Everyone has a list of things to accomplish during their lifetime. It usually reads something like this:
1) Fit back into my high school cheerleading uniform.
2) Trek up a mountain in the (hopefully) capable hands of a Tibetan sherpa.
3) Sleep with a B-list celebrity.
4) Write the great American novel (will settle for New York Times bestseller).
You get the picture: a to-do list that serves more to demonstrate how mundane life is than it does to offer validation. My aspirations are slightly less lofty.
I was able to cross one of the more challenging goals off my list: Order one of everything at a bakery. As a matter of fact, I did it twice. In one day. And I didn’t even have to walk across a bed of coals to psych myself up for the challenge. Take that, elementary school guidance counselor who said I’d probably never do anything I set out to.
My first stop was Saratori’s, an Italian pastry shop that’s an extension of Tully's Italian Deli. Located on San Mateo, Tully’s has been selling sandwiches, pasta, meats and other treats di cucina for 38 years. When a tenant vacated a shop at the end of the building, the Camuglias, who own the deli and building it’s housed in, weren’t looking forward to re-leasing the spot. So Johnny Camuglia simply told his mother, Jerry, “I’m gonna do my own thing.”
As if the buttery roll wasn’t enough, its center gave way to orange rind and ricotta cheese.
Combining his daughters’ names—Sara and Tori—he came up with Saratori’s, then put to use a wealth of family baking recipes. After remodeling, he started selling cookies and pies in the transformed store.
Limone farfalla (crumbly lemon bows), buccellati biscotto (rolled cookies filled with figs) and albicocca biscotti (apricot-stuffed biscuits) are just some of the goodies to be found in Camuglia's cases. All are delicious. A Napoleon, on the other hand, was less spectacular. Layers of puff pastry weren’t as delicate as expected, and the marbled, saccharine-sweet fruit-and-cream topping slid off in one congealed slab. Redemption came in the form of a shell-shaped treat with hundreds of flaky ripples called sfogliatelle. As if the buttery roll wasn’t enough, its center gave way to orange rind and ricotta cheese.
Next time you stop by Tully’s for lunch, make sure to drop by the bakery for dessert. Or head over for breakfast. Grab a cup of joe, some biscotti, settle into an overstuffed chair and try not to think about how this may be as close as you’ll get to checking off No. 3457 on your list—taking a picture of yourself pretending to single-handedly hold up the Eiffel Tower.
Not too far away, mom-and-daughter team Pam and Laurie English are baking up single-serving-sized cuties. Cupcakeology on Carlisle has been slathering icing on cupcakes for a mere month but have already attracted a loyal following. Translation: Get there early or order in advance.
With a rotating baking schedule of 32 cake and frosting combos, there’s bound to be un petit gateau that appeals to your sweet tooth. I personally tried a dozen with no regrets. “Monkeybutter” (banana cake topped with butterscotch butter cream) had me swinging from a tree with its moist crumb and lightly flavored icing. Red velvet was a smooth contender largely due to the fluffiest cream cheese frosting I’ve ever encountered. Other stand-outs were the coconut (a triple dose of coconut from top to bottom) and "bun bun" (chocolate cake topped with baby-pink marshmallow and shredded coconut), which was just too damn adorable.
Everything is baked from scratch and nothing less than real butter gets mixed into the frosting. As it melted on my tongue, I realized that grocery store birthday cakes would never again satiate me.
Although cupcake-only bakeries are sprouting like weeds all over the country, Laurie is undeterred. Cupcakeology is more of a sweet-spot café than a typical bakery, with its pink-and-white decor and “You are what you eat, so eat something cute” scribbled on a wall. Small tables and coffee complete the feel. Her reason for only offering these paper-wrapped indulgences is purely logical. She laughingly explains, “They’re the perfect size, they’re a treat and they’re a great vehicle for frosting!”
Cupcakeology is more of a sweet-spot café than a typical bakery, with its pink-and-white decor and “You are what you eat, so eat something cute” scribbled on a wall.
Both of these bakery gems are just right for sitting down and enjoying the sweeter side of life. Why overextend your credit for a little convertible that’s just going to sweep off your toupee? Opt for something that’s tasty and simple—and, I might add, more satisfying than learning to speak Farsi, only to realize there’s no one to speak it with.
The Alibi recommends from Saratori’s:
• Limone farfalla
• Buccellati biscotto
The Alibi recommends from Cupcakeology:
• Coconut cupcakes
• Red velvet cupcakes
• Monkeybutter cupcakes
Saratori’s di Tully, 1425 San Mateo NE, 268-2627. Hours: Mon-Fri 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Sat 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Closed Sun-Mon. Price range: Inexpensive. Credit cards accepted.
Cupcakeology, 2000 Carlisle NE, 266-1115. Hours: Tue-Sat 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Closed Sun-Mon. Price range: Inexpensive. Credit cards accepted.