Thursday, February 16, 2006

Sweetie Pies - Napa

So, I've been rather open about where I've been in the area and what I've seen, but I've kept a little secret: a few weeks ago, I drove around downtown Napa--literally, it's mostly a "U"-- with the intention of blogging about it... and went straight back home. There were some cute shops that I may wander into when I want to buy yarn or beaded goods, but nothing that I could see that was enough to justify looking for a parking space and attempting to parallel park. Most importantly, no pastry shops that I could find. I felt let down.

I usually jump onto Hwy 29 from my apt, and dowtown is a few minutes in the other direction, so I hadn't gone back since.

But yesterday, a classmate told me about a certain Sweetie Pies bakeshop in downtown Napa. Reeeaaallly?

So, I went today. It turns out that Napa has a sort of Napa River District that is on the outer southeast tip of downtown. It's quite pretty, and not only was I inspired to park, but I was also inspired to take pictures.... Of obvious signage.....
I don't know how long this district extends, but this area was comprised of one large brick building called the Hatt Building, which was built in 1893 by a Captain Hatt. It houses such places as Sweetie Pies, a Vintage Sweet Shop, a restaurant called Celadon that I've heard praised, Napa General Store with fancy food gear and a cafe, and Angele's, which has this snazzy setup.
I expected good things when I saw Sweetie Pies' storefront
Unique signs denote unique bakers.
Inside, they had a large glass display of cakes--including a lot of cheesecakes--with cookies on top, and around the corner of the counter, they had more breakfast pastry sort of items. The eating area had a clean country cafe sort of feel--woodsy and homey.
My favorite acquisition was the Breakfast Cookie. Packed full of carrot, raisins, coconut, and perhaps orange zest, it was refreshing and satisfying moist and flavorful. The occasional edge was also slightly caramelized and extra chewy. The sweetened coconut was a clever icing all on its own. I can see myself craving this cookie.
Next, the nonfat oatmeal bar was also triumphant. More flavorful than the name suggests, it had plump dried fruits interspersed throughout the layers of oats and a brown sugar-y batter. The sprinkling of coarse sugar on top slyly contributes crunchy sweet bites.
I had high hopes for the Oreo Cookie, but it just didn't work out between us. I did get to the shop at about 5:00, so maybe its slight lack of freshness is understandable.... but it was also just a bit bland and the filling was a little too liquidy, too. It did make me crave white choc chips in the oatmeal bar, though.
I was excited by the Mud Pie Cheesecake, too, but it was too buttery for me. I like cheesecake that separates in ridged sorts of chunks and tastes like cheese, but this was one very smooth and dense without much cheese flavor. I liked the chocolate ganache layer on top and the oreo crust on the bottom, but the two layers of cheesecake in the middle were a shame.
There were so many things to choose from at Sweetie Pies that I'm looking forward to going back and nabbing more Breakfast Cookies and some new discoveries. I could have easily ordered 10 other things that looked good on this visit.

And a bonus was spotting another destination on way home home through downtown Napa: Annette's Chocolate and Ice Cream Factory.

Good thing I live so close.


Blogger farmgirl said...

Oh I wish I lived so close to this place! Love the sign, too. Great post. : )

12:39 PM  
Blogger Nina said...

Thanks! I'm so glad that the town of Napa has such a bakery... I was sooo discouraged before :)

4:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good review. I have been to Sweetie Pie's a bunch of times because I'm often in the area, and I almost always leave disappointed. Everything looks so yummy, but then the cakes turn out to be stale (with icing that tastes like it has about 4 or 5 days worth of refridgerator skin) and dry cookies. The one time I tried the lunch special, the tomato bisque tasted like it came out of a can. eh, I dunno. I'm no foodie, but I like to think I know a good dessert when I taste it. Maybe I should try the items you tried. The breakfast cookie sounds good.

Have you tried Buttercream Bakery on Jefferson? I've never been there but it looks cute.

8:51 PM  
Blogger Nina said...

That's a shame about Sweetie Pies--thanks for letting me know. I do feel a bit uncomfortable "reviewing" places after only having been to them once, and only sampling a few things... I'll update posts as I go to places multiple times, to try to catch for more inconsistencies and bad products.

I drive past Buttercream all the time, but I have yet to go. It's on my list. :)

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Culinary Schools said...

Ive been to this bakery! It is the best ever! I live in NJ now, but I hope to make it back there again soon.

12:16 PM  

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