March 20, 2015

Erin McKenna's Bakery Review (Orlando's Downtown Disney and NYC)

Erin McKenna's Bakery is a vegan & gluten-free bakery that has locations in NYC, Orlando, and LA. It's been on my "restaurant bucketlist" (no, seriously, i have one) for a while!

I went to the one in Downtown Disney (read about my 2 hour trip to get there here!) and my mom went to the one in NYC (best mom ever), and here are my reviews on the store and on the food ;)

Prices: $$
Location: Downtown Disney in Orlando and NYC (one in LA too but I didn't go there)
Portions: Small
Ambiance: The store is has a pink and white theme, which reminded me of Valentine's day ;) The store that I went to in Orlando was very narrow and tight, and my mom reported that the NYC store was very small too, but hey, these small stores pack a big punch of awesome. It's clean, bright, and the decor is simple ;)
Verdict: If I could live here, I would. The baked goods (detailed reviews below) were absolutely amazing and fiy, while I used to like donuts as a kid (i.e. the deep fried, dunkin donuts ones), I've always preferred cake donuts (Dunkin Donuts' pumpkin donut & blueberry cake donut, Terhune Farm's apple cider donut), and the cake donuts here at Erin McKenna's Bakery (the "signature" item) cater to that love of mine ;) The unfortunate part is the cost to size ratio: the items are very tiny but they all cost at least $3.75; what I do really like about Erin McKenna is that she's come out with several cookbooks and a few of her recipes can be found online too! So you can definitely make these treats at home (something I'm gonna try to do tomorrow!), but it's so worth making a trip here too (I would know xD).
I think that anyone, whether or not you have a special diet or allergy (my brother fell IN LOVE with the donuts that my mom bought), would love these, and I highly recommend coming here :)

Now I went to the Downtown Disney one around 8:30 pm, so it's logical to see a lot of empty spots in the display case. There basically wasn't a line at all, and the service was quick and friendly. I chose the Samoa donut and the lemon teacake out of the cookies, donuts, cupcakes, brownies, and bagels offered.

Samoa Donut: by far my favorite out of the four donuts that we've tried! It's not as sweet as you'd expect (the donuts are sweetened with agave nectar) and it doesn't have an overwhelming coconut taste. The chocolate frosting had a unique flavor to it; it didn't stand out to me particularly but this donut as a whole is my favorite! The texture matches that of a cake donut perfectly (well according to my memory); there are fine crumbs but it kept its shape really well too. It makes those Girl Scout cookies look like they were made in an easy-bake oven xD

Lemon Teacake: I watched a few episodes of Kid's Baking Challenge on Food Network, and one of the judges, Valerie Bertinelli, looves anything lemon flavored. She'd love this ;) I kept thinking about how much my brother would like this too, since he loves lemon as well. The cake really does have a lemon-y taste and I think it would taste great without the frosting, but the frosting really does complete the taste: the frosting has a much brighter lemon flavor and it complements the rich texture of the cake. Speaking of texture, the teacake reminds me a lot of a pound cake but it's a bit more crumbly and not as heavy/dense (a good thing). I actually really like this as well ;)

(left to right) apple blueberry donut, chocolate frosted donut, berry donut
(front) brownie

Apple Blueberry Donut: Probably my least favorite but it wasn't bad. There were real chunks of blueberries and apples in the donut but the glaze was a little too sticky. My mom, brother, and I weren't the biggest fans flavor-wise; it was very mellow and tasted like a true apple muffin: subtle apple flavor. This donut was the most crumbly and it didn't hold very well, probably due to the apple chunks. All in all, it was a good donut but we wouldn't get it again.

Chocolate Frosted Donut:'s just so. good. The icing hardens well so it's more of a "chocolate shell"; unlike the chocolate drizzle on the Samoa donut, the taste of the chocolate tasted a lot more like the expected "chocolate taste", which we all loooooved. The cake base was also my favorite out of the three (not sure if it's different but it tasted a little different). This donut held its shape the best (wasn't falling apart). This was one of the more popular ones, according to my mom. 

Berry Donut: My mom noticed that this was also one of the more popular ones, but we didn't know what to expect. The middle is filled with a sweet berry preserve that reminded me a lot of those Danish pastries with the jam filling ;) My brother really loved this (he used to love jelly filled donuts when he was little) and I liked it too, but I think the chocolate frosted one was my favorite out of these three. The berry filling is sweet and the base tasted a little less sweet than the chocolate frosted donut base. The dryness of the rice flour in the donut is more evident in this than in any of the others.

Brownie: There were mini chocolate chips throughout the brownie! I also tasted a hint of salt but the salt didn't really help to bring out the chocolate flavor which was pretty muted. The brownie was also more crispy on the top outer portion and dry and crumbly on the inside, so it failed to meet my expectation of a chewy, dense, fudgy brownie. But I will give this bakery the benefit of the doubt because I just love it so much and the timing might not have helped with this test taste: we ate these at 9:30 pm, and they were most likely baked at 8 in the morning.

and to top everything off: Erin McKenna followed me on instagram ;)

Read more:

xoxo, han

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