Monday, November 10, 2008

CRUMBS: Not Impressing Me Yet!

I was going to wait until one more visit to Crumbs Bake Shop to pan it, but you know what, I'm still sick, and there is only so much work I'm willing to do to discuss cupcakes. Plus, I've heard from more than one person that their cupcakes were not earth-shattering. I had two problems at Crumbs last week.

Medium-sized problem: NO good system for waiting in line. When I went to Crumbs, there were only 2 other people in the store... and a guy still managed to cut in front of me! I was standing in the middle of the counter, and there was a guy near the end, by the cupcakes. Guess who the clerk went over to? The guy who got there after me!  Either he did not see me or thought I was already being helped, because he stepped right up to ask several detailed questions about cakes.  I was not feeling well, so it really pissed me off.  
I am willing to concede that this might have been a one-time failing by the Crumbs staff, but I need to be reassured that Crumbs does have a system. Is it common knowledge for cupcake aficionados that the line starts at the back of the store? Or, are customers really expected to keep track of which one, two, or ten customers were there ahead of them? That's far too much work for a mediocre cupcake... which brings me to the the larger problem with Crumbs.

Large problem: The cupcakes were not great. My husband thought the cupcakes were pretty good, but he does not have a sweet tooth like I do. My classic strawberry was basically stale. The blackout cupcake was not that chocolately, and the Hostess chocolate cake tasted bland.   I got three, and not a single winner? Where's the cupcake kapow?
A coworker said her cupcakes weren't awesome, and another coworker said that although her husband loved his German chocolate cupcake, hers wasn't amazing.  A mediocre $4 cupcake? It's not enough just to look pretty! You need to taste good!

I am sure I will return to Crumbs, but for your sweet fix in the FC, try Chocopologie in Norwalk. I've also heard good things from readers about the cupcakes at Margot Cafe and Wine Bar in Stamford.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear Crumbs is not living up to the hype. I did hear today that the Sabatiellos episode of Kitchen Nightmares will be airing on 11/13. Unrelated, but wanted to pass that info along.

Jonathan "JR" said...

I wasn't blown away by Crumbs either (even though my Reese's cupcake was free). I've had better homemade cupcakes.

Anonymous said...

The cupcake was great but the way the store was set up i did'nt like it.
Maybe they have so more work to do do.I'll give it another shot.

Always Home and Uncool said...

Until you started this ongoing Crumbs discussion, I cannot say I have ever heard of 1) a cupcake aficionado or 2) paying $4 for a cupcake. Has my life been that sheltered?

And if the Hostess chocolate cake tasted bland, doesn't that me they got it right ;-).

gms said...

I went in there on the official opening day and I was not fascinated by the store layout or the variety of goods.

I like cupcakes as well as the next guy/girl, but they just looked like big, silly dough balls. I was not a buyer. I went to starbucks for a cup o' joe (okay, not a great deal more character there).

I like fine, well baked, old world pastry: something light and flakey that can pull me off a three day fast and throw me into sugar toxemia.

If you are, in fact, enthralled by cupcakes, as I was when the Drake's pastry truck used to come to my door as a child, then fine. The humble Hostess is selling for a couple of bucks these days, I'm guessing, and so these gigantic specimens are not really overpriced.

Jusy really uninteresting, imho.

Anonymous said...

I bought two this morning. My husband and I just read this blog and thought "oh no, I guess the cupcakes are going to suck." So we got them out and ate them expecting to be disappointed. Instead, we actually loved them and we very surprised. The cake was soft, the flavors were great, and the portion was very generous. I will definitely be going back to Crumbs in the future, but probably only for a special occasional treat. I just wanted to post because if I hadn't bought the cupcakes already, I probably would have skipped the store based on this post. I'm glad I tried it, so I just wanted to share a contrarian view. I do enjoy your blog though, thanks for the effort.

patty said...

I agree with the medium problem and think it's because the staff is still a bit clueless about how to run the store. This is based on my one visit, when someone breezed in and was waited on immediately while my boys and I cooled our jets waiting for someone to help us.

