Oct 2010

Mike’s Pastry – Boston

Mike's Pastries - Boston

Following our spectacular seafood lunch at Neptune Oyster, The Astronomer, Rosalind, and I walked to Mike’s Pastry for dessert. While it is considered something of a tourist trap by the local set, a trip to the North End didn’t seem complete without a cannoli fix to finish.

I breathed a sigh of relief as we approached the store and saw that there wasn’t a line snaking out the door. As one of the city’s most popular cannoli purveyors, along with Modern Pastry down the street, Mike’s is usually chaotic at all hours of the day. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case this afternoon.

Mike's Pastries - Boston

The shop sells everything under the sugary sun from pies to cakes to cookies. There’s even a selection of  precious little fruits made of marzipan. A few treats on display had our eyes and stomachs wandering, but we stuck with our initial game plan.

At Mike’s, the classic Sicilian pastries come piped with either ricotta cheese, custard, or chocolate cream, while the deep-fried pastry shells are either left plain, dipped in chocolate, or crusted with peanut brittle. A number of special fillings were also available on our visit including lobstertail cream, amaretto, hazelnut, espresso, and chocolate ricotta. Somehow, we managed to agree on one flavor from the bevy of permutations available.

Mike's Pastries - Boston

The Florentine ricotta cannolo consisted of a candied peanut brittle shell filled with sweet ricotta cream and accented with mini chocolate chips. The pastry seemed like a perfectly fine choice based on its appearance, but after a few bites, all three of us were completely overwhelmed by its unrelenting sweetness. Furthermore, the double punch of chocolate chips and peanut brittle drowned out the filling’s subtle flavor. It was a swing and a miss.

Mike's Pastries - Boston

Although we didn’t plan on ordering a second cannolo, it was absolutely necessary after the first one failed us. This time around, we kept it simple and chose a plain shell filled with ricotta. This combination didn’t hit it out of the ballpark either, but it was more palatable than the last one and gave us a truer sense of what a cannolo entailed. All three of us agreed that we would’ve warmed up to the pastry a bit more had it not been so large. I appreciate a sugar rush as much as the next gal, but these giant cigars were too much even for me.

I was a tourist. And I walked into a trap. Oh, well.

Mike’s Pastry
300 Hanover Street
Boston, MA 02113
Phone: 617-742-3050

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14 thoughts on “Mike’s Pastry – Boston

  1. Oh that’s too bad! You know, I really liked Mike’s! I had the pistachio cannoli (made with ricotta filling) and it was amazing. Not too sweet, which is gross. But then again, I am no cannoli expert – I’ve just had a lot of soggy over sweet ones before. Which is double gross.

  2. Anna Banana – It’s a distinct possibility that I might not be a cannoli kind of girl. Divided by three, the amount of cream was still too much. Then again, my Italian friend said that she’s yet to encounter an “authentic” Sicilian version on U.S. soil. So, maybe I’m just not down with American-Italian cannoli. Either way, I’m glad to hear you had a great Mike experience! I wish he made a miniature version 😉 That would solve all my complaints!

  3. Great pictures Cathy! We also paid Mike’s Pastry a visit when we were in Boston =) and it was super busy. It was over 5 years ago – I think we got the pistachio cannoli and I think we enjoyed it =)

  4. When I lived in Boston, I loved Mike’s. And at that time it felt a lot more local (no lines, for one thing). Sometimes, in the evening, there would be large limousines outside, with *very* large “drivers” leaning against the car, waiting for whomever.

    But I never ate cannoli there. Only cookies and marzipan. Their marzipan case is really amazing – the most elaborate I’ve seen in the US.

  5. I’m also a fan of Modern over Mikes and am also not a big cannoli fan (but once very few years they taste just right!)… They always freshly fill them and their ricotta filling is just right. next time!

  6. I’ve never rally had cannoli. I don’t think? I’m not really excited about ricotta for dessert though. Great in lasagna, fabulous on pizza, splendid in pancakes, but no thanks in my sweets.

  7. It’s always worse when the actual item itself looks gorgeous (like the one with the chocolate chips on it) and it ends up being a huge disappointment. I love cannolis and am trying to find the best one in NYC. Surprisingly, I yelped it and found a great one. Note to self: avoid Mike’s for cannolis.

  8. I’ve never had a good cannolo. Le sigh. One day I’ll make it down to Philly’s Italian market for a good one.

  9. I definitely prefer Modern over Mike’s. Modern fills the cannoli fresh to order. There’s a line, not a mob in front of the counter. I keep it pretty simple, plain shell, ricotta filling and chocolate chips on the end (I can’t resist!).

    Even 1 is a little more than I want, but I can handle it. I couldn’t imagine having a second, even if it was to compensate something lacking in the first.

  10. I too was caught in the tourist trap. We went in with the intention of ordering one or two items but given the wait I had to justify the waiting period by ordering a whole box full of goodies. Evelina and I consumed ~30% of what we bought. Not sure what the hype was about.

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