11/25/2009Provided by Citysearch -
As a longtime North End resident, Lyndell?s is my favorite new business in the neighborhood. Lyndell?s is actually a venerable old pastry-maker with about a century of history up in Somerville, but they have a new location on Hanover St. in Boston and as someone who loves cakes and pastries as much or more than God and country, their presence has improved my quality of life immeasurably. Everything I?ve had there so far is of superb quality, and the variety is remarkable: the marzipan kugel they offer is as good as the original version you?d find in Germany, and the custard-fruit tart is just as fine as any Parisian bakery?s. I'm sure you?re famliar with Mike's Pastry down the street, which is a terrible pastry shop kept busy uniquely by its absurd reputation as some kind of magical Italian store that is ""old fashioned,"" so that if you mention that you'll be having dinner in the North End, everyone repeats like parrots, ""Oh, you gotta go to Mike's!"" Like many of the Italian restaurants in the neighborhood, Mike's employs ""shouters"" to stand outside the front door and encourage people to come in. Only, with Mike's, they're sneaky about it: they have several ""shouters,"" and instead of directly addressing people to tell them about the menu, they just stand there as if they were actual customers loudly shouting things like, ""Oh, Mike's is the best!"" or ""This is the best pastry I ever had!"" It's just obnoxious. And as for authenticity, it would be one thing if any of the employees were actually Italians; but of course they're always from Central America or Eastern Europe, so when they can't understand your English, you can't use any of the Italian phrases you might have memorized from your phrasebook in the mistaken belief that you'd get to talk to some Italian North End residents or whatever. Anyway, despite all this, I go to Mike's twice a year, at Thanksgiving and Christmas, to buy custard pie. I don't know who makes these pies. It's not Mike's, that's for sure. A delivery truck just brings hundreds of pies into Mike's a couple of days before the holiday, and this company that makes the most delicious custard pie I've ever had outside of France. They used to sell them for $4 apiece. I think the price has gone up to about $7 by now, but it's still a very good deal since the quality is excellent. I only wish I knew who baked them! Or that the same people would take over the whole operation at Mike's and actually start selling good pastries! But I?ll tell you what: this year I?m just going to Lyndell?s instead. As things stand, Mike's pastry is always mobbed with hundreds of people waiting in half-hour long queues to buy their lousy third-rate products, and down the street at Modern Pastry (the other ""old-fashioned"" crappy pseudo-Italian pastry shop) the scene is repeated, with people blocking the whole sidewalk as they wait for some crumbly, dry-ass puff pastry that's so cheap they don't even use confectioner's sugar, just regular grain sugar from the supermarket, so when you bite into the thing it just crumbles and shatters like wall plaster. Well, my advice for anyone who cares is to just step right around that crowd and walked into Lyndell's, where you?ll be the first in line, and get yourself a pieces of the glorious chocolate cake, moist and bursting with the flavor and texture of real cocoa butter, for half what you?ll pay elsewhere. And the staff is friendly and speaks good English, too!