we were a young company and we’d only make a few dozen cupcakes a week. Now, many years and much success later, we have to candy many many more mint leafs, which is precisely why Matt spent last night cursing me out.
Whatever — it’s pretty!
Then Sunday we have Cinco de Mayo, aka “Day We Get Drunk for Something Something Mexico…..Who the F*** Knows”. and what goes better with daydrinking than cupcakes? I’ll tell you what- cupcakes AND nachos!
This, my friends, is the brand spanking new book Ultimate Nachos written by Nachos NY co-founder (and Robicelli’s Chef de Cuisine) Rachel Anderson. Have you ever been at a restaurant and thought “I really want nachos, but there are so many other awesome things on this menu that I also love and want to eat til I’m sick!”. Well Rachel has TOTALLY changed the entire game and made all your filthy eating dreams come true. Alongside recipes for healthy salsas and guacs (boo healthy!), there’s recipes for:
-Philly Cheesesteak Nachos
-Buffalo Chicken Nachos
-Fried Calamari Nachos
-Black and Blue Burger Nachos
Know what this is called, kids? MULTITASKING. You buy this book, you feel more productive. You make 10 different types of nachos, your friends come over and drop dead from being shocked with awesome, and you get to drink all their Coronas. You are now the emperor of Cinco de Mayo.
To celebrate this momentous occasion, this professional website/blog is hosting it’s first ever (possibly only) GIVEAWAY! And since Rachel works for us, we were able to secure two books by simply threatening to withhold her paycheck. Here’s how to win a copy:
Option 1: Hit us up on Twitter and tell us why I should give you a book, followed by the tag #UltimateNachos. Make me laugh, Send pics. Whomever amuses me the most gets a copy.
Option 2: Send me a photo of you with some nachos over on Instagram, again with the hashtag #UltimateNachos. Please no porn. I hate that I have to say that, but it’s happened before, and it’s pretty weird for us. I really wish I was joking about this part.
We’ll pick a winner sometime next week, so if you can’t wait to expand your nacho horizons you probably should just head on over to Amazon and buy it. You can preorder another book while you’re over there, if you’re in a book buying mood.
Now it’s time for you to go out and grab our Derby cupcake, Mint Julep, or our Cinco de Mayo cupcakes, Tres Leches and Abuelita, or Banana Cashew, which isn’t affiliated with any holiday but I didn’t want it feeling left out so I still included it in this sentence! Enjoy the weekend, everybody!
Mint Julep: Mint bourbon cake, vanilla buttercream, hand candied mint leaf
Googa Mooga is ALL SOLD OUT. Lobster Roll Rumble is ALL SOLD OUT. But there are still a few tickets available for next weeks Tasting Brooklyn, AND we’re going to have another big event announcement soon!
And it may involve this picture. 30% chance it’s Matt dressed as Cher.
In the meantime you can still only find us through the shops we wholesale to, private delivery in NYC (including event catering!), or via mailorder- Matt and I have decided not to do any weekly markets this year so we can actually see our kids on their days off. The entity and popular internet search result known as the DeKalb Market was demolished last year- and by demolished, I don’t mean “relocated” or “not open for the season just yet” or “on hiatus”. I mean big construction machines were brought onsite, everything was smashed to bits, the land was ripped up and a huge skyscraper with a Century 21 and perhaps a Jamba Juice is being put in it’s place. So PLEASE stop telling us “you haven’t been down there but have been meaning to go”, or worse yet calling us to tell us that you’re at the address but you can’t find anything but a giant hole in the ground. It’s impossible to delete DeKalb from the recesses of the internet, and Matt and I feel horrible with every single phone call we answer that involves a bunch of lost tourists or people who have traveled for over an hour on the subway just to find a big, dark hole in the ground. It’s gone forever. Don’t go there.
Will we ever have a storefront again? I can’t even think about that question right now because the only thing I can think of is blowing up buildings so they can be replaced by Jamba Juices. And what could possibly be better than blowing sh*t up? Why, blowing sh*t up to the strains of a smooth EZ listening instrumental featuring ample amount of pan flute solos, that’s what!
I’m not going to say that I’m SURE videos like this are the reason the internet was invented, but I will say that it’s highly probable. It’s still between that and this:
I really need a playlist of YouTube soundtracks. Someone get on that.
We’ve got cupcakes heading to stores today (of course), but we’ve got some BRAND SPANKING NEW BAKED GOODS in our online shop right this very second! Well, they’re not exactly NEW per se, but you haven’t seen them since last March, so there’s a good chance you forgot they existed. So “brand spanking new to you baked goods” then!
