The Flakey Tart, Atlantic Highlands, NJ

Moving down to Monmouth County a couple of years ago has proved a culinary challenge to some degree. Sure, I’ve found some great restaurants in the area and recently found a good pizza place (Denino’s in Aberdeen). But there have been some areas where it’s been lacking. And bakeries were no exception. I’ve tried a few in the area and they were all terrible. Growing up in Elizabeth, New Jersey, I was spoiled by Saraceno’s Italian Bakery. I can still remember going there after church on Sunday at St. Anthony’s and getting a cream puff or chocolate eclair. But alas…even Saraceno’s isn’t the same anymore….

But then I started hearing all this buzz over on the boards at Chowhound…. Everyone was talking about a little bakery, not far from my home (7.4 miles to be exact, 12 minutes) in Atlantic Highlands. So Mother’s Day was coming up and I needed something for mom. Years ago, while in college, I started a tradition for Mother’s Day by giving her a baby cake from Cafe Beethoven in Chatham, NJ. I continued this tradition while I lived in the area for several years but when I moved down to Monmouth County, that tradition faded due to the lack of bakery. So I figured The Flakey Tart would definitely have something for her. And I was right.

As I stepped into the tiny bakery, my heart started to pitter patter. Trays and shelves full of brownies, croissants, scones, cakes and other beautiful pastries. Now reading all the buzz over at Chowhound, I was looking for a few things in particular. First things first though, something for mom. And there it was, a lovely baby carrot cake. I’ll take it. And then the fat girl in me came out. I then got started on those buzz-worthy items from my fellow chowhounds – the mac ‘n’ cheese, pan au chocolat,  and a ham and Gruyere croissant. Then I tried a few other items – a maple-walnut scone, a spinach-bacon frittata, and a little cinnamon-cream cheese muffin with “Monkey” in the name I think?? And not all in the shop people, please! I took it home and pigged out! 

I was having heart palpitations as I drove home with those pastry boxes next to me. Oh dear God, please just let me make it home before I tear into these I thought. As soon as I got home, before I touched one heavenly morsel, I paused and remembered you my dear readers and whipped out the camera.

Everything was out of this world. I closed my eyes with each taste and wondered why I hadn’t taken the 7 mile ride down there before. The mac “n” cheese were made with a combo of cheeses and a delicate topping. It was gooey and cheesy and sinful. The frittata was bursting with flavors of smoky bacon, spinach, and some other vegetables that have escaped me. The maple-walnut scone, covered with a light layer of sweet glaze, was moist, light, and delicious. The ham-gruyere croissant was fabulous with the ham and cheese baked right into the croissant. A few seconds in the microwave to warm the ham and melt the cheese. Perfection. The monkey muffin was a little tart with a sweet, danish-like flavor that was great. And last but not least, my favorite, the pan au chocolat, a flaky, delicate croissant with just the right amount of chocolate. To die for. The next day, my family enjoyed the moist, spicy carrot cake with a light, sweet cream cheese frosting with crushed walnuts on the rim of the cake.

The Flakey Tart has found a place in my heart. I am thrilled to have found some an incredible bakery where it’s obvious that the owners care about the quality of the product. I urge you to take a trip out there and give it a try. In fact, if you are a visitor to the Jersey shore and have to head down Route 36 to hit up Sandy Hook or any of those locations in the vicinity, the Flakey Tart is on your way there! A few minutes right off of Route 36 at 145 First Ave., Atlantic Highlands, NJ.

I know I’ll be making the trek many, many times in the near future….

 

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20 Comments »

  1. Sara said

    Wow, Flakey Tart sounds great but I have discovered the most incredible specialty cake bakers in NJ!! I needed a cake for my sister’s shower and a friend recommended Desserts By Design. They have a shop in Long Branch open by appointment only. The pastry chefs were so friendly and helpful. They created the perfect cake with gumpaste flowers sprinkling from a watering can…it was incredible. The most surprising part was the cake was soooo moist and the filling was real fruit. This is just what I’ve been looking for!

  2. foodiedani said

    Thanks for the recommendation Sara. I’m sure the readers will appreciate hearing about Desserts By Design.

    From what I’ve heard Flakey Tart also does wedding cakes and is booked for the entire year. Guessing they made a pretty darn good wedding cake.

    Dani

  3. Jana said

    I’ll have to check it out. Especially for the scones, nothing makes me sadder than the dry hockey pucks most places serve as scones. Heritage Bakery in Matawan used be great but I think’s it’s changed hands recently and now it’s kind of crappy. I usually end up resorting to Dearborn Farms on 35 for baked goods these days but there’s nothing like a real bakery-type bakery like you described. Glad you found what you were looking for! Also I find the name “The Flakey Tart” makes me laugh a little, my mind works backwards like that. I swear it must be named after one of my former co-workers. 🙂

  4. foodiedani said

    Hey Jana,

    Yes! Nothing is worse than a hockey puck disguised as a scone. Not familiar with Heritage Bakery. Dearborn is pretty good for some things, though, my mother pointed out to me last time we bought an apple pie there, it said “store-baked” or something like that and had Sara Lee logo on it.