My yellow cake cupcake with chocolate frosting, however, was divine. Moist, not too sweet, and topped by some of the best chocolate buttercream frosting I've tasted.

Maybe simpler = better?

In any case I don't have plans to return to Crumbs often, for fear of being featured in the balloon parade downtown.

AH&U, check out the wiki entry for Magnolia Bakery. All shall be revealed.

Julie said...

I am going to give it one more try and get a non-chocolate cupcake upon my return to Stamford. But, really, in this economy, who is going to pay $4 for a cupcake anyways? Oh wait, we live in the FC.....

Anonymous said...

I liked the red velvet cupcake but I wasn't a big fan of the one with the heath bar bits that we tried.

Anonymous said...

I've had Crumbs twice now and am mostly happy. We didn't have a solid cupcake place before them. Margot's is very good as you said, but they're rarely open by the time I get out of work. Crumb's yellow cupcake with chocolate icing was very good, just perfect. The red velvet was good, but not great...needed more chocolate flavor. The cookie dough was amazing, but didn't really taste much like cookie dough. The cappuccino tasted very much like a real one and was very chocolaty. Overall, I'll go back, but I agree that the layout of the store could be better.

Anonymous said...

I really liked the Devil Dog cupcake. It was awesome.

Anonymous said...

wtf is a "solid cupcake place"?

Jess said...

I love the cupcakes at Rosie in New Canaan.

http://www.rosienewcanaan.com/

Irenesbooks said...

Whoever invented cup cakes ought to be ... never mind. *grin*

I'm just a grumpy old German lady . . .

Mr. Z said...

"Solid Cupcake Place" -- Sugar Sweet Sunshine

Anonymous said...

isn't this supposed to be about Stamford? commenting about a place in nyc seems to defeat the purpose. you could probably come up with a "solid" nyc place for ANY type of cuisine.

Anonymous said...

To that last anonymous post, in case you're checking back--it's about Crumbs opening a store in Stamford...hence the reason it's relative to the blog.
AKH

Anonymous said...

timing is everything with Crumbs...have gone earlier in the day and the selection is robust and the cupcakes, delicious. Went on a Sunday evening and there was no selection and the cupcakes we did try tasted…well like a cupcake which had been sitting around all day…maybe longer.

I categorize Crumbs as a clear “hit or miss”…but when your paying $4 per, more towards the miss.

Anonymous said...

anon 4:38 - right, it's a blog about crumbs in stamford. mrz wrote a post that wasn't a comment on crumbs or another bakery in stamford or even in fairfield or westchester county. it was a "solid" place in nyc. a blog could be written about any type of food in stamford and someone could trump it with a better quality place in nyc...hence the reason it's not relavent to the blog at all.

Mr. Z said...

My point about Sunshine is that like Crumbs (which is becoming Starbucks-like in its omnipresence in NYC), it is a "solid" cupcake place.

A flip response to the equally flip 'wtf is a "solid cupcake place"?'

It's just a blog, not a witch hunt about how Stamford isn't NYC...

Anonymous said...

fair enough, z.

gms said...

Another triumph of hype over quality.

I'm not a cupcake person, but their "almond" croissant, while it looked great, was doughy and contained only the barest hint of almond.

Count me out.

Anonymous said...

The cupcakes are dry and stale. They are not made on site, but in a factory localed in Astoria, Queens. Not owned by Crumbs.

Jim

Anonymous said...

I've tried several cupcakes, muffin and scone. Cupcakes were stale, brownie was very dry, choclate chip muffin was moist and scone was good. Too bad the cupcakes weren't good- I was really looking forward to a new bakery in Stamford. Guess I'll still drive to the Kneaded Bread where eVERYTHING is so well made.

Anonymous said...

margots cupcakes rock...have yet to try crumb but until this blog ive heard nothing but good things...hoping to cehck it out soon...

Abby Jenkins said...

What we really need around here is a honest to ggodness bakery...with BREAD! There is no decent place to buy bread in Stamford. Crumbs obviously has the room for some more racks. I guarantee it would be a big success.

