Jullie: Picnics & SusieCakes

The sky was bright blue and absolutely clear, and San Francisco was just bathing in sunshine. That's what I like to call ideal picnic weather. Not wanting to waste a beautiful afternoon, we packed up the two kids, picked up some grub, and headed straight to the Marina Green. Then, after chowing down on some sandwiches and soaking up some Vitamin D, we took a short walk to Chestnut St. I was on the prowl to satisfy my sweet tooth and craving for dessert. That's when we found ourselves in SusieCakes bakery!

On sunny days like this, the views from the Marina Green never disappoint. (Remember this?) On one side, there's Golden Gate Bridge, sailboats & windsurfers galore, and even Sausalito off in the distance. On the other side, classic San Francisco architecture is the backdrop, with beautiful homes lining the boulevard.

We laid out a blanket on the grass (my sister's JJ Cole Essentials blanket, which I love and it's only $30 at Target!), and we gobbled up sandwiches, chips, and Cokes. My niece and nephew had a blast running around, and they weren't the only ones. People brought their dogs out (I spotted a Newfie, Great Dane, and a St. Bernard...it was awesome), kids were flying kites, and one dad was even giving his son and daughter tee-ball lessons. If the water views weren't enough, Marina Green is a perfect spot for picnics or just laying out and reading a book.

My sister wanted to walk around a little bit and do some leisurely exploring, so we made our way over to Chestnut St. And who do I run into??? Those gorgeous newfies that I saw the last time!

I took my sister and my niece to SusieCakes so that we could pick up a few goodies to take home. As soon as we stepped inside the bright bakery, we were greeted with smiles and a "Hello, ladies! Come on in!" There was such a warm and inviting atmosphere, even though they were pretty busy that afternoon. (Sometimes I can't stand busy places where you're forced to awkwardly stand around and fight for an employee's attention.)

SusieCakes is inspired by owner Susan Sarich's two grandmothers, Mildred and Madeline, and the 4x6 handwritten recipe cards that they passed on to Susan. Guests of this bakery are treated to classic sweet treats that are made with all-natural ingredients and made from scratch, with all baking done on-site. In fact, Martha Stewart chose SusieCakes as one of her favorite bakeries in America.

While the sky-high layer cakes and frosting-filled cupcakes all looked very tempting, my niece pointed out the mini cupcakes and begged, "Baby cakes! Baby cakes!"

Since they were having a 3 for $5 deal going on, I chose 1 chocolate-chocolate for my nephew and 2 vanilla cupcakes with the signature "Susie Blue" vanilla buttercream. Susie's own philosophy is that a bakery should be judged on its vanilla cake/vanilla buttercream! Spoiler alert: hers were delicious.

One of the signature desserts is the "sweetie pie", a heart-shaped pie with weekly-special and seasonal fillings. This one was filled with lemon curd. (I really love pies, so I was really excited to try this one.) The filling was creamy and tart, the crust was buttery and melt-in-your-mouth, and the glaze added just enough sweetness. This was my sister's favorite, and it was so good.

As for my favorite...When I saw a little card that read "Susie's Nutty", I was instantly intrigued. Peanut butter buttercream between two peanut butter cookies?!? I tried not to drool all over the glass display... I even passed over the peanut butter cupcake.

Remember when I got a peanut butter milkshake at Pearl's? I am a big ol' sucker for peanut butter anything. And this was like a Nutter Butter on culinary steroids. Just look at all of that creamy, nutty goodness. The cookies were soft and chewy, and the frosting was rich and decadent. This was definitely my favorite of the desserts that we brought home.

If you ever find yourself in the city on a sunny day, you can't go wrong with a picnic and some Susie Cakes! :)