Monday, February 24, 2014

Put a Bird on It: Zucker Bakery

TL;DR: ★★★★☆

Another adorable hole in the wall. Delicious baked goods (read on for a way to get a free cookie ;D*), expensive coffee, cold staff.

Food: ★★★★★
Ambiance: ★★★★★
Staff: ★★☆☆☆

Price: $-$$
Number of visits: 1

9th St. between Ave. A & Ave. B

One day after yoga, I had an intense hankering for something sweet, and on the way home, I stumbled upon the tiny and charming Zucker Bakery. This hidden gem in the EV didn't seem like much from the outside, but once inside, I was immediately enamored by the tight-yet-adorable space. 


With only about 4 tables, you can easily tell that this is a small local business, which I'm all for supporting. The bakery was adorned with lovely trinkets and woods-like decorations (lots of birds — put a bird on it! — and branches, if I recall correctly), with a cute bulletin-board menu. I absolutely loved the homey and cozy vibe the space gave off.

I asked the cashier for some recommendations and decided to try their chocolate rose and a dulce de leche alfajor. Alfajores, for those who don't know, are Latin-American cookie sandwiches with various fillings and shaved coconuts around the outside (around the outside, around the outside). This one, as I said, was with a dulce de leche filling, and it was so freaking good. The caramel filling was perfectly gooey, and the cookies were so soft and chewy, with the shaved coconuts giving it a nice slight crunch. 

Chocolate rose (~$3.50) and dulce de leche alfajor (~$2.00)

The chocolate rose, a cinnamon roll-type pastry with a chocolate filling instead of cinnamon, was good too, and definitely unique, but I was a little bit disappointed with the lack of flavor. While the texture of the rose was superb, I was expecting it to be more chocolatey instead of just sugary and chewy. So that was a bit of a let-down, but the pastry overall was still quite enjoyable.

There were a couple other things that were kind of a bummer about Zucker Bakery: the prices and the service. While I'm not sure how all the baked goods are priced, the coffee and drinks, which were on the bulletin board, are quite expensive. I can't speak for whether those prices are justified with the quality of the drinks, but they were on par with, if not more expensive than, those at the fancy, famous coffee shops like Stumptown and Blue Bottle, and that's a bit much, in my opinion, for a bakery that does not specialize in coffee. If I remember correctly, the most basic and usually cheapest drinks, such as a cup of espresso or americano, were at least $3, and the generally more expensive drinks, like the latte and mocha, were about $4.50 to $5+.

Lastly, I was a bit turned off by how cold and apathetic the cashier was. When I pointed to and asked about certain pastries, the cashier gave me curt answers, and when I asked for suggestions, she seemed quite unenthusiastic, as if I were an annoyance to her. Of course, I don't expect all servers and cashiers to be super giddy and incredibly excited to assist a customer, but I thought this cashier could've been friendlier and more pleasant. Maybe I caught her on an off day, who knows.

Nevertheless, I would still come back here to try out more of their pastries and recommend it to others. I would also absolutely return for a coffee date with a friend or two (but definitely not a group) and bask in the sunlight coming through the huge window in front while ogling at the cute decor.

*TIP: If you check in on Foursquare, Zucker Bakery will give you a free cookie! 

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