First up is……
PASSOVER SEA SALT BROWNIES! We made these last year to sell at our now-bulldozed shop at DeKalb Market (RIP 2011-2012), and the entire lot which was meant for a few days sold out in two hours. They are that delicious.
Our Passover brownies are made without flour or leavening, using all Kosher ingredients and Made-In-NYC Streit’s Matzoh Meal. Since we’re not in a certified kashrut facility nor are we under Rabbinical supervision, these brownies are unfortunately not kosher. However if you don’t keep a kosher household, they’re as kosher as anything you’d make yourself. Matt and I also have professional experience working in kashrut kitchens, meaning we inspect our eggs, bake in disposable certified pans, etc.
You can order them through our online store, and we’re going to be sending them to retail shops that want them! (And if you happen to be a retail shop we’re not working with but YOU want them, check out our wholesale page)
MATT’S FAMOUS IRISH SODA BREAD! And no, your eyes are not deceiving you- those are raisins in there. We all know by now how much I despise raisins with every fiber of my being and think they should fed only to prisoners and very bad children, but they’re kinda traditional in this instance and we can’t fight the man. But we can fight against raisins’ suckitude by using the golden variety (which for some reason I don’t think are evil- if you’ve read this blog for any period of time you know that logic isn’t my strong suit). And to fix them further, we rehydrate the raisins so they’re more like their former selves as grapes. We also decided that reconstituting them in water would be boring, so instead we use Drambuie, aka “Scotch whiskey blended with honey”. BOOM! CHECK OUT THOSE SKILLS, RAISINS!
If you want these shipped in time for St. Patrick’s Day, you’ll need to order them by 8am Tuesday morning. They’ll also be turning up at select locations, like Queen City Cupcakes in Patchogue and ALC in Bay Ridge. They’re wonderful sliced up and stored in the freezer, then toasted for a quick breakfast or accompaniment to a cuppa tea, or you can just eat an entire loaf whole to help stave off alcohol poisoning. After all, that’s what carbs are for.
And finally- today’s cupcakes! You’ve got to venture out of the house to grab these, because we don’t ship them. But I just checked the Weather Channel and there’s no sort of snow/rain/fog/pollenpocolypse scheduled for today, so you should all be safe.
The Bluth: Chocolate banana cake, chocolate buttercream, ganache, roasted walnuts
Tres Leches: Three milk soaked brown butter cake, dulce de leche buttercream, caramel shards
It’s a brand new month, which means…….IT’S FANY FEBRUARY!
Maybe you don’t know what Fany February is- particularly since I made it up. But it’s super awesome! Promise!
Many of you here in NYC know Fany Gerson as the owner of La Newyorkina, maker of the best paletas (aka Mexican ice pops) on earth. Some of you around the country as the author of My Sweet Mexico, one of the greatest cookbooks ever written. Matt and I know her as a good friend, and one of the most wonderful, generous people we have ever known.
We used to share a kitchen with Fany, but last year she moved to Red Hook. And when Sandy came, it destroyed everything in her kitchen. She has two of these gigantic machines that allow her to make and freeze the paletas- without them, she’s only be able to prepare a small amount of product every day (that is, if Sandy hadn’t also destroyed her freezers). Each of those machines cost over $20,000. They also come from Argentina, so the freight costs are significant. Both machines were completely submerged by saltwater and were irreparably destroyed.
Fany ran a successful Kickstarter and has been working her ass off to get her company back to where it was, but to be honest, she’s just trying to get back up and running. As someone who’s been her friend for years, this girl has put EVERYTHING into La Newyorkina- blood, sweat, tears, lost sleep (LOTS of lost sleep)- and there is no reason she needs to be finding ways to just squeak by by the skin of her teeth because the insurers are finding creative ways to deny her claims, no reason why she should be sitting home with her fingers crossed that her FEMA loans will be approved and she’ll be able to get back to business as usual.
And hopefully, she won’t have a reason. Because Fany has a lot of friends who love her very, very much.
Starting today and continuing til the end of the month, we are donating a chunk of the profits of our Fany brownie directly to the lovely Ms. Gerson (and yes, this brownie was named after her). It’s our dark chocolate brownie base spiked with Mexican cinnamon, swirled with sweet sexy cajeta. You can order them online in both 4 and 12 packs- get some for yourself to store in the freezer for any time you need a quick hit of chocolate, or send some to someone you love for Valentine’s Day or Lincoln’s Birthday.
