You should hope the real estate gods smile down-and soon-on Rebecca Michaels, pastry chef and owner of Flying Monkey Patisserie, because as of right now, Flying Monkey exists only as a floating pastry service, a bakery in the ether, a confectionary in the clouds. You, as a regular citizen, cannot just pop on down to her corner shop and take in the aroma of her freshly baked brownies or buy a cellophane-wrapped sack of her deeply addictive chocolate-dipped nut brittle. Forget about trying homemade chocolate-covered marshmallows,
frothy cubes so airy and light-without the denture-adhesive texture of the store-bought kind-they dissolve into sweet creamy foam on the tongue. And don't even get me started on her signature dessert: chocolate-frosted yellow cake layered with raspberry cream and infused with rooibos, an African tea. Butter heaven. Sadly, for the time being, you can try them only by special ordering a cake or other pastries (most require a minimum order) while she hunts for a space, although Ants Pants Cafe is currently selling some of her confections. One of the giant perks of my job is that people want me to eat their food, usually for free. One of the giant bummers is that often this food isn't very good. Free doesn't necessarily equal tasty, just like your mother-in-law's home cooking doesn't necessarily equal tasty. Imagine my delight when Michaels brought me a sampling of her sweets and they were delicious. Michaels moved here last spring from New York, where she worked in pastry at several top restaurants. She started Flying Monkey in New York, wholesaling to cafes and restaurants, but realized her little dream of a Monkey retail outlet would never fly in the city that strangles little dreams with its high rent and operating costs. Let's hope that for us pastry fans, Philly's slightly more benevolent real estate gods will bless her with the perfect location. And perhaps her success will encourage even more talented chefs to relocate their skills in our direction.
PW's Taste of Philly 2014