Batches, the brainchild of Dandan pastry chef Jaceleen Latin-Kasper, officially opens tomorrow, Feb. 13.
Our intrepid dining critic, Ann Christenson, couldn’t get to the bakery for its soft opening over the weekend, so I volunteered to take her place and sample some of its offerings instead (much like Katniss in The Hunger Games – I’m a truly selfless individual).
The small storefront, located in the Third Ward’s Domus building, at 401 E. Erie, is inviting. A mural decorated with daubs of candy-colored paint greets visitors, trailing plants hang from the ceiling and kitschy knickknacks – garden gnomes, cookie jars – enliven the cutlery station. But the baked goods commanded most of my attention, especially the homemade candy bars winking at me from behind the pastry case.
The menu leans heavily toward the sweet end of the spectrum, but savory scones and breakfast casseroles were available when I visited. And Latin-Kasper says she’ll begin selling grab-and-go lunch items in the coming months too.
After much hemming and hawing, my dining companion and I decided to order the tater tot casserole, cheddar and chive scone, PB&J muffin and confetti cookie (I was tempted to order a slice of cake too but figured I should save a little something for the rest of the customers). Here are my thoughts on each:
The Tater Tot Casserole, $3.50. The casserole was served hot, strands of melted cheese trailing from its egg-y interior when I dug into it. Think of it as a traditional French quiche stuffed with a decidedly less traditional American breakfast staple. It was hearty, but not too heavy, and I’d happily order it again.
The Cheddar and Chive Scone, $3. I could count the number of scones I’ve eaten on one hand. Mainly because I tended to think of them as denser biscuits, synonymous with words like dry and flavorless. But this little bundle of love has inspired me to give them a second chance. The cheddar and chives were well-distributed throughout, so that I got a little of both in each bite. And the interior was light and flaky, while the exterior was satisfyingly crisp.
The PB&J Muffin, $3. This wasn’t a favorite. I liked the topping – the gooey jam and the nutty crumble paired beautifully. But the muffin itself was dense and not especially flavorful. Better than your basic, quick mix muffin but not nearly as good as my beloved scone.
The Confetti Cookie, $2.50. Another stunner. I ordered this one mainly because I thought it would make for a good Instagram photo (don’t judge me if you’re reading this, Ann), but it tasted even better than it looked. It reminded me a little of cookie recipes I’ve doctored by adding pudding or cake mix to the batter. But much better. It was rich and fluffy and an all-around winner.
All in all, Batches is a welcome, and delicious, addition to the Third Ward’s retail corridor, and I’ll be back very soon (realistically, tomorrow) to try more of its menu items.
The bakery will be open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays.