Mi & Stu
I count my blessings every day for being able to indulge in anything without worrying about gluten, dairy and nuts. I realize not everyone is as fortunate and I can't help but feel that some of you are missing out. But for those of you with these specific restrictions, I assure you this isn't a pity party. In fact, I recently stumbled on a humble bakery in the Mile End that promises not to leave you behind. Mi & Stu is brought to us by Mimi and Stephanie, a dynamic duo strictly devoted to baking sweets and breads that are free of gluten, dairy AND nuts. A triple threat if you will. But get this, those of us who can eat everything can definitely get a satisfying kick out of it too. None of the richness and flavours we look for in baked goods are lost in the making, and that's...impressive.
I can't even begin to express how much I LOVE the Zucchini Muffin Crisps ($5.75). I can breeze through a bag (of 12) like it's nobody's business. They're addictive to say the least. Maybe it's the grated zucchini and raisins striking the perfect balance of sweet and savory, the strong presence of cinnamon or the crunch factor that makes them so. But whatever it is, I got it bad.
I'm all for extravagant and gourmet cupcakes, but it's nice to go back to basics once in a while. Actually, I wouldn't mind doing it more often if Vanilla Cupcakes (2 for $5.25) from Mi & Stu were the subject at hand. It starts with moist cake, light as air and oily to the touch. It's not too sweet, but that's before it's polished with piped drops of vanilla frosting, creamy and sugary with a whim of vanilla. It's a classic done right - simple, clean and downright delicious. Warning: You will reach out for another.
I go weak in the knees for Carrot Cake, but I don't care for Mi & Stu's mini version. An individual portion ($2.70) is a tiny but chubby square, deep brown all around with a dense crumb scented with cinnamon, grated carrots and raisins pinned throughout. The frosting is a sweet, rich touch, but it doesn't distract from the cake base I can't bring myself to like. The Carrot Muffin doesn't do much for me either.
Chocolate and crunch is the easiest way to describe Double Chocolate Biscotti. These dark, oblong cookies rolled in sugar are sold at $3.49 for a set 3. They're cocoa-centric, more bitter than sweet, and dry but in a good way. Not my favorite thing of theirs, but give me a hot cup of coffee or a steaming mug of tea, and I'm all set for the afternoon.
If you want to go full out chocolate, keep an eye out for the Brownies. A single serving ($2.79) is just a tiny square, but it packs a powerful cocoa punch. Each bite pierces through a thin crackly top, yielding a moist, dense crumb that's more fudgy than cake-y. It's not the sweetest treat, the bold bitter flavor of cocoa ever-present, but it has a good enough dose of sugar to satisfy your sweet tooth. Rich, decadent and everything wonderful a brownie aspires to be, this melt-in-your-mouth wonder is just the kind of thing to perk up any day. Alternating bites with a tall glass of milk (soya or almond for the lactose intolerant) is highly recommended.
Mi & Stu is not a sit-down shop with a large display of everything they have to offer. For now, they're just not that kind of bakery. But they've only been open for a month, the plain storefront a dead giveaway, so that might change. You can drop in, Saturday being the best day, but choices are limited, grouped and packaged, sitting on a shelf or stored in the fridge for X number of days. So to guarantee the utmost freshness, I strongly suggest you browse the online menu and place your order in advance. It's worth noting that you can find a limited selection of their products at these specific locations.
Again, everything by Mi & Stu is free of gluten, dairy and nuts. But know this, taste is definitely not compromised. Even if I know what I'm dealing with, I still can't tell the difference between these baked goods and the ones I've been downing over the years. Heck if anything, they might even be better. The brownies, vanilla cupcakes and especially the zucchini muffin crisps are no joke. Deliciousness truly knows no bounds.
Business hours: Tuesday-Saturday from 10:00am to 5:00pm
Erika David is a new contributor at Midnight Poutine. She blogs about Montreal restaurants and food at This is Why We're Fat and she also uses Facebook and Twitter for tasty tidbits that don't deserve a full post. She'll be covering local deliciousness in all its edible forms.