Thursday, November 21, 2013

My New Favorite Awesomest Thing In The World

Sweet. Potato. Latte.  Awesome.
Get ready for the holidays with my new favorite awesomest thing in the world.

Imagine a classic Thanksgiving sweet potato side dish:  Whipped sweet potatoes covered with melted marshmallows.  Then imagine that as a warm winter drink.

Inspired?  Then go to the new Shilla Bakery on Rte 40 in Ellicott City.  They have all kinds of pastries, cakes, coffees, and other drinks.  But my new crush is the sweet potato latte.

This isn't a latte with a hint of sweet potato.  This is dessert in a paper cup.  Creamy, sweet, actually tasting like someone whipped marshmallow and sweet potato into a warm version of a milk shake.  I loved it.  I didn't need more than a few bites of the other desserts that we had ordered, but the sweet potato latte made my night.

The Shilla Bakery is a really cool place to hang out.  Families.  Teenagers.  Four women sitting at a table with coffees, forks, and a roll of sponge cake.  Everyone can have fun for an afternoon or after dinner.  We recommend the macarons, which have a crunchier exterior than the perfect ones from New York City but that come in a range of interesting flavors.

Sweet potato cake
HowChow regular Min ordered a sweet potato cake from Shilla for a birthday.  She thought it was delicious -- dense in texture, but not overwhelmingly sweet.  She originally thought it was covered in coconut, but that turned out to be finely-grated cake crumbs.

Bon Appetit a little farther west on Rte 40 is a straight-up competition with Shilla.  I need to check out their latte options.  The new Bean & Burgundy Bread has probably triple the space, and they're trying to offer coffee, baked goods, and a bigger savory menu as well.  They're all casual variations that offer a nice way to get out of the house as the weather gets cold.


bmorecupcake said...

Seems like sweet potato is a specialty of sorts at Shilla. I always "sample" the sweet potato pound cake multiple times, but haven't bought a whole loaf yet. (Others aren't too impressed and it's just too big for me alone.)

Anyone like Bon Appetit's version of something over Shilla's, or vice versa? I prefer the tofu sesame snacks at Bon Appetit, and prefer the small round cakes stuffed with walnuts and red beans at Shilla.

dzoey said...

I prefer the baby chou / creme puffs at Bon Appetit. The savory pasteries I've had a Shilla have been really good and they'll warm them up for you. I especially liked spinach croissant and the croquettes (one was filled with Kimchi, maybe?), though the croquettes can be a little greasy, it's good tasting grease :-)

Steffi said...

I'm drinking one right now. Holy crap. It's like heaven in my mouth.

Anonymous said...

I thought the sweet potato latte would be, well, a latte - you know, with coffee in it. It was just steamed milk with sweet potato. It was pretty disappointing. I added coffee to it when I got home and it improved the taste. I imagine adding a shot of espresso to it (and making it an actual latte) would make it 10 times better. I thought they forgot to add the espresso when they made it, but from HowChow's description it sounds like it's not an ingredient to begin with.

Bill said...

I tried a loaf of the sweet potato pound cake and it was indeed right tasty, kind of like pound cake with chunks of sweet potato paste in it. Any questions about ingredients, however, were laid to rest by the nutrition label, which I quote here in its entirety: "Confectionery be made of selected materials the original handmade."