Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bits and Morsels meets with the Cake Boss

Enjoying the lovely weather in Hoboken with the Manhattan skyline as backdrop.

This weekend I dropped by Hoboken to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Carlo’s Bakery. I took the bus from Port Authority and the PATH train back. Both trips were decidedly quicker than a cab ride downtown from the Upper East Side.

Hoboken. Upon arrival I was greeted by a throng of pastry addicts partaking in a block party (where the street was being renamed Carlo’s Bakery Way). The Bakery, which is across from City Hall and a block from the train station, is the setting for the TLC reality show, “Cake Boss." The bakery specializes in Italian American cakes and pastries as well as stupendous specialty cakes. Reality TV isn’t my favorite programming, but I am a dedicated “Cake Boss" fan. The show follows Buddy Valastro of Carlo’s Bakery, who not only runs the bakery, but works with his family. Part of the fun of the show is watching Buddy interact with his mother, sisters, and brothers-in-law. Buddy is the 'Cake Boss’ for good reason: he is one of the top bakers and cake decorators around. Buddy has been decorating cakes for over 22 years and he takes the cake, so to speak.
The Hoboken train station.
On “Cake Boss” viewers are treated to these massive and detailed creations ranging from a big Italian wedding to Governor Christie's inauguration. The centerpiece of the 100th anniversary celebration was a cake Buddy dreamt up that revealed a timeline of the bakery over the last 100 years. I’m also happy to report that Buddy was much like how he appears on TV, an indisputably genuine good guy, who works his butt off.

If you want an unforgettable wedding or special occasion cake, make the little trip to Hoboken and get it from Buddy. I know it’s where I would get my cake from. Or at least grab some crumb cake, cookies or a cannoli to go. I bought some cookies, but they never made the trip back.
The bakery is across the street from City Hall.
Carlo’s City Hall Bake Shop
95 Washington Street
Hoboken, NJ
201.659.3671
Tune in to “Cake Boss” on TLC on Mondays at 9pm
Carlo's Bake Shop.
Jordana Z. with the 'Cake Boss,' Buddy Valastro.
Carlo's has become a major destination in Hoboken.
Carlo's cookies.
Carlo's cakes.
A christening cake. A Barney's birthday cake.
Crumb cake with fruit on top.
Rainbow cookies are my favorite.
Carlo's Cannoli.
The massive 100th anniversary cake spans from 1910- 2000.
Love the string affixed to the ceiling of the bakery.
Italian cookies to go.
Walking down the alley with the Cake Boss :)
Before partaking in Carlo's 100th anniversary event, I brunched with some dear friends at La Isla, a popular Cuban café nearby. La Isla was tops on my list because a while back Doubles' chef Steven Mellina mentioned his near infatuation with it. La Isla was also featured on an episode of "Throwdown" as having the best French toast. With that in mind, I was pleasantly surprised it wasn’t busier during my visit. Simply put, you must order Omar’s famous French toast. It’s stuffed with strawberry and guava cream cheese and coated in crunchy cereal. It's miles above regular French toast. Hoboken is an adorable town dotted with unique shops and restaurants making it the perfect day trip. I know I can’t wait to go back.
Iced cuban latte. Cuban latte.
Edmund Caulfield and Ribby Goodfellow. Edmund lives in Hoboken.
La Isla
104 Washington Street

Hoboken, NJ
201.659.8197
Chef Omar’s Stuffed French Toast. A side of bacon.
Huevos rancheros. Sweet plantain, spinach, spanish white cheese omelette.
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If you are craving ice ... you should have your blood tested. Ice cravings can sometimes intimate iron deficiency anemia. What's the connection, you ask? Ice can relieve inflammation in the mouth brought on by anemia. [NY Times]

Lobster rolls are everywhere in New York right now. It used to be that you would have to trek to Maine, but lobster rolls have taken to the streets of New York; and the price is right. This is a worthy article about the saga of Maine lobsters and where to get your fix. [NY Mag]

It’s time for Take Back Your Lunch Wednesdays. The new movement is aimed at employees who eat lunch at their desks while staring at their computer screens. It’s better for productivity (and overall piece of mind) to take a full lunch hour away from the office. [NY Post]
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