And that’s not all! It wouldn’t be warranted for us to declare this Fany February if it was just little old us- LOTS of her friends are pitching in to help our girl out! Here’s who’s signed on so far:
Whimsy & Spice: Portion of the profits from their whisky cookie (Fany’s favorite)
Danny Macaroons: Special dulce de leche macaroon available at select locations
Liddabit Sweets: Portion of all profits from items sold at the Brooklyn Flea
Butter & Scotch: Portion of profits from Mexican Chocolate at Brooklyn Flea
Brooklyn Cured: Portion of profits from the Park Slope Farmer’s Market
We’ll be adding more friends as people return my emails- if you’d also like to be a part of Fany February, shoot me an email at allison at robicellis.com and I’ll add you to the master list up top! And I’ll make sure everyone on Twitter knows about it!
And now off brownies, and onto the cupcakes that are in today’s rotation. They’re plenty delicious, too. You should eat them AND order brownies, because why the hell not? It’s Friday, right?
Tres Leches: Three milk soaked brown butter cake, dulce de leche buttercream, caramel shards
Well, the holidays are over, we are back in “ordinary time”, and our cookbook is due into Penguin/Viking Studio in 11 days! NOT STRESSED OUT! EVERYTHING’S FINE!
I have never been this crazy in January in my life. This is supposed to be the “holiday season for the service industry”, the four weeks where business is glacially slow, where we get to see friends, take day trips, and calm our asses down just a tad. And we are scaling it back in the kitchen a bit- until Valentine’s Day, we’re cancelling Wednesday cupcake deliveries, and will only be sending them to stores Monday and Fridays (this doesn’t apply to Queen City Cupcakes out in Patchogue, who gets their own schedule because they’re special). This is also because we’ve gotten so busy with brownies, whoopie pies, loaf cakes and hot cocoa we need a lot more time to produce them, so our online store remains completely and totally open.
Also because I’m pretty sure the book is trying to kill me. Seriously. My vision is blurry from doing so many fractions and I got a really nasty papercut today. If anything happens to me, the book did it. It’s also being released on October 17th, so mark your calendars!
To get yourself excited for it, go have some of these cupcakes today- they’re all in the book!
Clockwise from front: Carrot, Tres Leches, Banana Cream Pie, Turtle
Tres Leches: Three milk soaked brown butter cake, dulce de leche buttercream, caramel shards
Tumblr is brief today because I’m setting up a kitchen down in Bay Ridge to feel people in lesser-known areas affected by Hurricane Sandy. Can’t get much into it because I am literally dealing with hundreds of emails each day, and feel like I’m not actually getting anything done because I spend all my time reading emails.
Going to get there, though! No way I’m letting people go hungry on my watch. Then as soon as I get myself organized, I’m going to get the Thanksgiving ordering up so that you guys won’t be without dessert in two weeks! Super duper promise!
In the interim- don’t go hungry right now! Go eat these! Note that our planned rotation went out the window this week because our suppliers are also clawing their way out of the Sandy fiasco, so we’re doing what we can with what we have. Fortunately, when that happens we’re still amazing.
Plus we’re lucky we’ve still got access to things like chocolate and pecans, and not things like crab juice and rocks. I mean, we’re good, but not that good.
Clockwise from front: Sweet Potato Pie, Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake, Turtle, Tres Leches
We’re still hurting pretty bad- we’ve lost a week of receipts, and many of our stores remain shuttered (Red Hook Lobster Pound, Battery Market). But the most important thing for us was to take the first step, get back in the kitchen and start baking again- now that it’s happened we’ll figure out how to bounce back. We can start accommodating orders for our online store again! And Wednesday we’ll start taking orders for Thanksgiving and Christmas! And later this week we can finally start distributing our packaged hot cocoa mix to stores! Keep moving forward!
Tomorrow I’ll be posting more info about our relief efforts regarding Superstorm Sandy- how we’re trying to get help to neighborhoods that really need it while the Red Cross etc sets up. We’ll get you all information on where to volunteer, where to send money, what supplies we need, where they need to go. There’s a lot to be done, and we’ll need help from people all over the world to do it.
On behalf of all New Yorkers, I cannot accurately express what your support has meant to us over this past week. We know we have a long road ahead, but knowing the world is behind us gives us faith that we’re going to come through.
Next post we get back to laughing, inappropriate tangents, and pictures of Richard Nixon-eggplants and baby otters. It’s been really hard to find things to smile about this week, but we’re going to do it.
Keep moving forward.
Clockwise from front: Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake, Tres Leches, Bourbon Caramel Apple, Sweet Potato Casserole
Not even going to lie: had a really cool idea for the Tumblr last night, came home, sat down, flicked on the tv last night for some background noise, and “The Departed” was JUST starting at literally that very second.
So, you know, I had to watch it. Meaning I didn’t write anything last night, and I totally didn’t wake up early today to do it either.
