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On our recent trip to North Carolina, Andy and I discovered a wonderful new place to procure donuts when visiting his parents. Well…”discovered” might not be accurate, we actually learned about the chain from my brother in law; he and his wife had first encountered the chain when they were visiting the Outer Banks, and while we were all trying to find somewhere to go to dinner, he realized there were not one but two locations with in easy driving distance from our hotel. Donuts and adorable water fowl? I was definitely game for a trip.
I will admit I was a tiny bit trepidatious when we walked into this little shop. I know donuts are sugary and insipid, but this place was so damn pink and cheery. I’ve become a bit of a snob in my ripe old age, and I like my bakeries/restaurants a little more “small town local” and just this side of hipster-y. But we were already there and I was so tired at this point, so I figured “why the hell not”.
To give the place a fair shake, we ordered two of their pre-designed donuts (cinnamon sugar and blueberry pancake) and did two build your own (lemon blackberry & chocolate peanut butter). At this point, I got a little…well…pissy watching the two highschoolers haphazardly dumping toppings on our order and slapping our box together willy-nilly (I sound like such a grumpy old lady!), so by the time we got our order, I wasn’t even interested in trying the donuts and I put them in the back of our car so we could enjoy them as a road snack later… aka when I was in a better mood.
After all that, I’ll be damned if those donuts weren’t pretty freakin’ awesome. 5 out of 5 stars, would go again, highly recommend. We both liked the blueberry pancake the best, closely followed by the lemon blackberry. I am actually sad that this place is a 10 hour drive away. Oh well, holidays in the NC just got that much better.
The take away from this: I’m a mean old grumpy pants when I’m sleep deprived and under the weather, and I should always trust my brother in law when it comes to awesome places to eat.
Tallahassee has a new bakery, and I am delighted! Shocking, right? But you heard right, I’m here, I’m chubby, and I like pastries! SoDough opened its doors a week and a half ago, and the buzz around town has been palpable. They have no parking, limited seating, long lines, and it’s worth every damn minute you have to wait. I’ve been twice now for early morning weekend pastry runs with my friends and not a single thing we’ve tried has been anything less than amazing.
A group of us got up early and decided to make our first visit at 8 am the day of the grand opening. The line was out the door, but the staff bustled around filling cases, offering coffee cups to people who were planning on purchasing so they’d have something to sip in line. The crew behind the counter was hustling, filling orders, making/decorating donuts, and ringing up purchases, all while being helpful and pleasant to each and every customer. After securing a box full of pastries apiece, we retreated to the seating nook near the window and proceeded to over indulge. We all got a couple different things so there was a lot of “try a piece of this” and “holy crap, this is amazing – you have to try this.” There were also some wordless happy dances performed after trying a bite of something especially amazing. Between what I’ve purchased and what my friends have let me try I can whole heartedly recommend the following: the Strawberry Lavender Sugar Donut, Delta Butter Donut (Andy’s favorite), Key Lime Pie Donut, Chocolate Stout Donut, the Indigo Shibori Bread, The Everything Bagel Kolache and the Mushroom Pastry (my favorite). The pastry case always has something new and interesting to try, but this at least gives you a place to start.
Since both of my visits have been on the weekends, I am trying to figure out how to get over there during the week to see if things are a little less hectic. No luck so far, but it’s only been two weeks.
I’ve been in this town long enough to know about all of the great local places to find sweet treats, and I enjoy sharing my finds with pretty much anyone remotely interested. Consequently sometimes people assume that my delight in local means that I must also have a disdain for chains. Not true; well, not entirely true. I respect quality, and while I do try to help support local businesses, if it’s after hours or a day that there shop is closed? You better believe my chubby butt isn’t going to let that get in my way.
Recently, a new chain called Nothing Bundt Cakes opened up near a couple of the restaurants Andy and I frequent. Unfortunately for Andy, I found out it was open while I was out a dinner with a friend, and she and I hit it up before parting ways. Don’t feel too bad for him, though; I, of course, softened the blow of my betrayal by bringing him a mini cinnamon bundt.
This shop is undeniably cute; I mean, it is pretty much tailor made for baby showers. They have nine different flavors of cake all topped with their signature cream cheese “frosting” and are available in a couple different sizes.
I thought it was pretty cool that they had a tiered option (see above) it was something I hadn’t really considered with bundt cakes.
In addition to cakes, this shop also offers cute party supplies and kitchen items. I had a brief, but very real moment when I saw the Kate Spade display where I wanted to just throw my credit card at the cashier and buy ALL the things. Things I don’t even need, but I love Kate Spade so much and those lemons were just like this gorgeous pair of wedges she had last year (which legit almost bought). Ultimately, I decided I wouldn’t get a lot of use out of lemon print wedges; stupid practicality, stupid.
Yes, my husband is in a tank top. It pains me, but he was on the tail end of a skin allergy flare and was doing his best to keep cool. This did not keep me from mocking him, though. I also gave him his bundt cake first, so the cats would swarm him and I could eat in peace.
Not entirely effective as you can see. Stanley figured out my game and might have gotten the teeniest bit of frosting from mommy. He ended up with most of it on his nose which led to me having to chase him down and wipe it off. I live a charmed life.
If you’re interested, three flavors have been tried so far; the double chocolate, cinnamon and pecan bundt cakes all get a big thumbs up from us. Be prepared though; it took me two sittings to make it through mine, those things are rich!
As wonderful as a date with your significant other can be, dates with good friends can be just as much fun. Andy is, of course, my favorite person, but there are few things in this world that are as much fun as brunch and shopping with a friend. The blog A Beautiful Mess has started a feature call “Great Dates” where they do date pairings, like a dinner and movie, and their second feature was about that all important Friend Date (click on the link to see the full post), which kicked off with a trip to the bakery and ended at a greenhouse.
Now all I can think about is coffee and pastries. Middle of the week brunch tomorrow anyone?
All images from A Beautiful Mess.
A new cupcake shop named Gigi’s just opened up right around the corner from my house. Andy and I had been watching the construction for a while since we usually get stuck in rush hour traffic right outside the shopping center where it went in. We gave it about a week and then we picked up 4 cupcakes on our way home from the grocery store. Here is how it went.
We picked out Cookies & Creme, Wedding Cake, Apple Pie and Banana Split.
Banana Split – Strawberry cake with banana frosting, dipped in chocolate shell and garnished with a cherry, chopped nuts and a banana slice. Not really my thing, but Andy liked the mix of flavors and said he’d definitely get it again.
Wedding Cake – White cake with vanilla frosting and white sprinkles. Not really Andy’s thing, but I enjoyed it. I like to get a baseline for the quality of a company’s cupcakes by ordering the plainest thing they have on the menu. Complicated flavors are actually easier to execute than simple ones, and this simple cupcake was amazing. I’d get it again over all the other flavors because it was just that good.
Apple Pie – Spice cake with cinnamon frosting, apple pie topping and cinnamon crumbles. Andy and I both agree that while this was a good cupcake, it would have been better had they dialed back the sweet a little bit or added more of the tart apple pie filling.
Cookies and Creme – Chocolate cake with Oreo frosting and Oreo crumbles. This was Andy’s favorite; a little sweet for me, but still pretty good.
Overall Gigi’s cupcakes were really good; we don’t really eat cupcakes a lot, but we’ll definitely go back. Check out the website for their daily flavors. For my gluten free friends, Gigi’s has Gluten Free Friday ever week where they make 3 special gluten free flavors (you have to go to the store to find out what the flavors of the week are).