Nothing to do with Napoleon Bonaparte
2700 Lorain Ave
2 blocks west of the West Side Market
W-F 9-4, Sat 9-2
special orders made in advance on other days
I had a late plane out of Cleveland, and it had become later and later, and I could have had a great night on the town, the plane was so late, but that is another story. Because I had a late plane, I had time to head to the West Side Market for snacks and a late lunch, so I called up my long time buddy, who works in downtown Cleveland, to come meet me for a long lunch. My buddy has lived in Cleveland for about 20 years, and her husband was born and raised in Cleveland, so they know their way around this town. We met for lunch, and since I mentioned I had plenty of time before heading off to catch my Late late plane, I could do something else. A sparkle came to my buddy's sweet tooth, and she said, "follow me!" We walked through a block of the trendy restaurants including the Great Lakes Brewing Company (well not trendy, but great locally brewed beer), and the Flying Fig, and come out on Lorain Rd. And then, there it was, the most unimpressive store front you could ever imagine.
My buddy said, "We are going to have dessert, and here we are!" Where were we? We got to Farkas Pastry Shoppe. So we walk into this door in an old building with no air conditioning. I look around, there is one table, a counter, and a couple people tossing around dough and flour while wearing their off-white industrial aprons. Again, completely underwhelmed visually, but I was guessing that there was little energy put into decor, and a lot more energy put into the desserts. I was right, and desserts here are delicious!!
My buddy is quite familiar with this pastry shop because her husband went to school right around the corner from this shop, and she has been coming to this place ever since she moved to Cleveland. One time, long ago, at some sort of PTA event, she was slated to bring a dessert, and she brought a sheet of Farkas Napoleons, and they were a big hit, so from then on, she has been designated the dessert lady, and always told to bring the Farkas Napoleons.
One of the bakers come to the counter and asked what we would like. Napoleons for everyone! We got a complimentary cup of coffee, and sat down a the one table. The baker cut pieces of Napoleon for us and then topped it with a little powdered sugar. The Napoleon had a flaky multi-layer pastry top to it, a layer of creme, a layer of vanilla creme, and a base of more flaky pastry. Oh, the pastry layers had such a nice crispy thin crunch to it which contrasted well with the smooth coolness of the creme layers. Both creme layers were extremely light and just melted in my mouth. The creme and pastry were not overly sweet, just the way I like it. This was the perfect dessert for less than $3. The Napoleon was so good, and I wanted to bring some more Farkas desserts home with me, but the Napoleon would not travel well. I then opted for the Linzer torte inspired cake. I got 2 pieces of the raspberry linzer torte made with linzer dough and raspberry filling, and then topped with hazelnut cake. Each large square was less than $2, and it too was delicious!
So, again, just like Jolly Donut in Sandusky, OH, don't judge a book by its cover. Neither Jolly Donut, nor Farkas Pastry Shoppe store fronts look like much at all, and I would have passed by both of them (and have) without given each a second thought. Well, I know better now. Farkas Pastries are really nice pastries. If you find yourself at Cleveland's West Side Market, make sure you take a walk 2 blocks west on Lorain Rd, and get yourself a European pastry treat.
Labels: Cleveland Eats