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Welcome to Claire's: 35 Years of Recipes and Reflections from the Landmark Vegetarian Restaurant

Welcome to Claire's

By Claire Criscuolo

Published 2014

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When my dear friend Phyllis Jacks was working on her PhD, she learned to cross-stitch and I was one of the lucky ones to get a piece she made. It had the message that remains our mantra: Life is uncertain, eat dessert first!

And everyone who comes to Claire’s knows that our desserts are not to be missed. There is a counter that runs the length of most of the restaurant, and it’s covered with cakes, cookies, pies, cobblers, tarts, scones, muffins, sweet breads, and so many other baked goods that we make in house and bake all day and evening. Sometimes a cake right from the oven gets bought off the shelf before it has a chance to cool enough for us to frost, so we give the customer the frosting on the side. And, because we fully believe that there is room for indulgence in every healthy diet, we have a lot of fun baking and decorating our desserts. Everyone on staff takes part in this, and often our customers can watch the process and even taste the frostings and fillings while we’re making them. It’s not unusual for someone to pass around “taster sticks” with a new frosting or filling we’re trying. After all, it’s for them and we love their input. And who doesn’t like to taste?