LiLLiPiES (photos below) has just opened in the Princeton Shopping Center and life is all the sweeter for it. Owner Jen Carson has been building her customer base for years, through special orders, farmers markets, and sales to area eateries (listed on her website), and you can learn all about her background in Pat Tanner’s excellent article in the June Princeton Echo. Ms. Carson can now be considered an alumna of the Cooperative Kitchen up on Route 206 that has served as a culinary incubator for so long.
You’ll find LiLLiPiES bakery and cafe in the breezeway in the center of the Shopping Center along the Harrison Street side, right across from The Taco Truck. The space was most recently a children’s clothing store, but years before that it was a women’s Honeybee store that yours truly managed for a couple of years. It’s a great corner space (with a second door on the courtyard side), with tables outside and inside.
Right now the menu has, in addition to sourdough bread and baked goods, breakfast sandwiches (all day) made with her English muffins or biscuits and many local ingredients, oatmeal, waffles, focaccia sandwiches, and rolls with hot dogs or local sausage baked inside (kids of all ages will love this spot). Coffee is from small world and ice cream from the bent spoon, so the lower case side of local fare is covered. There is frozen hot chocolate, and tea, iced or hot. House made soups and grilled cheese will be added soon, as she ramps up her menu (and maybe it cools off a little). I swung by on opening day and selected several items to take home (which – full disclosure – she flat-out refused to charge me for).
I’d been wanting to try her English muffins, so got two kinds, plain and a version with dried cranberries that is coated with rolled oats. That was unusual for me, as I’m one of those people who prefers plain English muffins. (Just as with bagels, although I don’t mind an everything bagel, but that’s just crunchy stuff on the outside). LilliPiES’ cranberry English muffin is fantastic! I had one yesterday, and the other today, and the plain ones went into the freezer for the next time I make eggs Benedict, one of my breakfast-for-dinner favorites. (Usually I use Trader Joe’s whole wheat muffins, which have always seemed just a bit too small at dinner.)
I also selected four sweets, pictured in the pastry box below, a chocolate Dinky sandwich cake, a tiny peach pie, a tiny chocolate pie, and a chocolate hand pie. (I didn’t indulge in muffins or donuts on this visit, but she’s got both.)
Oh, the unbearable lightness of the Dinky Sandwich Cake…it really is (er, was) exquisite, and I loved the fine sugar that coated it. (I rather regretted that I’d offered to share!) This dreamy concoction of light-as-air cake sandwiching a layer of piped whipped cream, comes in vanilla too, but I’m a chocolate girl at heart. The miniature peach pie – and these tiny pies are the original LiLLiPiES – was also delicious, I’ve had them through the years and always enjoyed the somewhat cakey (shortbread?) bottom crust and the light streusel topping. And the filling is never too sweet, so the (often local) fruit shines. I haven’t had the other two (chocolate) items yet, but will likely polish them off today and (maybe) tomorrow.
As I stood at the counter of the bakery, there was a constant stream of well-wishers and eager parents (and children) coming through the doors. We really have lacked a bakery in Princeton, or at least one with easy parking and room to sit and enjoy. Clearly this will be a popular addition to the Princeton Shopping Center, as Princeton’s favorite baker enters the retail scene. Welcome and congratulations to Jen Carson and LiLLiPiES, we needed this!