I’m standing by my decision though. That movie is worth it. Also worth it? Heading to the store and picking up one of these:
Clockwise from front: Chocolate Cheerwine, Southern Belle, Pumpkin Caramel, Tres Leches
It’s Wednesday, meaning it’s time to start thinking about your weekend plans. Since fall is upon us and we’re full-on into “food event season”, Matt and I have pretty much made all your weekend plans for you for the next few weeks (we are so considerate!). And this weekends event is not only awesome and insanely delicious, it’s for a VERY good cause.
It’s once again time for The Brooklyn Local benefiting City Harvest! If you didn’t make it last year, it’s another flash artisan market but on steroids- with the best restaurants, food shops and producers (ahem) in and around Brooklyn represented. Think bites from incredible restaurants, booze from the hottest bars, kids activities all day such as face painting and cupcake decorating (ahem ahem), predicted 78 degree partly cloudy weather with a gentle breeze, AND the best view in all of NYC….
Suck on THAT, Hoboken!!!
Even with all the oodles and oodles of sexy, gooey artisinal goodness (and really, who want any part of sexy gooey goodness thats NOT artisinal), and disregarding the fact that this is to benefit City Harvest (one of NYC’s best charities), we worry that some jaded folks out there will be tempted to skip this as it is yet another food market (there’s officially 6,500 this year). So we’re going to do the only thing we can do to change your minds and melt the ice that’s accumulated around your cold icy hearts- we’re going to BRING IT.
What is this “it” we speak of? Well, we don’t know yet. See, Matt and I spend all year collecting interesting ingredients we’ve never played with before and making lists of new things we want to try. Every so often, we take out this “ingredient fun box” if you will, play around and come up with stuff that’s totally amazing but, if you will, slightly unorthodox as baked goods go. Last year we made this guy:
A fresh fig cake with goat cheese buttercream, crisp prosciutto and fig-balsamic gastrique. There was also a kettlecorn cupcake made with New Jersey sweet corn, and a Baklava cupcake made with 10,000 different ingredients. We sold these only at this event, and they haven’t been back since.
This year? We still don’t know yet. What we do know is there’s a LOT of cool stuff in our Ingredient Fun Box, and we won’t know where exactly it’s going to take us til late Friday night. But I absolutely guarantee that if you love sweets AND charity, you’re going to want to be there this Saturday. Buy your tickets now, and we’ll see you there!
Just because we’re getting stoked about Saturday doesn’t mean that today’s flavors aren’t excited. This is the final appearance of the L’Shanah Tovah til next September, AND after a year long absence, CHOCOLATE CHEERWINE has come out of the vault! Heynow!
Clockwise from front: Pecan French Toast, L’Shanah Tovah, Chocolate Cheerwine, Tres Leches
We have a new website theme! Why? Because I’ve always hated the old one and just never got around to changing it. We’ve been talking about “our new website design” in theory for ages now- every time it nears the top of the To-Do list a new project comes up and knocks it down a few notches. Currently I’m elbows deep in a few other things and realized I should stop fooling myself about getting it done anytime soon, so I just picked something from Tumblr’s selection and then fell asleep. However, now the “hidden” jokes I leave in the tags are in bold and on top of the post- so you’re going to have to ignore them, read the whole post, then scroll up again for them to make sense. I’m sure that will work for you guys.
Not let’s forget about all that ultra-riveting crap and get straight to this past weekend, and the epicness of Meatopia:
You probably want me to talk about meat, but I want to talk about the fact that I spent 30 minutes making my hair look freaking awesome and it lasted about 10 minutes in the elements. Pictured above is what my hair looked like after the first pass…..
…..THEN THESE STUPID JERKFACE ELEMENTS HAPPENED!!! And by the time came at the end of the night for us to start passing around 2,000 sea salt brownies, I looked like this:
I’m thinking that might be why when I’d ask people “Would you care for a Robicelli’s Sea Salt Brownie?”, 90% of people asked me “Are these ‘special’ brownies?”. And if you think that figure is pure hyperbole, I will assure you it’s not. Ninety-freaking-percent. This happens at EVERY SINGLE EVENT WE DO. Because, you know, it would be a very smart business decision for me to be lacing my product with drugs.
For the last time, America, no, there are no drugs in our brownies. In fact, I’m pretty sure that there are no drugs in ANY commercially made brownies- not Entemann’s, not Little Debbie, not anyone. Sorry to disappoint you.
