It's been a banner year for excellent new bakeries here in New York City, from Partybus to Fabrique, Ole and Steen to Millers and Makers. But with one day to go in 2019, there's still time to add another to the list, a cafe and pastry shop that also shines as a burrito joint and an herbal tea hideaway — that's The Awkward Scone, which is located on the Bed-Stuy-Bushwick border.
In fact, this place may well be right at the top of the list. Opened a couple of months ago by co-owners and -bakers Eric See and Erin Emmett, The Awkward Scone sits in the shadows of the elevated on that hyper-developing stretch of Broadway near Myrtle Avenue. And unlike some of the newer establishments on this route, Emmett and See are working hard to make The Awkward Scone a community space, with exhibitions of local artists, an aggressive give-back program to LGBTQ organizations, and a menu designed to provide multiple entry points for anyone walking by.
That See and Emmett simultaneously run a catering company out of the large open kitchen in the back, called Leopard and Pear (which has an emphasis on experimentation), also ensures that there's no shortage of fun, interesting ideas going on in the pastry case. On a recent visit, for example, the namesake, not-at-all-awkward scones could be had in flavors such as Maple Chestnut, Blue Corn Almond, Hatch Chili and Cheese, and Matcha White Chocolate Peppermint. This latter also happened to be gluten free, and was phenomenally good, as was the Hatch Chili variety. Just the perfect texture and balance of dough, filling, and topping.
Those Hatch Chilis also figure heavily in The Awkward Scone's breakfast burrito program. See grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and is obsessed with recreating the flavors of his youth, so these plump beauties are stuffed and rolled the night before so they can properly marinate before getting cast-iron griddled, and the flour tortillas, which at first See was making from scratch until he realized how insane his daily workload would be, are shipped in from out west.
Most important, the hatch chilis, both red and green, come from New Mexico—See told me he just brought 40 pounds of them in his luggage back from his Christmas visit home—and are deployed with abandon. I gleefully wolfed down the a burrito featuring chorizo, eggs, red hatch chilis, cheddar, and hash browns, and would do so every morning for the rest of my life if that were at all a feasible option.
There's also a green chili and bacon burrito available, and a vegan variety as well, and all three are sold every day until either 11:30 a.m. or when they run out. A breakfast sandwich on homemade brioche rounds out the morning menu. The lunch sandwiches again feature the hatch chilis, on a Turkey BLT, a Roasted Sweet Potato concoction on pretzel bread, and a vegan beast involving Roasted Cauliflower on focaccia.
The pastry case has a dozen or so choices, mostly sweet but some savory, including tubular Prosciutto Pretzel rolls, an Artichoke, Tomato and Ricotta Galette, a trio of glazed or sugared Cider Donuts, some powdered, gooey Rum Cake, a first rate Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookie, and slabs of spectacular Turmeric Lemon Poppy Loaf with passionfruit icing. And, of course, there's See's semi-famous Rainbow Cake, a dense dessert that's lovely to look at, lovely to eat, and lovely because a portion of all sales go to LGBTQ charities.
Stumptown provides the coffee, and there are all sorts of exotic-sounding teas, tea lattes, and infusions. There are art works hung prominently throughout the space, tons of plant life, and the bathroom, located down a long corridor parallel to the kitchen, features an impressive collection of kitschy southwestern memorabilia. Eventually a patio in the backyard will complete the space.
The Awkward Scone is located at 1022 Broadway, between Willoughby Avenue and Suydam Street, and is open on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on weekends from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (505-385-1952; theawkwardscone.com)