Joe Glaser is the owner of La Bella Torte, an Italian pop-up bakery right off the L train Graham stop. He was a plumber, but is now a pastry chef—and we all should be mighty thankful for that.
Inside a vacant Uncle Louie G's, Joe has a pop-up bakery set up till the end of December. Expect to discover Italian classics, including sfogliatelle, and mini cannoli filled to order at $2 each (three for $5). He's mighty generous with the sweet ricotta filling, and the soft, subtle chocolate chip is my favorite. Rainbow cookies, biscotti, and pignoli will be introduced next week, alongside Italian butter cookies. And don't pass on the anisette cookies! All cookies are priced between $10-$18 a pound. Tiramisu is available by the single serving (or pre-order a 10" serving for $40), an easy to love crowd pleaser of espresso-soaked ladyfingers and alternating layers of mascarpone, with a cocoa-powder top.
But you'll find more than just traditional goods. In fact, some of the best sweets from La Bella Torte are much more modern. These include Spiced Brownie squares with heat from red chili pepper flakes ($1.50), and the petite Nutella Cakes ($4) pictured above, iced in a whipped banana frosting.
The Nutella isn't overwhelming, but delicately blended into the batter, making for tiny pockets of melty indulgence and an overall light cake, almost Oreo-like in flavor. Bananas and Nutella? I can't think of a more likable pairing. Joe also makes Strawberry Shortcakes and a Chocolate WOW cake—his take on a bold devil's food.
I passed those and headed straight for the Olive Oil Rosemary Cake ($4). I'm a sucker for olive oil cakes, and these almost border on savory, though a dose of blood orange brings it right back to the dessert realm. Moist with a crumbly and dense body, this could be breakfast every day. The pop-up is open until December 31st. What happens after that? You can order via Joe's online shop, though his goal is to have an Italian dessert truck... now, that would be just dreamy!
La Bella Torte
About the author: Originally from Honolulu, Kathy YL Chan writes A Passion For Food, where she chronicles her eats and travels adventures between Hawai'i, New York and beyond. She firmly believes that there is always room for dessert.