Works of local art baked right from scratch. By Sarah Santos : Illustration by Joshua Chang
Nestled in a snug corner where Dell and Westcott Street meet, is the home of one of Syracuse’s sweetest eats, Picasso’s Pastries and Café. After longtime couple Kayla Brandt and David Zaczynski found themselves spending ample time cooking and baking together in the kitchen, the two decided that opening their own café could be a surefire way to make a living off of what they love. Coming from families immersed in the restaurant business, they gained key knowledge that one can only learn through experience. This gave them the skills to take an idea and transform it into reality. In July 2013, Brandt and Zaczynski welcomed their first customers into Picasso’s. From cookies to pies, croissants and scones, Picasso’s various menu options satisfy both savory and sweet palettes. Made from scratch every day, the heart of the baked goods is the use of real and unpackaged ingredients: real fruits, real maple syrup, real butter, no vegetable shortening. Although Picasso’s carries their usual menu items year round, like their almond croissants and assortment of donuts, it’s the flavors that always change. The spring welcomes berries, peaches, and lemony flavors while the fall offers more apple, pumpkin, and holiday sweets.
This October and November, fall favorites will return to Picasso’s menu. Think apple bourbon hand pies, sweet potato butterscotch pies, and brown butter pumpkin donuts. The thick crust of the brown butter apple and pear pie pairs well with the generous apple filling and is accented with its crumb top. The mini sweet potato pies are an easy grab-and-go dessert, and give off just the right amount of sweet potato flavor inside the flaky crust. Not to mention the butterscotch whipped cream that tops it off to add a little more sweetness. Others to try are this season’s maple chocolate chip scone and the lime curd puff pastry. The scones are far from dry as each bite welcomes a satisfied taste of a balanced combination of local maple syrup and rich chocolate chips. Meanwhile, the lime curd’s soft flaky outside introduces the sweet and tart flavor on the inside. Pumpkin pie filled breakfast hand pies may be making their debut at Picasso’s this season as well. And if you’re looking for a piece of fall all year round, their flavorful sweet potato donuts covered in just the right amount of sugar are always on the menu. “It’s the neighbor’s food,” says Brandt. “It’s real scratch food. It’s not packaged.” JM JERK