What led me to Italia Bakery was a post done by Phyllis of Me Hungry!. Phyllis is a Vancouverite who currently lives in New York. The pastries that she featured in her Cake Boss Carlos post made me wish for a bakery like that in Vancouver!
I'd heard about NYCs famous "lobster tail" pastries (named so for their appearance, and not their flavour!) when I saw a segment on the Cake Boss on foodtv. The lobster tails, similar to a pastry known as sfogliatella, are flakey and crunchy like the sfogliatella, but unlike the latter, is filled with creamy French custard, whereas the sfogliatella is filled with a ricotta-based filling.
Watching that segment already made me wish I could eat some NYC pastries, but Phyllis' post made me want it even more! I found out that Italia bakery made some amazing lobster tails, so I dropped by one day to pick some up. Unfortunately, I arrived to late and all that were left were two mini versions.
"I'll take them both!" I said to the lady behind the counter. "And a copenhagen, please."
And then I left, to be shunned by all the Hastings traffic since Olympic-dedicated lane forced regular traffic to be limited to two lanes.
The verdict? While the mini lobster tails were cute and compact (about two square inches), and very crisp and yummy - M says that after taking the photos I hovered over the pastries, coveting them like Gollum coveted his ring. I didn't notice that he had crept up beside me, I was so focused on the pastry! The mini lobster tails, while representative of what I imagine Cake Boss to make, was only common in the pastry. The filling of the pastry purchased from Italia Bakery was a more solid almond paste-based filling, similar to the layer on the copenhagen pastry that I purchased. It was not the creamy filling I was expecting.
While both were good (and I would purchase either of them again!), I'm going to either arrive earlier or reserve some regular-sized lobster tails for next time. Perhaps the larger version has the creamy filling I'm looking for?
Amen to Italia Bakery though! Lord knows they excel at what they do, and parking is easy to find! With the copenhagens and the canolis, I know where to get pastries for future dinner parties!
2828 East Hastings Street