James Cahn said...

I too, went in to check out Crumbs and can't say that I was all that impressed. They should focus more on the actual bakery and less on the "Bakery Lifestyle."

Personally, if I need baked stuff, I'll stick with DiMare's

Couldn't agree more with the "bread" comment, too.

AmandaCakes said...

well if you want WONDERFUL decent priced cupcakes just call me!
www.amandacakes/blogspot.com

I mkae everythign from scratch, and am very well priced!

-AmandaCakes

Gold Frog Digital said...

This is an old post, but very relevant.

Over-rated this Crumbs is. Once my wife brought home some Crumbs cupcakes from work. I think they must have come from NYC. They were phenomenal. Stamford however, I can't back it.

The Baba-Booey cupcakes are great, but overall, not impressing me yet either. Yet I still stop there every once in a while.

I think one is coming to New Canaan if it's not there already.

Anonymous said...

Just to let you know, the cake tasted so bad because all their cake has been previously frozen, for clearly a long period of time. Why charge so much for an old cupcake?

Anonymous said...

Why charge so much for an old cupcake, Anon? Because people will pay for it, even if it's just once, because of the name.
The red velvet gets my only vote; the rest aren't worth it.

Karen Brewer said...

My daughter is addicted to the things.I think they are terrible (and I have a sweet tooth)It doesnt taste like there is any butter in there.The anticipation of eating one is more of a rush tahn actually having one. Another shop opened in New Canaan if anyone is in the vicinity.

Anonymous said...

The fact that there is a such thing as an upscale cupcake that people pay $3 for just one shows me just how incredibly stupid people on the east coast are with money.

They will pay so much for so little it is amazing. I really am astounded by how weak of an understanding of the dollar the east has. I say this as someone that is not from the NY area.

Crumbs, yea, it sucks. No, i'm not saying it is poor value, I'm saying I could bake a better cupcake despite the fact I have never made 1 cupcake. Ever. Dry, tasteless.

I have had a Magnolia cupcake. Yes, it was very good, but not all of the time. Even there, the fact there is a pathetic line wrapping around the place shows how silly people are in NY. You would think this was small town Kansas the way people act like they never saw a cupcake in their lives before.

I can't believe Crumbs is still in business and expanding. incredible. There are only so many people you can get to trial a new product before you need a few repeats.

I wish I could short Crumbs.

Heidi said...

i've had similar experiences - but i've also had decent cupcakes from Crumbs here in stamford. I do think timing is everything unfortunately. Still, no matter where you are $3+ for a cupcake that's dry/stale is just wrong.

Anonymous said...

THEY MESSED UP OUR SPECIAL ORDER! We went to the Stamford Crumbs for our daughter’s christening party. My husband made several trips to the store to ask questions and to purchase cupcakes so that we could choose which flavors to get (I was a bit worried about the quality b/c several of the ones he brought home tasted a little stale). When we placed the order, we asked them to make the icing on the key-lime cupcakes paler (they’re neon green usually). The saleswoman said that they needed a sample of the color that we wanted if they were to make a change. So, I went back again (during a very busy week) to give them a sample. While I was there, I went over the details of the order one more time to make sure everything was perfect. The morning of the event, my husband goes to the store to pick up our order. When he gets there they tell him that a dozen pink cupcakes were not delivered. Since they don’t make the cupcakes in the store, they could only replace them with kinds they had there. Not only that, the green cupcakes were the same green that they always are. The color didn’t bother us as much as the fact that we wasted our time getting a sample to them only to have them disregard it entirely! The final straw was when my husband demanded to talk to a manager to complain about all of the time (AND money) we spent to get this order right. The woman he talked to actually had the nerve to say dismissively, “They’re only cupcakes.” No, they’re the main focus of your job and the cornerstone of your company!! In the end, all we got for our troubles was a dozen free of the wrong cupcakes to replace the ones they forgot. The cupcakes were good – fresher than the ones we got in the store – but they weren’t good enough for us to ever go back there again.