Monday, January 25, 2010

Visiting the Cake Boss: Carlo's Bakery, Hoboken NJ

Over the weekend, we thought we'd take a drive up to Hoboken (our old neighborhood) and see what the Cake Boss was up to.

The massive line up outside
Carlo's Bakery at 5:30 pm on Saturday evening:

More chaos inside:

Apparently it could have been much worse, Kris' coworker Pete says that sometimes the line up gets so long it wraps around the entire block. Crowds can also get riotous during the occasional Buddy-sighting.

Despite a TLC disclaimer posted on the front door, we didn't see any cameras around during our visit. Once inside, a bakery employee hands you a number, followed by 25 minutes of standing uncomfortably crammed shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers. At least there were some pretty cakes to stare at during our wait:

I couldn't help recalling how different it was 8 years ago, when we used to walk by Carlo's everyday during our commute to NYC. Very quiet, no crowds, just a non-descript Italian bakery. We occasionally stopped by after dinner for some tiramisu, and even contemplated ordering our wedding cake from there after noticing the cake displays in the window.

During our visit on Saturday, the bakery staff were suprisingly unphased by the crazy crowds, super friendly and very efficient. And though we didn't get to see Buddy (he was in a meeting, according to his sister Mary), we still left happily carrying $25 worth of goodies.

chocolate and raspberry rugelach (buttery creamy deliciousness):

mini cannolis (filling was perfection - with a hint of vanilla/cinnamon/citron and the occasional chocolate chip, shells stayed really crisp even after 2 hours), small 'lobster tail' (flaky, crunchy pastry shell filled with a thick custard whipped cream), & chocolate hazelnut biscotti (chocolaty, packed with hazelnuts):

linzer tart (crumbly buttery cookie, generously filled with raspberry jam):

rainbow cookies (raspberry jam between layers, frosted with chocolate on both top and bottom):

Have to admit we were a little disappointed in the rainbow cookies - at $18.95/lb, the cake layers were a bit dry and didn't contain enough almond flavor. I also prefer versions that contain both apricot and raspberry jam (Carlo's only uses raspberry). But they get major bonus points for actually doing a labor-intensive 7-layer version (5 layers of cake, 2 layers of chocolate), as most bakeries only do 3 layers of cake and a layer of chocolate on top.

Overall, a fun and delicious experience at Carlo's Bakery, totally worth the 'designer' prices and the wait (and the $10 we spent for parking after being at the bakery for over an hour).

Carlo's Bakery
95 Washington Street
Hoboken, NJ 07030
(201) 659-3671