As for Meatopia? Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream was as good as everyone has said, and Jeni herself is incredible (there’s pictures of us up on Facebook). April Bloomfield and Alex Guarnachelli are total sweethearts in person. And the best thing we ate…
….were these spit-roasted beef short ribs with castelvetrano olives, celery walnuts and horseradish, prepared by Justin Smillie of NYC’s own Il Buco Alimentari. These alone with worth the price of the ticket (though getting to eat that insanely delicious hog collar prepared by LA’s Kris Yenbamroong made the event EXTRA awesome).
Jealous you couldn’t make it? Well check out all the OTHER events we’re doing this fall, like The Brooklyn Local, The Botanic Gardens’ Chile Pepper Fiesta, Food & Wine’s SWEET, and more. We always try to bring something extra special to each one. Not that these normal rotation cupcakes aren’t special- we love them just as much, and are pretty sure you will, too.
Clockwise from front: Pecan Potato Chip, Tres Leches, Chocolate Graham, CPB
It’s the last day of August, and our shop at DeKalb Market is GONE. Donezo. And Matt and I couldn’t be more stoked- sometimes to make great strides forward, you need to take a step back and realign yourself.
Reminder to everyone in Downtown Brooklyn- you can still get all of our stuff at GOLD STREET EATERY, which is three blocks away from our old shop and on the corner of Gold & Myrtle. You still get all the same cupcakes, brownies and whoopie pies, and I have time to pursue other projects without having to worry if the store is out of napkins or things like that. Projects like opening up a new “store within a store” at Gourmet Guild this weekend. Projects like putting our hot cocoa in bags to make sure that all of you have the most delicious way ever to stay toasty this winter. Projects like finishing writing this book and making sure that it’s so amazing that I win the Nobel Prize for “Keeping it Real”. Because yeah, this book is so real, you might need all new underwear after reading it. Especially the section where I talk about different types of butter- that part is pretty hardcore.
Of course this exists on the internet. Of course it does.
Anyway, another project I’m thinking about taking up is our Facebook Page. I’ve never really done anything with it because, to be honest, in my personal life I HATE interacting with businesses over Facebook. As a 32 years old workaholic and mother of two, Facebook is the only place I can reasonably catch up with my friends across the world and tune out of my life a bit- I don’t need Walgreen’s showing up bombarding me with messages about how Listerine is a dollar off if I “like” them. This is why, to this date, FB’s main purpose has been posting the days flavors at the shop, and reposting the days Tumblr. Not too exciting.
Now with the shop closed, it has no purpose, and I feel like it SHOULD. Truth is, I’m not sure what it is yet. Right now our social media profile sort of looks like this:
Tumblr: We’ve built an amazing community for my writing right here on Tumblr with over 27,500 subscribers and 50k+ direct visitors. Also, this is how my mom keeps up with what’s going on in my life.
Twitter: sort of like the this blog but only in real time. 15% business, 80% “other”, 5% “REALLY other”. Also a great place to interact with me personally if you have questions about anything, need information you can’t find on this website, or follow along with my lifelong quest to eventually hold a koala, even though one of our followers kindly pointed out that they’re apparently rife with chlamydia. Twitter’s also good for killing dreams, in case you didn’t know.
Also, I’m totally ok with getting an STD from a koala, because AWWWWWWWW!!!!!!
Instagram is where I post pictures of things that inspire me in my daily life, my adventures around NYC and beyond, and occasional food porn (even though I hate that term).
I don’t go anywhere near Pinterest as it reminds me of World of Warcraft, but instead of severely addictive role playing and strategy games, it’s 5 billion pictures of shoes and Marilyn Monroe quotes. You try to hack your way through all that crap for the sake of “business”, next thing you know it’s six days later and you’ve got hundreds of pictures picked out for your dream wedding, forgetting that you’re already married and your husband has been in the room the whole time begging you to just get up and take a shower because you’re totally grossing him out. I’m not wading back in there without a chaperone.
As you see, running our social media already takes up a ton of my time, and I’m covering a lot of bases already. This brings me back to my initial point: Facebook. Since I’ve already made the decisions and taken the reins on all my other platforms, why don’t YOU tell me what you want to see on Facebook? Want me to keep it all about the business? Post more news from behind the scenes here? Moderate discussions that will bring all you sexy people together? Want me to just stay the hell out of it as a whole? You’re giving me the privilege of putting content in YOUR timeline- I want to respect it.
Also know that if you don’t put in your two cents, there’s a good chance I’m going to just keep posting stuff like this. And probably about the brownies and cupcakes too, since that’s sort of our job and all. Plus we’re, like, REALLY good at baking, so it would be pretty stupid not to be talking about that.
