Eight years ago, Tabrina Avery switched schools and regions — from business school in North Carolina to the Le Cordon Bleu in Pittsburgh. This summer, with the help of her former employers at Opening Night catering, she opened Dulcinea Bakeshop, in the Strip District. ("Dulcinea" is the woman whom Don Quixote fell in love with, and the name translates to "sweet lady.")
Though barely open a month, Dulcinea may have already minted a signature item — a cinnamon roll topped with crumbled bacon. Also popular are the lemon bars with candied rosemary and an oatmeal chai-infused cream "pie," an oversized filled cookie that's an upscale play on Little Debbie snacks. Or try the muffins, Danishes, cupcakes, cookies and fruit turnovers. (The cherry turnover I snapped up was made with whiskey from Wigle, Dulcinea's neighbor.) Avery also bakes a savory quiche each day, and takes orders for cakes, including wedding cakes.
Avery says baking at Dulcinea is a "one-woman show"; her day starts at 5:45 a.m. Asked if she has a favorite item to bake, Avery cites "laminated dough," as in a Danish or croissant. "You take this huge chunk of butter, and fold it between the layers of the dough," she explains. "It's labor-intensive, but the product that you get is so rewarding, because you have thousands of layers of dough and little butter pockets."