Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Carlo's Way to A&P

(Updated, June 16, 2010)
Two weeks ago I posted this in response to some hoopla about a Hoboken street corner being renamed "Carlo's Bakery Way", in honor of their 100th anniversary in business. Since Carlo's Bakery became a stage set for the wildly popular TLC program "Cake Boss", just try buying your kid a cookie without waiting on a long line of tourists from Bay Ridge. The gist of my blog post was, forget Carlo's. The local A&P has a fabulous bakery. I'd gone there and snapped some pics before I was ordered to stop by the manager on duty.

Well... on Monday I went to A&P for a couple of thing and was intercepted by a very excited Baker Judy (see below).

She told me there had been a big response since my post, lots of calls, emails and business had picked up. A moment later A&P Store Manager, John Bincoletto, appeared, shook my hand and said that he was very appreciative of the piece because he was trying to "get the word out" about his bakery, and has gotten calls from folks who read it, and was in fact getting more business from former Carlos' customers.

Now I'm allowed to take pics there anytime.

A&P Store Manager, John Bincoletto

Well, Grafix Avenger is a small blog, but gets some respectable traffic for this kind of niche site. Thanks to the marketing campaign of a certain unhinged but irresistible local bloviator. And by "irresistible" I mean the kind that makes you slow down on the highway to look at a five-car smash up. In fact, his predictably enraged performances at City Council meetings have become must-see web streaming for local political junkies. Like me. Psssst...I hear he actually hands out transcriptions of his rantings to the local media in attendance! Wow.

But I digress...

So I figured I'd drop by A&P today for more pics. Well, it was slow over there, Judy's day off. I'll have to go back when she's around and have her send me pics of the fabulous custom creations she's got stored in her cell phone.

Here was one order they had for pick-up, something simple and typical. Ruthine, the baker on duty, told me a lot of parents come in with a picture and they'll make up a cake- or in this case, a pull-apart cupcake assemblage. About a dozen cupcakes in all, custom decoration, cost $6.99.

I don't want to diss Carlo's- I wish Buddy Valastro and his family all the best.

But does he sell anything anymore for $6.99?

(original post, Wed. June 2, 2010)
Well, the local blogs are abuzz with the big news: tonight the City Council will vote on naming the corner of Washington and Newark Streets, "Carlo's Bakery Way" to commemorate the shop's 100th anniversary. Yes, my 2 favorite blogger-boys, Da Horsey and Da Kurt already have it covered. And I have nothing more to add.

Except for "congratulations" to the entire Valastro family. I met Buddy once after his TLC success, and he seemed like a lovely, earthy fellow. Really. And tan, too.

In fact, I used to live down the block from Carlo's, and would stop in every now and then for a treat- either a slice of creamy tiramisu or a crunchy sfogiatella (yum) and was served many times by Buddy's now-famous sisters and mom. Since moving to midtown, I've gone less frequently, mostly to get LA (Little Avenger) her favorite: a big cookie coated with M&Ms. Or a cupcake with a big, frosting flower on top.

Let's face it: success has destroyed Carlo's as a functioning neighborhood bakery. Who wants to wait on a long, long line of tourists just to patronize a local business? I once tried to go there with LA for her cookie, but turned away... and before you feel sorry for her, she got upgraded to a Rita's mango ice.

So, without Carlo's Bakery, where can We the People of Hoboken go for our cakes, cookies and pastries?

A terrific alternative is Giorgio's Italian and French Pastry Shop at 1112 Washington Street.

Here's where I go:

That's right.

Now before you stick your nose up in the air and say, "how could you?," look at this:
And this:
And a close-up shot of my fave-- a jumbo, crispy Napoleon filled with a rich custard topped with fresh fruit...this one's a BIG hit wherever I've brought it:

Of course, if you eat one of these every day, you'll get a big, giant ass and clog those pristine arteries of yours. But you're allowed to indulge sometimes. Like on your birthday.

So, who makes these fabulous beauties? Here is one of the 2 talented bakers I know there, named Judy. No one stuffs a cannoli like her. Judy, Judy, Judy.

Now, this was a posed shot. She'd just gotten off the phone and had removed her gloves. As she was putting them on, the manager cam over and asked me to stop taking pictures because it was against store policy! Even Judy was surprised.

So, unfortunately, further photography was prevented. Too bad. You'll never get to see that artful frosting carrot poised atop a carrot cake.

But please take my word for it: their baked goods are delicious. with decorating skills that can compete with any 'professional' bake shop'. I've ordered several sheet cakes there for LA's birthday bashes over the years... always with whipped cream, not butter cream (blech). And gotten compliments.

Alright, now a gratuitous pic of LA's last birthday cake that I baked... because it's my blog and I get to show off if I want.

I wrote her name in jellybeans, edged in marshmallow twists with bubble gum tape bow ties and marshmallow and white chocolate chip decorations... and M&M's on all sides, of course. I didn't have time to do layers, unfortunately.

But I digress... Back to my point. It's sad for Hoboken that Carlo's has been disabled by success, but don't hesitate to try alternatives, like our local A&P-- or Shoprite, for that matter. And of course, Giorgio's. Please let me know of others, there must be others.

Bon appetit.

4 comments:

  1. Carlos is great but there's even a queue at 7AM on a Sunday as I discovered recently although it's the shortest queue of the day. I arrived at 6:50AM only to be number three in the queue.... amazing. Good for Carlos.

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  2. I like the LA birthday cake in the last picture. It's awesome that at such a young age she is into Piet Mondrian.

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  3. lol... I'll bet you've never seen digitized jellybeans before!

    thx, I baked it in a roasting pan.

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  4. Yes, the tradition of both Carlos and Jane Parker live on at all the great legacy banner A&P/Waldbaum's/SuperFresh fresh markets.

    I am so happy to have come across a blog post that represents how great I feel about their fresh bakeries. They have everything you want, from hand dipped chocolate strawberries, to Via Roma authentic Italian cookies, to Hartford Reserve scrumptous 5 apple pies, to great egg custard and coconut cream pies, and of course, to die for, strawberry shortcake.

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