It’s no big surprise that I love sweets. And I know I was trying to keep this blog purely about reading and movies and television, but you know…it does KIND OF fall into that vein (all will be explained momentarily). A very large portion of my family is from the south, North Carolina to be more specific, so I’ve grown up loving southern food. To this day I don’t think there’s any cruddy mood that can’t be fixed with some cornbread or grits, or some spectacular barbecue? You know, that salty pulled pork that melts in your mouth and takes you right on down to where people are just more friendly and the food is rib sticking delicious. Oh and the sweets? Many a summer spent chowing down on the good stuff visiting family.
It’s also not big news that I am A HUGE fan of Pauley Perette and have been for quite some time. Now I know you’re probably wondering what the heck I’m getting at, at sitting there begging for me to get to the point. So. I will.
I was in New York for a short time this weekend, and got the chance (well okay when I knew I was going in I wanted to make this specific stop) to visit Donna Bell’s Bake Shop on West 49th. If you have never heard of it, a.) you are SERIOUSLY missing out b.) see a. The shop is owned by Pauley Perette (see how this fits now?) and her two best friends. You can check them out online at donnabellsbakeshop.com and I say do that, the menu is awesome. You’ll be drooling just staring at it.
One thing I have to give this place is the friendly staff. When I went in I was helped by one of the owners, Darren. He was a complete and utter delight. Having been in the food service industry myself for the longest time (and only recently getting back into it after a few year hiatus) I’m used to that sort of spiky personality. The one that says “Just frakkin’ order and hurry it up will you?”. I never know what to expect, and I tend to keep my guard up and not show the friendlier side to me, just in case.
But when I walked into Donna Bell’s I felt like I was in a family kitchen. It wasn’t anything anyone said, it was just a feeling. Like the feeling you get when you walk into your grandmother’s house and smell bacon on a sunday morning. I was so immediately relaxed that I started gushing to my friends about how excited I was to be there, and how good everything looked and that I wanted to take home one of everything. (Which I sadly couldn’t because we were on our way out to dinner).
After milling about for a little while, we got to placing our orders. And we ended up chatting with Darren for a few minutes. I (completely unable to keep my cool and be a normal person) gushed about how much I loved Pauley Perette and was so excited to be in the bakery, and how nice he was. And how everything looked delicious. This came all out in probably one breathless stream of words. Not only did he not call me crazy, he engaged in the conversation. We chatted for a while. He was quite possibly the NICEST person I have ever met. I have to say it was just so easy to chat with him. He told us a little more about the bakery, let us take a picture inside (because I was so giddy that I was actually there), with a promo picture of Pauley. Now, I’m sure my friend thought it was cheesy (nothing new, I’m a huge dork/nerd/ball of cheese) but I was ready to break out into song and dance.
Now, don’t think it’s my pre-disposed bias that’s making me give this place a good review. I’ve been to other places that I have either personally known the owner, or knew of them and liked them- and its been a terrible experience. Nearly 10 years in food service lets you, while being a gushing fan-girl, objectively judge a place and its staff. There was nothing to judge at Donna Bell’s. It was a singularly pleasing experience that I wish I still lived in NJ so I could go there more often.
I got a chocolate cream pie which I ended up not eating until the next night after stupidly on my part letting it sit out all day- and it was still good so I can only IMAGINE what deliciousness would have danced on my tongue had I not left it sitting on the counter overnight. I’d go back again in a heartbeat. I’d recommend it to anyone visiting New York in a heartbeat. In fact, I’ll do it now. If you’re in New York GO! You won’t regret it. Great staff and great food. You really can’t beat that.
So my hat goes off to you Pauley, Matthew and Darren; for opening a wonderful business that brings southern hospitality (and the food. dear god the food) to a place full of hectic chaos and rush. With your food and friendly atmosphere it allows us all to slow down a step and enjoy the finer things. Food born philosophy. I will be back to your wonderful establishment and I will tell everyone I can to go there as well. Below are the two pictures from my excursion. (I’m the one in the banana yellow coat btw.)