Photo by Elizabeth Anderson
As I asked the cheery employee about what to buy at Mud Pie Vegan Bakery and Coffeehouse on 39th St., a regular customer spoke up behind me. He was adamant that I had to try the cheddar bagel, claiming he had not once regretted ordering it.
When I glanced at the only bagel left in the case, I was confused at what I saw. A $3 mass of bagel-shaped, golden-brown bread sat at the bottom, covered in what looked like shredded carrots. I figured that must be the cheddar.
Despite the odd appearance, I took the advice of the customer and ordered the cheddar bagel with plain cream cheese and the bakery’s most popular item, according to the staff – the S’mores Bundt Cake for $3.50. To drink, I went with a vanilla latté, made with Mud Pie’s homemade almond milk and delicate leaf latté art for $4.25, which wasn’t bad considering it’s about the same price of my usual grande latté at Starbucks.
My friend and I were pleasantly surprised at all the character in the homey coffeehouse and bakery as we cruised through rooms half-filled with people trying to get work done early on Sunday. The two-story yellow home had seating in every room, including outdoor patio seating enclosed in a classic white picket fence. My favorite spot was up a set of rickety stairs and into a bold yellow room matching the exterior color of the house with an abundance of natural light. It was the perfect spot to relax and sip on my latté.
The latté had a perfect ratio of espresso to almond milk, and the vanilla meshed extremely well with the hint of almond.
Both treats were delicious and entirely vegan. The traditional bagel had a denser interior than I am used to, and the soy-based, vegan cheese tasted unexpectedly normal. Although more sour than normal cream cheese, the vegan version created a silky and smooth texture. After a few bites of the savory bagel, I decided it was time to satisfy my sweet tooth with the S’mores Bundt Cake.
After consuming the personal-sized vegan S’mores Bundt Cake, I will happily choose that cake over any non-vegan chocolate cake. The slightly gooey, all-natural marshmallow rested on top of a thin layer of melted chocolate and dense, rich chocolate cake. The sweet crunch of the crumbled graham crackers and crust pulled all the flavors into one well-balanced masterpiece.
The hospitable employees only added to a relaxed atmosphere of people dispersed throughout the many rooms and the upbeat instrumental music playing the background.
At first look, the white picket fence and yellow home didn’t look like much, but the exquisite flavors and ambience found inside Mud Pie made it truly a hidden gem for everyone, vegan or not.