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Food & Drink

Four local sweet shops show us how to live la dolce vita

We sample Se7en Bites, P Is for Pie, B Cupcakes and the Soda Fountain

Photo: Photos by Rob Bartlett, License: N/A

Photos by Rob Bartlett

Se7en Bites

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Photos by Rob Bartlett

P Is for Pie Bake Shop

Confectioners are sometimes a forgotten segment of our city’s thriving artisanal food scene, yet it seems that with every passing week, new sweet shops materialize faster than crevices in your dentin. Salted caramel has become about as popular an ingredient as bacon, and, indeed, many of these savvy sugarmongers seduce us with both – the “dark chocolate salted peanut butter bacon crumble cupcake” at Se7en Bites being one prime example. Yes, it’s a mouthful, but what a mouthful it is. We take a closer look at Se7en Bites, in addition to three other shops that have mastered the art of hitting that proverbial sweet spot.

Se7en Bites
207 N. Primrose Drive | 407-203-0727 | se7enbites.com | $$

On any given weekend, the tables inside Se7en Bites will be occupied and the line to get into Trina Gregory-Propst’s bright (and tight) Milk District bakery will be out the door. Accept it; embrace it; ain’t nothing you can do about it. Once you’ve come to terms with that inevitability, you can go about enjoying some of the finest baked goods in the city. Cold hands make good pastry, so the saying goes, and Propst’s icy paws have landed her creations on some trendy tables (Fresh, Pom Pom’s) – creations like the salted caramel dark chocolate pecan mini pie ($7), with its phenomenally buttery crust. It’s the sweet that started it all for Propst, but the bandana-wearing proprietor can just as easily finish you off with a lemon cupcake injected with huckleberry-vodka ganache and topped with Italian meringue ($3), or a double-fudge brownie with chocolate chips and espresso sea salt ($3.50). This is a sweet and savory bake shop, and I was hoping to try the chicken pot pie during one brunchtime visit, but they were fresh out, so we sampled a generous portion of a tomato, pesto and goat cheese quiche ($8.50), as well as the Se7en Benedict ($7.75) – crispy green tomato, over-medium egg, and two sublimely crispy pieces of baked (yes, baked) bacon in between dense biscuits we wished were served warm. The bakery’s name refers to the seven bites of food Propst was allowed to eat after gastric bypass surgery. For patrons of Se7en Bites, such limitations will undoubtedly be hard to stomach.

P Is for Pie Bake Shop
2806 Corrine Drive | 407-745-4743 | crazyforpies.com | $

Tara Gould is a staunch “from-scratch” purist, so you won’t find Crisco, gelatin or any processed foods inside her Audubon Park bakery, P Is for Pie Bake Shop. Forking a piece of strawberry-basil mini pie ($3.50) into my mouth and then sipping on a cup of coffee brewed with beans from Portland’s Stumptown Coffee Roasters afforded me a quintessential Agent Cooper moment. “That’s a damn fine cup of coffee,” I said to no one in particular, then took a hefty bite out of Gould’s signature caramel-pecan hand pie ($3), whose crust achieves the textural trifecta of formed, flaky and crumbly. The strawberry-raspberry cobbler ($3.50) is another item sure to tug on your Southern heartstrings, though don’t pass up the Mason jar pies (4 ounces, $4; 8 ounces, $5). The surprisingly light and airy banana cream, coconut cream and chocolate cream pies are easily scarfed delights, and don’t have needless added sugar. The chocolate peanut butter sea salt cutie pie ($2) – think salty peanut butter cup with a graham cracker crust – is just plain ridiculous. Made-to-order pies will run you $25 ($30 for double crust); Gould still runs her wholesale catering business from the same kitchen. You’d never know the bake shop once housed Sushi Lola’s, what with its minimalist farmhouse-chic decor, but from interior design to designer desserts, this pie shop is making believers out of many.

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