Monday, March 29, 2010

Sweet Mandy B's

Since I've started this blog there have been a few question's I've had about the overall direction. Mostly what I find tricky is whether or not to include food things that I experience that aren't traditional restaurant experiences. For instance, do I write about the Family Farmed Food Expo I went to a week back, or the excellent Indian fare Maddie made for a bunch of us on Saturday night, or even Jeff Schneider's masterful spaghetti and turkey meatballs (or Steve's grilled cheese)? Well, this Saturday at previously mentioned dinner, it was my job to bring the dessert, which led me to Sweet Mandy B's (no website, on the corner of Webster and Racine in Lincoln Park).


I wasn't exactly sure how to write about a bakery, especially if I picked up something to go, but here's my best shot. First off, I wouldn't have known about this place if it hadn't been for Carrie's friend Addie so strongly suggesting it. Also, as the weather's gotten nicer, I've begun to jog around my neighborhood a bit, and you can't run within a block of this place without smelling the enticing aroma of baked goods. It's also noteworthy that this is supposedly Obama's favorite Chicago bakery.
Obama Inauguration Cupcakes (not my picture)
Logistics
Now if you just so happen to be olfactorily challenged, you can still find Sweet Mandy B's by looking for the standout paint job (yellow and turquoise pastel). The bakery is setup with two rooms. The first room has a long bakery counter backed by lots of college aged employees either serving or baking in the open air style kitchen. The wall in the first room is riddled with awards from all the key sources (except for the hungry hound, but I'm sure he'll get there soon enough). The other room has a smaller ice cream counter and tables for you to enjoy all of their delights in house. The large amount of employees really paid off. Even though it was packed when I came in, I was served really quickly, and multiple people pitched in to give me advice on their favorites. Basically, the ordering process is disorganized and somewhat hectic like most bakery counters without a "take a number" system, but everyone still seemed to get served rather efficiently.

 Part of the Bakery Counter
Note: the Chocolate Cream Pie on the blue tray,
Banana Cream Pie on the bottom left of the picture

The Food
This place has it all. Normally, I'd stick to talking about what I got, but I was able to get a pretty good feel for lots of items because Sweet Mandy B's has more samples than Sam's Club on the weekends! My favorite samples were the Snickerdoodles, the Streusel, and the Chocolate Cupcake. After a long and obnoxious deliberation, I decided to get a pie over a cake. Then, I had to pick between the many pie selections. I narrowed it down to Banana Cream, Chocolate Cream, and Apple with Double Crust. In the end Chocolate Cream prevailed, and when we finally ate it there was a pleasant surprise (OREO CRUST!!!!). The filling was a delicious chocolate mousse that was unbelievably rich, and I just couldn't stop eating it. Now just in case you were worried about filling the dairy category in your food pyramid (because health should be your priority when eating pie), it was topped with a hefty and scrumptious layer of hand whipped cream and chocolate flakes.

Overall
I've never been one to frequent bakeries, but that's going to change after Sweet Mandy B's. I'm not sure how I'd compare it to Molly's Cupcakes (also an excellent bakery in Lincoln Park), although I'd say that Sweet Mandy B's has a larger selection and can do a little more for you (like make bday cakes and other requested items). It would be a great place to stop for coffee and a treat some afternoon in the summer when you're just strollin' round the LP. So the next time someone asks who wants to bring the dessert to a potluck, offer up and go to Sweet Mandy B's.

Sweet Mandy B's on Urbanspoon

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