Clockwise from front: Chocolate Graham, Pecan French Toast, Tres Leches, Key Lime Cheesecake
Chocolate Graham: Chocolate cake, graham cracker buttercream, chocolate ganache, graham cracker crumbs
Pecan French Toast: Maple custard soaked cinnamon cake, maple cinnamon buttercream, maple glazed pecans
Tres Leches: Three milk soaked brown butter cake, dulce de leche buttercream, caramel shards
Key Lime Cheesecake: Graham cracker cake, key lime curd, key lime cheesecake buttercream, graham crumbs, lime zest (pssst- last appearance this year!)
If you’ve been following me on Twitter or regularly read this blog, you may have known for a bit that there were some major life decisions going on here in the Robicelli’s household.
Heads up if you couldn’t tell, this is going to be one of my longer posts, and though it’s chock full of news and super-exciting developments, I know some of you just come here for a few laughs and dirty pictures of cupcakes. So for you speed readers, may I present this video of the Sanford & Sons theme song: press play, dance a little in your chair, then just scroll down to the bottom for flavors and get right on along with enjoying your Friday!
For the rest of you who have decided to come along for the ride- back to major life decisions!
As I’ve alluded to in the past and mentioned in countless interviews, we always said that we wouldn’t consider opening a “real store” again until our kids were in school. When we had our old shop in Bay Ridge, we barely saw our kids or each other, our marriage nearly fell apart, and true to the old saying, the store owned us more than we owned it. We were very happy running our wholesale bakery, having our stuff not in one place but in dozens of places, but people continually asked “where’s your store?” as if being a wholesaler wasn’t a legitimate direction for a bakery. We opened DeKalb last year as a sort of experiment- it let us test the waters, see how it felt to have our own retail outpost again while simultaneously running wholesale and catering, doing markets and events, writing a book, and raising two little boys while finding time to also be husband and wife.
In two weeks comes the moment we’ve been talking about in theory for almost three years as if it was some far off date that would never actually happen: our boys are starting school full-time. For years, I fully expected us at this moment to announce that we were opening a traditional brick-and-mortar store, just like every food truck or artisinal jellybean maker is pushing to do.
But here’s what I didn’t take into account in this plan: our kids are AWESOME right now, and they keep getting better. Toby is 4 and Atticus is 5, and they are bright and funny and wonderful, and we have all sorts of amazing adventures together. This summer we’ve searched for chipmunks and poked frogs with sticks, built sandcastles and bonfires, explored museums and zoos - we’re even teaching them to cook (Mommy brag: Atticus butchered his first lobster yesterday! *sniff*).
We also learned that frogs really don’t like being poked with sticks.
Thing is with kids, there’s no way to pause them. There’s no “Stay right here and don’t age at all while Mommy and Daddy build this company- we’ll be right with you once we’re set!”. And if there’s anything we’ve learned since we’ve started this company, it’s that there’s absolutely no measure of success or amount of money that is more important than the family we’ve built together.
We’ve been talking a lot about the future this month, and then once Katie died on Sunday, we sort of cemented our decision.
Robicelli’s at DeKalb Market will close next Friday, August 31st. We will not be doing any long term markets like Madison or Union Square. And we are not going to open a brick-and-mortar location.
Now this is the part where it gets mildly tricky, and I want you all to pay incredibly close attention to the next part, because I’ve been through this with people and the media before and they always get important details messed up. I’m even going to outline this as a Q&A to try to make it as clear as possible:
Q: So if you’re closing your store and not opening a new one, does this mean you’re going out of business?
A: ABSOLUTELY NOT. Not only are we continuing to wholesale to existing retail partners, but we’ve picked up over 6 more in August alone (with more to come), and will be focusing our energies on developing an alternate style of retail presence for us that will benefit our customers and small businesses. We’re also going to be packaging our hot cocoa mix this year (named one of the five best in New York!), and hopefully start shipping that along with brownies come Columbus Day weekend. See? You thought for a minute we were going to run off and go join some sort of nudist colony in Upstate New York where we’d spend our days playing hackysack and wouldn’t be driving ourselves nuts. We’re still going to be ridiculously busy- just in a different direction.
Plus, remember we were being evicted by DeKalb on September 30th anyway so they could build a giant skyscraper on the property. Progress!
Q:But why wholesale? Why not just open a cute little shop somewhere with a retro-40s motif? I mean, we really need more cupcake stores in Manhattan. There’s only, like, two in DivaliStoDi.
A: Because we honestly love being wholesalers. Let me put it like this- say we had a shop in DivaliStoDi (for all of you who aren’t real New Yorkers, that’s the “DVD and Lingerie Store District from 37th to 40th Street btwn 7th & 10th). Now if you’re from South Brooklyn like we are, you need to get on the R and schlep your butt aaaaalllll the way up there to grab them, then schlep them aaaalll the way back. And more importantly (at least to us), we’ll only employ maybe 4-6 people at that store.
