Have you been to the Sweet Pea Bakery yet? It's a welcome addition to downtown, tucked into a small storefront at the southwest corner of Jackson and 2nd Ave. Up until recently, I'd only ever stopped in to get some peanut butter and jelly sandwich cookies to go, but then some of my friends threw a birthday party there, and I realized what a cute hangout it is -- a handful of tables and colorful canvases on the walls make the space inviting. Not surprisingly, Sweet Pea even hosts artist receptions on First Fridays.
Everybody raved about the delicious hazelnut cake (filled with chocolate ganache and covered in buttercream frosting, with a layer of fondant on top), and we noshed all night on cheeses and crudites and this amazing warm mushroom and fig dip made by chef-owner Danielle Librera. I can be a creature of habit when I find food I love, but here, I want to try every last tartlet and cupcake on the menu. (With options like olive oil carrot cupcakes with mascarpone icing, and lemon curd tart with a pine nut crust and fresh raspberries, wouldn't you be indecisive, too?)