I loved the exterior, everything from the bright yellow facade to the steaming pie above the doorway. A few wooden steps lead down into the space that is both shop and bakery and prep area.
Freshly baked pies line wooden shelves. A glass display case holds whoopie pies, cupcakes, cookies and more.
Just one block over is the beloved Micucci Grocery, purveyor of all things Italian, as well as reportedly some of the best sicilian pizza slices around. Even if we’d had room in our stomachs for pizza, they were sold out, but assured other hungry patrons that more slices would be out in 20 minutes or so.
Our next stop was an old favorite of mine, Standard Baking Co., and by this time I was starting to feel okay about putting more food in my stomach. They were out of the pecan sticky bun, which is fabulous, so I went with something new, a chocolate-dipped hazelnut sandwich cookie.
Two extremely thin and buttery cookies sandwiched a rich hazelnut spread, with a chocolate coating on one of the cookies. The key word here is buttery. The slightly crisp cookies gave way to a thin layer of the buttery spread and the chocolate added a touch more sweetness. The size and thickness perfect for such a rich little pastry.
About a ten minute drive from downtown portland is South Portland and Cape Elizabeth, which boasts its own selection of eateries and food shops. Another old favorite of mine is Scratch Baking Co. I have had every kind of cookie they make as well as brownies, cupcakes and more. This time around, I tried the blondie, which was a deep golden brown and studded with chocolate chips and large chunks of walnut. It had a thick, crunchy outside and the interior was dense and chewy with a strong brown sugar flavor.
A new-to-me spot was JulChris Cookies which I spotted as we were driving to Scratch. The owner Deborah has been baking and selling her cookies since 2002 but just opened the shop, which is named after her children Julia and Christopher, almost exactly a year ago. You can’t beat 79 cents for a small cookie, which actually is not so small, but they do come in larger versions as well. There were about six varieties available when I stopped in. I chose the oatmeal cranberry white chocolate. As would be expected from a shop that does only cookies, Deborah has perfected her recipes. The cookie was moist and chewy, quite sweet, and hearty from the mix-ins.
There are several other bakeries and dessert shops throughout Portland and South Portland. I have my favorites that I return to time and again, but it seems that new ones crop up every time I visit. The nice thing about baked goods is that you can try a bite and save the rest for later, a necessary technique when bakery-hopping. Sadly, this technique does not work with ice cream, clearly, making ice cream shop-hopping quite a bit more difficult. Across from Scratch was an adorable ice cream shop, Willard Scoops, that I wish I could have sampled more fully on this trip. Alas, that will have to wait until my next Portland trip, which I sincerely hope is not too far away.
Two Fat Cats
47 India St
382 Cottage Road
South Portland, ME