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Yesterday was the official opening of a new pie-based restaurant in Raleigh, so of course we were there!

(How could we miss out on a place whose motto is, “Our mission is to make and sell the finest quality all natural pies in Raleigh and beyond.”?)

Finding it was pretty simple – they’re on Person St, just north of Peace St, across the street from the Krispy Kreme (so on the E side of the street).  There appeared to be plenty of street parking in the evening.

We arrived around 6pm, at which point they were out of quite a few things (most appetizers, the quiche, and all hand pies, darn it), but there was still plenty to try.

We were seated quickly by a friendly person.  The decor is bright and cheerful, sort of a retro-kitschy feel (as the logo above embodies).  Our seat towards the back had a nice view along the side wall towards the front:

It’s still a bit bare-bones (some art on the bare brick walls would liven it up a little), with a bright, clean feel to it.

The menu had us drooling; I decided on the Mushroom Tart, while my companion had the Madras Curried Vegetable Pot Pie.  Both came with a side – we each chose salads, mine with balsamic vinaigrette, his plain (no dressing).

There were some opening-night bobbles in the service – it took a long time for us to get drinks, even longer for our salads and entrees to arrive (we got several rounds of a card game in between drinks and salads), and we watched the ice cream on our dessert pie melting away at the back for a good five minutes before we were able to alert our server that they were ready (when she came to apologize for the wait).  However, the staff were friendly and obviously trying hard, and I imagine they’ll get staffing and efficient service sorted out soon enough.

So, how was the food?

In a word: excellent!

Salads:

The salad was mixed greens, cucumber, tomato, and a bit too much red onion.  Perfectly fine.

Curried Madras Vegetable Pot Pie:

Came with a delicious raita and mango chutney.  I found the filling a bit uninspiring (sort of reminds me of English-style curry), but it also had no peppers, which is a plus for me.  And sweet potatoes, yum!

My dish, however, totally won on flavor (Mushroom tart):

Wild mushrooms and delicious caramelized onions on a pie crust base (yum!), with herbs and whatnot..  Very rich and deliciously yummy.  It was hard to share, even though we’d agreed 🙂

And of course we had to try dessert pies.  I got cherry:

Which inexplicably had powdered sugar sprinkled on it.  (?)  Now, I’m from Michigan (where cherries are grown), so I’m a bit particular about my cherry pie.  So when I say that this was nothing special, that’s not to say it was bad.  Just that it wasn’t… anything special.

My dining companion, however, totally won with the Apple-Crumble pie served with locally-made ice cream:

More inexplicable powdered sugar, this time with cinnamon (tasty!).  The ice cream, as you see, was a bit melted by the time we got the pie at the table, but still tasty.  The granola-crumble topping was fabulous.  Yummy!

We also got a coconut-cream pie to go, but haven’t heard back yet from its recipient how it was.  Looked yummy, though:

Total bill came to less than $50 including tip for two entrees w/sides, drinks (non-alcoholic, I think their license isn’t active yet?), and desserts, plus a takeout slice of pie.

Verdict: totally tasty, some service wobbles that I imagine will improve, and did I mention tasty pie?  We’ll definitely go there again.

Aka, someone wanted a Hobbit Hole cake for their daughter’s 11th birthday, and I had way, way too much fun with it.

Bilbo! Frodo! the Ring!

The top layer (aka Hobbit Hole) was Vanilla butter cake filled with a layer of Apricot preserves and frosting.  The bottom layer was chocolate with strawberry filling (local strawberries, frozen and saved from last summer).  The frosting was ‘buttercreme’ (not real), because it holds up at room temp even when it’s hot, and kids don’t care.  And it’s sweet.  The door, paving stones, and chimney stones are made from white chocolate (colored), and everything else except Frodo and Bilbo are frosting.

Yes, those are Elvish runes. It says "Happy Birthday Fiona. Eleven years."

Yes, I added an inscription in Elvish.  Because I could.

Wouldn’t you?

The cake will fit in.  It’s for a birthday party that’s Hobbit-themed (the party favors are copies of the book even).  The kid is a geek.  The parents are geeks.  They were thrilled when I dropped it off.  🙂

And, so you all can see how long it’s been since I actually made flowers, a flower closeup (don’t take my Wilton license away!):

Nobody tell my old cake decorating teacher, okay? I'll lose that "A".

Hey kids, it’s that time of year!   The Holiday Sale Page is up over at SugarPunk Desserts’ main site, and we’re ready and waiting for your orders!

Everything from truffles, to bon bons, to holiday breads and cookies – you name it, you can buy it.  I’ll ship anywhere, using USPS Priority mail.

Holiday orders placed by December 12th are guaranteed to be shipped by the 18th, which should give them plenty of time to arrive by Christmas.

Seasonal Truffle Flavors:

  • Gingerbread – Rich and creamy milk chocolate center, infused with ginger and other spices and enhanced with a splash of Canton ginger liqueur, then enrobed in dark Belgian chocolate.
  • Mulled Wine – Mulled/Spiced Spanish Grenache is used to flavor this sophisticated dark chocolate truffle.
  • Smoky Scotch – Single-Malt Highland Scotch Whisky and a touch of Lapsang Souchon tea create a rich, smoky flavor enhanced by bittersweet dark chocolate.
  • Chocolate-Dipped Apple Cider Caramel – local NC apple cider and Mountain View Dairy Cream are used to create a fantastic cream caramel that’s then enrobed in dark chocolate and sprinkled with pecans.