    Definitely hit up Flakey Tart! And yup, that name is cute and we’ve all worked with one! lol…

    Dani

  5. Susan said

    I used to go to Cafe Beethoven in Morristown all the time when I was living and going to school in the area. Those were good times. Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Dani! Hope you are well. I’ve been out of touch.

    BTW, any recommendations for shore dining around Highlands? I used to go to a place on the inlet that had a tiki bar out back (can’t remember the name). I’ve been more recently to Bahr’s, but the clams were so gritty, couldn’t eat them.

    • mel said

      Are you remembering Inlet Cafe (Still a BIG favorite after 10 years) or their next-door-neighbor, Wind’n’Sea? Also, try On The Deck (1st Ave., AH)

      • P Chef said

        Hi Dani I saw your blog while doing some background on a blog article for smartkitchen.com. I write there as P Chef and wanted to write about the Flaky Tart. Google led me to your great post about it.

        I’m visiting the area and got sucked into your other reccomendations. Then I saw one, I could speak about. Between rain showers, we had lunch over the Inlet Cafe today. The food was very good and suprisingly reasonable for 3 adults eating sea food right by the water. We were around $50 for a good Lobster Roll and some of the day’s special Soft Shell Crab sandwiches (that were a bit dry and too heavily breaded for my taste).

        We heard about the restaurant because the Lusty Lobster in Highland (which has terrific seafood @ their retail store) recommended the Inlet Cafe. Inlet Cafe is one of their customers. The Lusty Lobster brings fresh lobster down to New Jersey daily from Maine. So the most current information I can add is that the Inlet Cafe your favorite for 10 years, is still going strong on Bastille Day, 2010. Thanks for the good local information. P Chef

  6. foodiedani said

    Hi Susan,

    Nice to hear from you! Where did you go to school? I went to FDU, which is how I became familiar with Cafe Beethoven.

    Ahhh…Highlands…I think you may be talking Inlet Cafe, which is typically a good choice…I’ve had one bad meal there, but more good ones. And Bahr’s…welll…let’s just say I stopped at it’s sister place, Moby’s, today for some steamers and they were terrible….

    I’ve heard good things about Bay Ave. Trattoria. And there is a new Cuban place, Havanna, I’ve been wanting to try. Let me know what you try out!

    Dani

  7. Jane said

    I’m looking for someone to make a Red Velvet Cake for my daughter’s bridal shower. I can’t find a phone number for the Desserts by Design that is mentioned. Can anyone help? Thanks.

  8. foodiedani said

    Jane,

    I suggest maybe commenting over at Jersey Biters site. You will likely get more feedback over there as it’s ongoing discussions. Jersey Biters is listed on my blogroll ro the right.

    Dani

  9. Susan said

    The Inlet Cafe, yes, that’s the place. I love sitting at the tiki bar watching the boats go by. Thanks, Dani. It’s too bad about Bahr’s. I would rather dine on a beaten up dock than a fancier place like 410 Bank St. in Cape May.

    I went to St. Elizabeth’s. Those were good days. : )

  10. foodiedani said

    Susan,

    I wish I was at the Inlet Cafe right now instead of my desk! Nothing beats a nice summer day, sitting at some waterfront restaurant after coming off the beach!

    St. E’s huh? We were neighbors….and yes, those were the days 🙂

    Dani

  11. fabu said

    i own soop 2 nutz and have been baking specia; order cakes pies and entrees for people for years now reviewed by joan hamberg & john gambling wor radio be glad to do an authentic red velvet cake or anything anyone needs! let me know!
    fred a blumberg 732-842-5263 cell 732-859-6346
    35 years experience and available as personal chef to anyone affordably! cheers,
    fabu

  12. foodiedani said

    Hi Fabu,

    If you have a website please leave it for my readers. thanks!

    Dani

  13. fabu said

    hi dani, just had steamers and li iced teas at inlet yesterday///
    good but its gotten pricey, cant beat sittin on the waters edge watchin the gulls, horseshoe crabs, sea robins…. better than bahrs anyday, but i go to bahrs anyway cause it brings back memories and they know me, my family has been going there since the 20’s
    I have introduced the world to manhatten clam chowder using their recipe, embellished of course,
    was chef at the long lost “sea loft” of long branch years ago!
    no website yet am re-locating to eatontown this month and will start getting things together, maybe a cookbook first!
    anyone needs suggestions or recipe help i can be reached on the helpline!

  14. foodiedani said

    Hey Fabu,

    Ah…the Inlet Cafe. Great spot for steamers and a drink on a nice summer day. I have to admit I’ve actually never been to Bahr’s! But I keep reading that’s it doesn’t live up to the hype. Although I did hear the chowder was very good.
    Not familiar with Sea Loft, maybe some of my readers are. Keep us posted with your possible cookbook and other goings on! ‘

    Dani

  15. That frittata picture looks just like the one I made the other day for breakfast! YUM.

    Next time I’m in the Highlands I’ll check it out!

  16. foodiedani said

    Oh it was awesome! Run to The Flakey Tart!!

    Dani

  17. Sara said

    Sorry, I haven’t read the blog in a while, for those looking for Desserts By Design, their number is (732) 571-2027 and their website is http://www.dessertsbydesign.biz. I hope you find what you’re looking for!

  18. foodiedani said

    Thanks for the info Sara!

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