Sugar and Spice: Très Sweet

Unlikely pairings between two seemingly different things can result in a disaster or success. Beer and ballet: works in this context. Mini skirts and Uggs: not even close. Applesauce and macaroni: the jury is still out. Sugar and Spice: yes!

But, this fledgling bakery is more nice than naughty (though, the mixed martial arts studio and tattoo parlor give it some street cred). The dainty charm of this corner shop bakery definitely brightens a somewhat desolate area.

Sugar and spice turns out an impressive selection of desserts daily. From “pop tarts” to mini cupcakes that incorporate seasonal fruit, there’s certainly no shortage of options. Your eyes dart back and forth at the bronzed pastries perched on candy-colored pedestals to the rows of other cookies and tarts. It’s as dizzying as an antique store – you’re not sure where to start.

The “pop tarts” are reminiscent of the toaster pastry namesake. But, lacking a decent amount of fruit filling and suffering from a dry pastry encasing, these crumble at the seams.  Plus, the severely sweet coating of icing does little to overcome this imbalance.

The cupcakes – offered in mini and standard sizes – are worth sampling as the flavors change daily. My favorite so far: the Elvis, a peanut butter banana cupcake. Talk about a hunk of burning love. I would have bought every last one that day if I hadn’t been so patient and waited to sample it at home, some 10 miles away. But, what make this bakery stand out among the rest for me are the chocolate filled brioche buns. Mmmm. Mmmmm. Mmmmmmmmm.

I can spend hours describing and daydreaming about the perfect day in Paris. But, I have yet to hop the pond. Somehow, though, the Sugar and Spice chocolate brioche bun is as close to that sun soaked stroll through the cobblestone alleyways and along the patiserrie storefronts that I envision is a day in Paris. One bite, and F and 12th Street is a quiet, sedate corner where the light rail is not charging by you at full speed and the city’s troublemakers have found mischief in another part of town.  And, that’s what decadent, sinful dessert is all about: transcendence.

Forget about stocking every sweet morsel imaginable, Sugar and Spice needs to, in the words of the “Project Runway” judges: edit. Edit the menu to showcase the shop’s signature desserts like the chocolate brioche bun. With limited seating and counter space in general, it’s more suited for café staples like crescents, cookies, and cake loaves. People can eat these goods on the go with their hot coffee or tea while cupcakes, frosted pastries, and delicate tartlets are more suited for consumption at a leisurely pace where food can fall onto a plate and not on your suit’s lapel.

Despite any need for minor tweaking, the sweetest thing of all might just be its owner: Carissa Jones. Despite the mess of pans and flour at her workstation, Ms. Jones never fails to cease working and engage in an attentive conversation with you. She’s always excited to tell you about what’s for sale or what she has planned for an upcoming holiday menu. Whatever direction this bakery takes, it’s all the more satisfying to enjoy the goods of a passionately skilled artisan.

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