Bribery is defined as the offering of something of value in order to influence the behavior of another person. The delectable pastries and desserts at Jodi Elliott's new Bribery Bakery have definitely altered the behavior of neighbors in suburban Pflugerville, but the talented pastry chef and businesswoman isn't committing any crime. She's just appealing to the very human desire for deliciousness. Folks who live in the vicinity of the bakery as well as devoted fans of Jodi's sold-out Austin bake sales are lining up in front of the pastry case at the charming new store. They're there to purchase voluptuous filled croissants and statuesque slices of cake. And they love it.
Jodi Elliott is a San Antonio native with a degree in baking and pastry from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. After culinary school, she spent almost 10 years baking in restaurants and hotels in New York, London, and Portland, before returning to Texas after the birth of her daughter, Billie. Jodi and her former husband, chef Ned Elliott, chose Austin as the best place to raise their daughter and start their own restaurant. They opened the cozy neighborhood bistro Foreign & Domestic in 2010. Ned's eclectic, seasonal take on American cuisine impressed diners while Jodi's enormous black-pepper and Gruyère popovers became the restaurant's signature item and her desserts earned rave reviews.
In 2012, Jodi and assistant Rosie Shipman began hosting Saturday morning bake sales at the restaurant. It was amazing to see the quality and variety of products they were able to crank out of such a tiny space. There was invariably a line of pastry lovers waiting at the door on bake sale Saturdays, and Jodi was able to purchase the restaurant a much needed new oven with the proceeds from her early sales. After the Elliotts divorced, Ned bought Jodi out of Foreign & Domestic and she began developing her business plan for the bakery and a dessert lounge.
The attractive new shop in a Pflugerville strip center provides Jodi with a luxurious amount of space – the kitchen, dish line, and pastry-finishing area alone are bigger than the entirety of Foreign & Domestic – and that space will allow the business to grow and be the commissary kitchen for the Bribery Dessert Lounge & Bar when it opens in the Mueller development later this year. The shop's large front room is decorated in tones of peachy pink and light blue, colors that carry over to the packing and branding materials. Cleverly chosen mismatched armchairs, couches, and tables invite guests to relax with pastries and coffee, but it's not the kind of place that encourages camping out with a laptop.
The pastry case is packed with sweet and savory delights in bountiful sizes, displayed on lovely vintage platters and cake stands. Many of the bake sale favorites are here, and Jodi reports that the bestsellers are probably those gigantic popovers, crisp on the outside and airy within, with cinnamon roll behemoths under a cloud of cream cheese frosting running a close second. Personally, I go for the tangy individual buttermilk pies encased in a delicate, flaky crust, and I was pleased to see a platter of pineapple brown butter blondies in the case. Those moist, cakey bars enhanced by the nutty flavor of browned butter are my personal favorite among Elliott's creations. The desire to purchase them will influence me to drive to Pflugerville, no bribe required.
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