However as a wholesaler, we can be almost everywhere- provided that there’s not such ridiculous traffic that our driver can’t get the product there (sorry, Midtown). Currently, we’ve got shops all across Brooklyn, parts of Manhattan, and even out in Patchogue Long Island. Best part? That’s dozens of stores hiring more people. And when people go in specifically to buy our products, they’ll start frequenting those shops for other things as well, and the stores begin to do better across the board, meaning that those small businesses stay in your neighborhood and don’t turn into a Subway. Sort of like how a monkey will bang, like, TONS of female monkeys to increase his chances of having his genes live on.
Should I have brought up promiscuous monkey sex in a post about baked goods? Probably not. But it’s really late and I have a lot more info to cover, and I’m way too tired to delete that and think of another metaphor. Plus I’ve been to the zoo twice this week and I’m having a hard time thinking about anything non-monkey related.
In a nutshell: less stress for us, better for our community, more locations for you to be stuffing your face in. Win-win-win.
Q: But without your shop, I’m not going to be able to get my hands on the whoopie pies or brownies, or the Chicken n’Waffles, or your hot cocoa once it gets cold, or all the other stuff that’s not in the rotation!
A: Many of our locations are starting to pick up the whoopies and brownies as well as the cupcakes, and if your nearest location doesn’t and that makes you sad, just ask them. Our hot cocoa is currently on the menu at Bergdorf Goodman, and we’ll be shipping bags of the mix (and putting it on store shelves) when the temperature finally drops. As for the Chicken n’Waffles and our other off-rotation flavors, they’ll still be available through our new retail model…..
Q: Ok, what the hell this “Alternate Style of Retail Presence” crap you’re talking about? Is this like another flash local artisan market like the Times was warning me about?
A: This is actually the part I’m worried about people not understanding, even though I’m sure you all shop in this way at least once a day.
Ever go to the Cellar at Macy’s and hit the little Godiva chocolate shop, or even the MAC counter? Those little “stores within stores” where brands represent themselves in a much larger retail space, where you can get lots more than just that brand alone can provide you with? Or what about when you go to a deli that sells EXCLUSIVELY Boar’s Head products, so even though Boar’s Head doesn’t own the joint, you still know you’re getting a quality product.
That’s EXACTLY what we’re going to be doing.
We’ve been quietly rolling out our cupcakes at Gourmet Guild in Williamsburg over the past few weeks, and upon the closing of DeKalb, we’ll be moving all our equipment up there and opening “Robicelli’s Williamsburg”! Not only will you be able to get all the stuff you’ve been finding at our DeKalb shop, but you’ll also be able to sit and grab coffee from the Brooklyn Roasting Company, sit on your laptop or play a board game with your kids, and then on the way out pick up some meat and pantry staples for dinner that night. The owners of this place are fantastic, and we couldn’t be more excited about piloting this program with them. Expect to see Chicken n’Waffles, Bourbon Bacon brownies, and more off-rotation flavors there.
And thanks to a year of prototyping our bakery case model at our 125 square foot space at DeKalb Market, we can now start bringing it elsewhere. Down in Park Slope, we’re taking over the dessert case at Bagel World. We’re popping our heads up in DUMBO for the first time at DUMBO Kitchen. There’s going to be more coming up over the next year. If you’ve got a business and would like to partner with us, check out our wholesale page. And as always, if there’s a place you’d like to see us in your neighborhood, tell them about us! In all the retail shops I’ve worked at, our top corporate buyer was our customers- never be afraid to give any store you shop at your input (politely!), as their goal to provide you with the best possible service.
Q: But I work in Metrotech and this Williamsburg stuff doesn’t help me! What am I supposed to do?
A: There’s no way we’d get you guys hooked and then just up and leave, Metrotech. All our stuff has moved over to Gold Street Eatery at 306 Gold, only three blocks from our current location. It’s actually there right now, so you can start making the transition before we even close. And I heavily suggest you also order the French Dip once you’re there- it’s amazing.
Q: I love seeing you and Matt! I mean, yeah, you guys were almost never at the DeKalb store, but you were there sometimes, and we liked hanging out!
A: We love hanging out with you guys too! But the problem with hanging out is that I don’t actually get any of my real work done, and as I’m currently writing a cookbook that’s due out next year, I really need to sequester myself indoors for a few more months. You’re always welcome to hang out with us virtually over Twitter, and we may be launching a few Google Hangouts over the next couple of months so you can chat with me face to face and watch as my cat eventually takes the whole thing over and plops down for a nap on the keyboard.
