Proudly Brought to You By Two Uninformed, Unqualified Idiots
by Max Miller
When I graduated high school, my Aunt Liz and Uncle Howard very generously gifted me a $35 gift certificate to Oberlin bakery Blue Rooster. Like the true dimwit I am, I completely forgot about the gift, and it has unknowingly been burning a hole in my hypothetical pocket ever since. After rediscovering the piece of paper, now folded, while cleaning the bottom of my backpack, I decided to treat myself and my ginger friend Harry Sneddon to some tasty pastries. I picked the pastries up, headed to the science center lounge, and we dug in.
1. Peach Turnover
Max Miller: Let's try this peach turnover. Expectations here? Honestly, I don't love peach.
Harry Sneddon: I like a raw peach. Cooked peach gets a little slimy.
MM: We'll get into better stuff. It is a little slimy, for sure. But, that's just peach. The pastry itself is good. This was a bad pick on my part.
HS: A little bit, but it happens.
MM: I'm sorry.
HS: You really should be. It's cool. You just wasted a sixth of our time but it's fine.
2. French Butter Cake
MM: This next one, high expectations.
HS: Of course. It's fucking… the best one.
MM: It's so beautiful, bro. I feel like I'm floating. It's one of the best feelings I've ever had eating a pastry. It might be a top two pastry for me. I've never had it before Blue Rooster. It's just so good.
HS: It's really good. It's like a croissant but... better. More enjoyable. It doesn't have the croissant dryness. Probably because of the six sticks of butter.
MM: Who cares. We're young.
HS: Cholesterol levels are overrated.
MM: I don't know if that one's gonna be topped.
HS: That's a staple.
3. Mixed Berry Custard Pinwheel
MM: I'm curious. It's cool because it looks like a ninja star. And that is nostalgic for me so that gives it points off the bat.
HS: That definitely gives it points. There are also four total berries in there. The berry ratio is a little bit low.
[Bites raspberry side]
HS: That's really nice. I like that a lot more than I expected.
MM: It's a little mustardy, which is strange.
HS: I am not tasting mustardy at all.
MM: Maybe I'm just an idiot.
HS: I'm not gonna rule out that possibility.
[Bites blackberry side]
HS: I like blackberries more than raspberries.
MM: I love blackberries. Raspberries are kind of whatever to me. Sorry raspberry lovers. I feel like raspberries need to be picked fresh from a farm in Western Pennsylvania. Like you buy raspberries from the grocery store, half of them are busted.
HS: And moldy. It's one of those things like tomatoes where you can't transport a ripe tomato. So you have to transport super unripe tomatoes and let them ripen. Which is not the same as when they actually get ripe. Have you ever had fresh pineapple? I grew a pineapple in my backyard once. They're not sour. Just a purely sweet fruit.
MM: We need to grow one. We could figure it out.
HS: You think we have the climate for that in Ohio?
MM: Where there's a will there's a way.
HS: Hydroponic pineapple?
4. Spinach, Tomato, Feta Puff
MM: OK. So we're journeying into savory now. It looks pizza-y.
MM: That one makes me feel happy. It makes me feel like I'm in Williamsburg.
HS: Where's Williamsburg?
MM: Brooklyn. [Points to camera.] You get it.
HS: They don't fucking get it. Ehhh, you probably can say you get it and you have an 86% shot. I got a pure crust bite and my mouth is so dry.
MM: The crust might overpower the middle part a little. It might benefit from more middle part. That said, it tastes pretty good.
HS: It tastes good. It's just not my favorite. I like when I eat something and it makes my mouth really dry and it's bland.
MM: You like blandness? Like a saltine?
HS: I love a saltine. You know water crackers? I will eat a straight roll of water crackers.
MM: You like Popeyes biscuits? No water?
MM: Shut the fuck up.
HS: Well, I haven't been to Popeyes in a long time. Maybe I'm thinking of KFC. Normally I dip in mashed potatoes and gravy. Does Popeyes have mashed potatoes and gravy?
