Mirabelles Cafe - Back for Seconds

Well, I ended up taking another day trip to Burlington, this time on a Saturday. Turns out I should've shown you guys footage of a Saturday the first time, it's so much more alive and bustling, with street performers, live music, food carts, and cute doggies everywhere you look. I even found a space drum performer, which just shows how cool Burlington is.

Here's the space drum performance. Space drums make really beautiful music, check out my video from this trip to hear it.

Here are the treats I picked at Mirabelles: a raspberry pistachio eclair, and strawberry napoleon, and a mini opera cake. The eclair had a little bit of raspberry custard, a whole lot of barely-pistachio flavored chantilly cream, and a single raspberry. From what I've heard, eclairs (and anything else using choux puff) should be eaten as soon as they're made, or should only be filled upon order, otherwise they get soft. This one was not filled to order, and even though it had good fillings and tasted good overall, the choux puff was pretty meh. The opera cake siting next to it was heavy on the buttercream, but for all I know, that's how it's supposed to be. If you like coffee and chocolate, you'll like opera cake a lot. The napoleon's puff pastry layers were just underbaked enough that, instead of easily flaking them apart, I spent an embarrassing amount of time hacking at them with my plastic knife and fork, to the great amusement of the lady sitting next to me. It's also possible they weren't underbaked, and instead just lost their crisp from sitting too long with the fillings already applied. You all should remember, though, that I am great at being snobby about pastry, so even if I'm pointing out all the imperfections, please realize that these were still pretty darn good desserts.

What are your experiences with eclairs, opera cake, and napoleons? Know of anywhere that makes really good ones? Have you heard space drum music before? Comment down below and let me know!

Mirabelles Cafe - Back for Seconds (Video)


Double Bakery Run in Burlington, VT

      Burlington is the only thing in Vermont big enough to be called a city, and it's actually a pretty cool one. It's cute, but not quaint in the way all Vermont towns are. Being about the same size as my hometown, but a lot more diverse and fun, I've taken enough hour-long bus rides up there to find a couple good bakeries, and a few days ago I took a birthday trip up to visit an old favorite, and a new find.

These are the two pastries I tried at the new-to-me bakery, August First. The sugar-covered one was a Cardamom Knot, which was decent but lacking flavor and kind of dry. The second one hiding in the blurry background is an Almond Croissant (shaped un-traditionally though) that tasted like it was at least a day old already (for more and much clearer shots, see my video). I know I shouldn't judge a place based only on two pastries, especially considering they had such a wide variety, but I don't think I'll be going back. All in all, better variety and flavor options than your average American-style bakery, but still in the category of a quantity-and-sweetness-over-quality-and-taste kind of place.

The second one is my old favorite, Mirabelles Cafe & Bakery, where I decided on a Coconut Lime Slice and a Pistachio Macaron. The cake was a solid 4 out of 5: the coconut cake layers were soaked in a bit of coconut syrup, with lime curd in between and whipped cream around the whole thing. It wasn't moist enough that I could eat it without an accompanying drink, but I would still recommend it. (They do have other cakes that are perfectly moist though, like my all-time favorite, the Creme Brulee Cake). The macaron was incredible. I've never had a good macaron before, and so I always assumed they'd be too sweet, but this was AWESOME. A good balance of textures, with the meringue parts being chewy inside and a little crisp outside, and the ground nuts giving it some body and density. The buttercream was made right and had good flavor, though even a pastry nerd like me can't tolerate more than a little of that stuff, since it's pretty much lightly-sweetened fluffy butter.

So if you ever want to try a bakery in Burlington, I'd say go to Mirabelles Cafe and get a macaron, and a slice of my all-time favorite, the Creme Brulee Cake.

Do you guys have any favorite bakeries or dessert shops in Vermont? Know of any place (anywhere) that makes amazing coconut lime cake or macarons? Feel free to comment and let me know!

A Double Bakery Run in Burlington, VT (Video)