There’s been tremendous buzz about Megan Romano’s Chocolate & Spice Bakery since it opened a few months ago. Chef Romano brings quite a resume to her new neighborhood bakery, having spent a dozen years as the pastry chef at Aureole at Mandalay Bay and being named Desert Companion‘s Pastry Chef of the Year 2011.
The shop, easy to get to off of West Sahara, doesn’t look like much on the outside. Inside, though, it’s bright and colorful with large, handpainted purple scrolls on the walls, modern four-seat tables, and conversation areas flanked by zebra-striped overstuffed chairs.
Along the back wall, shelves are filled bags of the signature goodies that Romano sells in other local cafes around town.
The glass cases at the counter are stuffed with sweet and savory items, many of which you can take to go. There’s even a small selection of ice cream. There is plenty to choose from but not so much that you feel overwhelmed. Prices are in line with Starbucks and other similar purveyors.
I visited twice in the same week: once on a weekday morning for a business meeting and once on a Friday evening to catch up with a girlfriend. Friday evening, I went for the roasted veggie frittata which came in an eggwhite version. It was served with a side of pesto sauce and was absolutely scrumptious. I paired it with a glass of unsweeetened iced green tea. My girlfriend had quiche, which looked yummy, too.
On my morning visit, I indulged in an individual banana cream pie. The filling was wonderfully creamy, and the bananas were not, delightfully, at all mushy. The crust was a little hard to break into, but the flakiness was just right once I was able to fork it up. I countered the sweet rush with a bracing cup of hot Earl Grey tea.
Chocolate & Spice Bakery is a comfortable place that isn’t at all stuffy but makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a world slightly apart from the day-to-day grind. I can’t wait to bring Mike and my other girlfriends here. I’ve also added Romano’s cookbook, “It’s a Sweet Life”, to my Amazon.com wish list.