Posted on January 22, 2012
There’s almost nothing better than a birthday party…. To me, the only thing that beats celebrating a new year of life is eating yummy, delicious, melt-in-your-mouth birthday cake…. And so in this vein, here are a few of my thoughts on where to go for birthday cake fun in the ‘burbs:
- Party Favors, Brookline, MA – this was my first introduction to birthday cake fun in the ‘burbs (pictured right). When I first moved to Weston, I learned about Party Favors, and once I sampled the icing, I was a convert. I would venture to Coolidge Corner – a 20-25 minute drive from Weston – to pick up the cakes and not give it a second’s thought. But now as life gets more and more busy with each passing minute, I tend to order cakes a bit more locally.
- Ben & Jerry’s, Natick, MA – ice cream cakes are always a great way to celebrate a birthday, and we all know the fabulous taste and quality of Ben & Jerry’s. Choose from such favorites as “Groovy Tie-Dye,” “Sweet Cream and Cookies,” and “Chocolate Fudge Brownie” or design your own custom cake.
- The Cheescake Factory, Natick and Chestnut Hill, MA – my favorite cake is carrot cake, and The Cheesecake Factory has the best carrot cake ever (pictured right). Once my Mom was visiting from Baltimore, and ordered a Cheesecake Factory Carrot Cake for my birthday. I was ecstatic until I saw that the calorie count for one piece was more than 1,500 calories – I think that’s almost a full day of calories??!! Ouch. Now I try to eat this carrot cake a bit more sparingly.
- The Icing on the Cake, Newton, MA – the decorations and graphics on these cakes are over the top. I have never seen such creative designs, which can be as custom as you’d like. You may remember that we ordered a ginger bread house from Icing on the Cake over the holidays. The kids decorated it with icing, candy and little cookies which came with the house, and they had so much fun. This will definitely be a tradition for us from now on…..
- Quebrada Baking Company, Wellesley, MA – conveniently located off of Route 9 in Wellesley Hills, the cakes here are always delicious and worth the stop. Cake options vary from Layer Cakes and Tortes to Boston Cream Pies and Fresh Strawberry Cakes.
- Susu Bakery, Wellesley, MA – There are several kinds of cakes from which to choose – Chocolate, Buttermilk, Carrot and Coconut – as well as many offerings for fillings and icings, including raspberry buttercream, lemon curd, cream cheese and mocha. A few years ago, a friend’s daughter and her fiance designed their own engagement cake at Susu’s. How special….
Then there are many supermarkets in the area that offer delicious cakes, which can often be less expensive. Some of the supermarkets that I frequent in the area for yummy cakes are Omni Foods Supermarkets in Weston, Roche Brothers in Wellesley, Whole Foods in Wellesley and Shaw’s in Newton. And there is always Costco in Waltham, which has adorable, large sheet cakes that are perfect for big parties.
But maybe the best birthday cakes of all are the ones that Elaine, Susan and Betsy of Pinnacle Residential Properties make for us on our birthdays. In fact, the irony of this is that in googling*, “birthday cakes, wellesley ma,” guess what was in the #1 spot? Believe it or not, it was Pinnacle Residential Properties…. The coconut and chocolate cakes – not to mention the accompanying flavors of ice cream – that our fearless leader (Elaine) and talented colleagues (Susan and Betsy) make are second to none. We all feel very lucky to be part of the Pinnacle family, especially on our birthdays….
But these are just my thoughts, and I am curious to get yours. Where do you go for birthday cake fun in the ‘burbs? I can’t wait to hear….
* When I googled this last night, January 21, 2012, Pinnacle was in the top spot. But in googling this tonight, January 22, 2012, it doesn’t appear in the first spot. I guess that’s the Internet – queries can change on a dime….
Posted on July 9, 2011
One of the questions that my buyer clients, who are new to the area, consistently ask me is, “What is the closest supermarket to my new house?” And the next question typically is, “Which supermarket do you use most?” So I thought it would be fun to dish on a variety* of the supermarkets in Weston, Wellesley and the surrounding towns:
- Omni Foods Supermarket, 21 Center Street, (781) 894-0675 – located in Weston’s town center, I use this when I am right in the vicinity and need a few things. It is a bit more costly than the Shaw’s/Star Market in Auburndale that I frequent (see comments below), and the selection of foods is not as extensive.