MM: Possibly? I'm not a huge Popeyes sides guy. I got the mac and cheese once and it made me want to die.
5. Basil Pesto Parmesan Croissant
MM: I can't imagine a world where this is not good. I don't think it's gonna kno-
HS: Knock your socks off? Is that what you were gonna say?
MM: Yeah, but then I stopped myself.
HS: I'm not afraid. I'm ready to get my socks knocked, quite frankly.
MM: It's just good. You love pesto. You love croissant. You love parmesan. Together they're just unguardable. It's kinda the perfect pastry.
HS: The crisp to layer ratio is good here in terms of being fluffy and moist still.
MM: That surpassed my expectations by a pretty solid margin.
HS: Socks are knocked.
MM: Also, the rise of the croissant makes it a lot easier to eat. Whereas number four just felt like a crust. It wasn't a full pastry. It was like a flatbread. This one is more cohesive.
HS: It's the Little Caesars cheese stuffed crust of pastries.
MM: Is it?
HS: No, I've never had Little Caesars. I'm just imagining a cheese-stuffed crust. It fixes the blandness of the crust.
MM: That's upsetting. Is that even Little Caesars? I thought that was Pizza Hut.
HS: I don't know. I've never had either.
6. Apple Cider with Caramel Ganache Baby Bundt
MM: I'm really excited about this one.
HS: I am too. I love apple cider.
MM: I don't really know what ganache is. The only thing I know about ganache is that it’s in baking shows that I have watched.
MM: It's a very floury finish. And I don't hate it. I like the taste of flour, I'll be honest with you. That might be a bad take but.
HS: The start tastes like nothing. The first bite hits your mouth and there's just no taste. And the middle tastes like I'm eating spices. Like putting spices in my mouth. You know how some cider has a lot of cinnamon in it and it coats your throat? And you feel like there's sand in your mouth? It has that a little bit. But it doesn't taste apple-y.
MM: I don't dislike it at all though. I'm trying to be positive. Because I feel like we shat on the peach one a little bit too much. I loved the peach one.
HS: You did not love the peach one. You do not get to lie. There are four pillars of journalistic integrity… The cake is alright. It's cool. The cake with the cream is very good. The amount of cream relative to the amount of cake is not proper. It's enough for you to have four bites where you're like, "Oh, this shit's really good!" And then you run out of cream and it's just... Bundt cake. Which is alright.
MM: I don't know if it's particularly apple cider-y or caramel-y.
HS: The whipped cream just tastes like whipped cream. If this was a strawberry shortcake where you get the thick layer on top, it would be fantastic. Also, making a decent pound cake is pretty easy. You can go to Ralph's and get the $3 bunch of pound cake and it doesn’t taste that different from this. Which is still good. But just for the value of pastries, a lot of these are things that I feel like you need a real bakery to do properly. I could make this if you gave me a couple tries. But the pesto croissant? You give me a million years, I'll never figure it out. When you're spending $7 on something you can make, it has to be like, "Actually I couldn't make this."
MM: The pesto croissant and the butter cake - tens. Those are the winners. And the others are good, don't get me wrong. It's a very good bakery. We're being idiots and college students that are being picky because we’re pretending to be reviewers. But it's a good bakery and those two specifically, to my immature taste buds, are excellent.
HS: Totally. We could eat all six of these and be like, "Those are some good pastries."
MM: I feel bad that I didn't absolutely love the ninja star because I love ninja stars.
HS: The ninja star part was really cool. I like when they have a little custard or ganache. Balancing creaminess. And if this Bundt cake had more of that it would be very good.
MM: Overall thoughts. Obviously, big fan. The two that we loved were the two best.
HS: Staples. And with the seasonal one, that's part of the beauty of seasonal things is you try them out and it's a fun little event. It comes and it goes.
MM: And maybe it comes again next year! Alright. It's been lovely talking to you.
HS: Man, that basil is good.