Available as a four-piece assortment (one of each) for $8, or a twelve-piece assortment (three pieces of each flavor), for $22.

Beach Style Wedding Cake

Beach Style Wedding Cake

This one was a first for me – my first beach-themed cake, and my first (official) wedding cake!  (I’ve done other wedding cakes, but this was the first one that SugarPunk has officially done.)

Bottom Layer: Chocolate-Hazelnut Butter Cake with Chocolate-Frangelico Ganache
Middle Layer: Lemon Cake with Lemon-Curd Buttercream filling
Top Layer: Madagascar Vanilla Cake with Roasted Peach and Strawberry Filling.

All covered in a Vanilla Buttercream (French style).

Served: Intended to serve 100, it way overshot.  However, leftover yummy cake was enjoyed by many, I’m given to understand.

The topper was a replica of the Ocracoke lighthouse in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where the wedding was held, and the seashells were gathered on site (and cleaned/sanitized by me before putting on the cake!)

Okracoke Lighthouse Topper

Ocracoke Lighthouse Topper

The fence and plaque were made from gumpaste and hand-painted, and the sand was graham cracker crumbs.

The mother of the bride contacted me secretly about making a groom’s cake for her prospective son-in-law – he went to the University of Maryland, so we decided that something turtle-themed would be appropriate.

Cupcakes!

Cupcakes!

I found the nifty cupcake toppers at Art Design Store, and they shipped them immediately – so no worries about them getting here in time!

Interior view of cupcakes

Interior view of cupcakes

The cupcakes were Devil’s Food Chocolate, filled with caramel-pecan gooeyness, frosted with caramel frosting, and the edges rolled in toasted pecans.  The toppers eventually sort of meld with the frosting (no fondant here!), and other than a slight gumminess were hardly noticeable.

The happy couple

The happy couple

Don’t they look happy with their cake?  Of course, the hard part was over (the wedding) – well, mostly over.  There were some problems with the room the reception was supposed to be in, and some other last-minute stuff – but all was handled gracefully and in the end, everyone was happy.

Well, everyone except the folks who ended up with swine flu — one of the aunts was diagnosed with it two days after the reception, and a few people ended up with it, including the happy couple.  Oops.   But hey, that’s what makes for great stories to tell your grandkids, right?

It’s a new month, and just in time for Father’s day comes this lovely collection of new truffles.  I hope you’ll stop by and check them out!

June’s Flavors:

Whisky Truffles

Whisky Truffles

Whisky – A dark chocolate truffle made with Dalmore 12-year Scotch Whisky. This highland single-malt has notes of citrus, spice, and cream, pairing beautifully with Belgian dark chocolate for an experience you won’t soon forget.

Half-sphere, or gold-dusted puramid.

Hazelnut Praline – Smooth and creamy milk chocolate paired with caramelized hazelnuts; covered in dark Belgian couverture.

Plain pyramid.

Ginger Truffles

Ginger Truffles

Ginger – Each truffle contains a dark chocolate ganache infused with ginger as well as a piece of candied ginger for a spicy/sweet treat.

Geodesic half-sphere, or triangle.

Truffle Squared (Truffle2) – Dark chocolate ganache with a touch of white truffle oil. Simple, earthy, and elegant.

Cocoa-dusted hand-rolled.

Espresso Cup

Espresso Cup

Espresso Cups – Espresso-infused dark chocolate ganache topped with a chocolate-covered espresso bean. A real eye-opener!


Available in 2, 4, and 6-piece assortments.  Enjoy!

Guess free chocolate’s popular 🙂 Drew and Thomas estimated we had around 180 people over the course of the evening – they ran out of wine glasses, I ran out of samples.. I also sold all but 6 of the small boxes of chocolate (that’s over 170 pieces of chocolate sold! More than that given away), making it a tremendously successful weekend.  Woot!

No pictures because we forgot the camera 😦  But I’ll get some the next time.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by, and welcome to any new readers!

It’s been a day of kitchen disappointments, or at least frustrations.

Have spent way too much time over the past few days covered in chocolate, working on truffles.  You guys better appreciate this 🙂  I hate being covered in chocolate, despite sounding yummy.  I don’t like stuff on my skin like that.  And the cleanup!  oy.

At the kitchen tonight, first thing that went wrong was that only one of my pastry cream/custards set up (Rose’s recipe, of course.  Go Rose.)  So the Boston Creme Pie is a little… sqooshy.  Nothing the freezer can’t fix…

Then, the white chocolate ganache I was going to frost the Strawberry Butter cake with broke.  What is it with ganaches breaking lately?  Ended up making a double batch of cream cheese frosting and just using that.  Which left me scrambling a bit to put together the strawberry tarts (had planned on using the ganache as a base), but I managed.  Rose’s banana cream pie reimagined as pielets looks reallllly yummy, though!

Then, re-acquainted myself with the fact that knives are still sharp underwater.  (Someone had pitched all of the washing-up gloves, and I couldn’t find more, so I was washing bare-handed.)  *sigh*

Time for bed, I think.

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