- Fells Market, 326 Weston Road, (781) 235-1555 – my friend, M.A., who lives in Wellesley raves about this “neighborhood store that has all the basics, plus amazing steak tips, marinated chicken breasts, and bread so fresh you should buy two loaves – one to eat on the way home and another one for dinner. Locally owned and an amazing community asset for those on the Weston Road side of town.”
- Roche Brothers, 184 Linden Street, (781) 237-2115 – this supermarket is fabulous, fresh and fun, and it has absolutely everything. For me, though, the parking can be difficult, and it’s quite social – which can be challenging when time is of the essence, and this is usually the case for me.
- Whole Food s Market, 278 Washington Street, (781) 235-7262 – the tag line for Whole Foods is “Selling the Highest Quality Natural and Organic Products,” and that really says it all. This particular location is smaller than the Wayland Whole Foods (see below), but the produce is awesome, and besides being natural and organic, the food is quite gourmet too. It’s also more pricey than many of the other supermarkets. (Note that this Whole Foods will soon be relocating to a brand new building at 442 Washington Street, which ironically was once the home of the Wellesley Star Market that is no longer.)
- Donelan’s Supermarket, 177 Commonwealth Road, (508) 653-5881 – this is a family-run market that is conveniently located right off of Route 30. It was updated in the last several years and has a nice, manageable feel to it.
- Whole Foods Market, 317 Boston Post Rd, (508) 358-7700 – If you are looking for a Whole Foods with an extensive selection of foods, this is it.
- Costco, 71 Second Avenue, (781) 622-3883 - need I say more…. It’s Costco, and it’s great to have one so close. Of note, Home Depot is just a hop, skip and a jump away, so you can hit both at the same time if need be.
- Hannaford Supermarket, 55 Russell Street, (781) 893-6776 – every time I go here, I love it, but it’s just a bit further from my house, and so I don’t often make it there. The variety and array of foods and produce is fabulous.
- Shaw’s, 130 River Street, (781) 647-5341 - this is on the Watertown side of Waltham, so it’s a longer trip for me, which I don’t often take, but it’s a large Shaw’s so it’s also got a nice selection of items.
- Shaw’s/Star Market, 2040 Commonwealth Avenue, (617) 965-1793 - the reason that this one is on the list is because this is the supermarket that I go to 95% of the time. It’s about 5 minutes from my house, and getting in and out of the supermarket is logistics-free for me, i.e., easy parking, not social so you can get the job done quickly, plus I know where everything is so that helps cut down on time too. The prices are also quite reasonable. On the downside, the produce is not great.
- Roche Brothers, 377 Chestnut Street, (781) 444-0411 – I haven’t been to this Roche Brothers in years, but it’s nice to know there is another one if you happen to be in Needham area.
- Sudbury Farms, 1177 Highland Avenue, (781) 449-9180 – Sudbury Farms is part of the Roche Brothers umbrella. And similar to my comment above, I haven’t been here in years, but I have always liked it when I have shopped there.
- Trader Joe’s, 958 Highland Ave, (781) 449-6993 – this is another “need I say more.” For those who love Trader Joe’s, there’s one right in Needham Heights.
- Roche Brothers, MA Route 135, 150 West Central Street, (508) 655-5540 – See my comments above about the Needham Roche Brothers.
- Super Stop & Shop, 829 Worcester Street, (508) 650-4050 – located right on Route 9 (and Route 27), I shop at this market because it has a “super” selection of foods. When I can’t find something at Shaw’s/Star Market in Auburndale, Super Stop & Shop in Natick seems to have it.
- Donelan’s Supermarket, Lincoln Station, (781) 259-259-0144 - this Donelan’s, which was completely renovated in 2009, is temporarily closed due to a roof collapse from this winter’s snow.
Which of these supermarkets do you prefer? And what are your thoughts on them? Do you have any to add to the list? I can’t wait to hear….
* Note that I have not included every supermarket in the above towns.