A: Not necessarily. It means not right at this very moment. If some big fancy financier came strolling into town and said “Hey Allison & Matt! I’d like to open up a whole chain of Robicelli’s and all you’ll have to do is bake and look pretty!”, then yeah, we’d do it. We just can’t personally handle doing any of that ourselves without contemplating arson several times a day.
In the event that scenario were to ever come true, I would like big fancy financier to be a Texan who only wears white, chews a cigar, screams “YEE-HAW!” every time he gets a good idea, and is constantly accompanied by a pet cougar. It will make meetings all the more bearable.
Q: I still have more questions that you haven’t answered yet!
A: Here they are- AND until we close, we’re doing our 2 for $5 deal every weekday at the DeKalb shop. More exciting news next week! Or pictures of monkeys doin’ it. Depends on how tired I am before I have to write the Tumblr.
Clockwise from front: Chocolate Caramel Pretzel, Bellini, Lime in de Coconut, Tres Leches
We’re back from our “mini vacation”, our shop at DeKalb Market is back open, AND we decided that since we took a few days off, we’d run our 2 for $5 special today, too! So go down and enjoy our container shop before it closes in a few months, goshdarnit!
Though we took extra time off from the shop this week, you think I wisely used my time catching up on all the paperwork I had put off while I was in Sesame Place? Of COURSE not! I spent quality time with my kids instead. So now I’m going to get back to doing that stuff right now, and leave you guys with the classic Chippendale’s sketch from Saturday Night Live.
Now comfort yourself over the fact you know that Patrick Swayze and Chris Farley are both dead by stuffing yourself full of sweets. Because that’s sure as f*** how I deal with my feelings.
Clockwise from front: Frutti di Bosco, Ebinger, Dark & Stormy, Tres Leches
NEW! Dark & Stormy: Carribean rum cake, ginger lime buttercream, candied lime zest
Frutti di Bosco: Vanilla cake, ricotta buttercream, wild berry compote, brown sugar streusel
The good news…..I’ve been asked to be a featured speaker at this summer’s Social Retail Summit in DUMBO! It going to be about social media blah blah blah community bridges non-linear thinking blah blah blah blah. I’m not really sure- it’s bunch of people who work for dot coms and me. Either the quality content I share with my audience on platforms like this page right here makes me some sort of “expert” in the field, OR they just read the article on Fast Company and have yet to actually see this crapshow blog. Now onto yet another post that has absolutely nothing to do with baking!
Let’s talk the bad news. I need a professional headshot for this thing. It wasn’t something that had occurred to me to have professionally done before, mostly because the top things I despise are, in order:
2. Getting my picture taken
3. The Islanders
4. When I see that Cheers is on TV and I’m like “YAAAAAY!”, but then I put it on and it’s a Diane episode and I’m like “BOOOOOOO!”
5. Raisins again.
You’d think with all the interviews and press we do, I’d have gotten used to this, but I am hands down my most unphotogenic person that has ever existed. I’m awkward in front of the camera, and what’s worse is that I’m actually aware of the fact I’m awkward and know I’m going to look like crap, which is why photos of me ordinarily appear as if I have 6 chins and am actively pooping.
So once I received this news, was the first thing I did to contact a photographer? Find ways to combat my fear using the sorcery of Google? Of COURSE not! I went on Facebook and started complaining. And my good friend Liz Gutman of Liddabit Sweets suggested I just suck it up, stare longingly into my iPhone and make a duckface. Which, of course, caused me to stop what I was working on and start studying the phenomenon of “Duckface”.
I believe that the first popular usage of Duckface by was by Walter “Duckface” Berman on Full House, as pictured above. My first headshot ended up like so:
Which is hands down 10 times better than most of the pictures I’ve ever taken! Gutman, you’re a genius!
Then I Googled “Duckface” and found about a billion photos that looked NOTHING like what I took. I tried copying it all……
“Pensive Philosopher” Duckface……..
“Stumped by Long Division” Duckface….
“Actual Duck” Duckface.
The more I looked at these, I realized that actually NOTHING looked like a duck. In fact, I don’t know why poor ducks got dragged into this at all. I’ve seen this look before - in fact, we all have………
It’s BLUE STEEL! Very simple to do- pucker lips, suck in cheeks, create the illusion that behind your eyes, there is an endless soul-sucking pool of nothingness.
Unfortunately my head is still too big to pull this off, so I’m stuck with my default- the Carl Spackler.
Which, I guess, is the next best thing.
Hey, at least the cupcakes are sexy.
Clockwise from front: Ebinger, Tres Leches, Peach Melba, Strawberry Shortcake