Crema of the Crop?
Pastry chef Jessica Forkner goes brick and mortar with a homey South Austin cafe
Reviewed by Melanie Haupt, Fri., July 19, 2013
Opened in April by pastry chef Jessica Forkner, Crema Bakery & Cafe has enjoyed a brisk trade in the Cherry Creek neighborhood on Brodie Lane in its short lifetime. Little wonder: The comfy couches, clean open space, and shabby chic decor certainly suggest a home away from home in the land of strip malls.
The cafe fare here is extremely simple, with sandwiches, rotating soups, and simple salads for lunch and dinner, and omelets, migas, and French toast for weekend brunch. Carefully cheerful service staff usher the lunch combo – a sandwich, soup or salad, and a cake ball ($9) – to the bistro tables. Meanwhile, breakfast and brunch feature hits and misses familiar to any home cook. The eggs and grits ($7.50) features nicely cooked eggs, nondescript packaged multigrain toast, and about a half-cup of tepid, gluey porridge that tastes more of garlic than of bacon and is topped with bagged shredded cheese.
Crema is effectively the storefront for Forkner's dessert catering business, Objects of Confection, and the dessert counter is where Crema rises to the top, for the most part. The first thing patrons see upon entering is a picturesque array of treats from cupcakes to mini cheesecakes to cake balls and tarts. Our favorites were the cake balls (Forkner's signature treat, $2) and the salted caramel miniature cheesecake ($3.50). While impressive in their adorable presentation, the red velvet and sundae cupcakes ($2.50 and $3) were a bit dry and tough, even after warming to room temperature. The enormous lemon bar ($3) sang, its shortbread crust anchoring a bright lemon curd dusted with powdered sugar. Crema is ultimately a sweet little destination for folks who live in the neighborhood, or for hungry travelers in need of an indulgent snack after a busy afternoon of shopping in one of far-South Austin's big box stores.