Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Zen Baking Company is Zen-fully Delicious

Chonnie & Czarina
Thousands of people filled the streets of Deep Ellum last Saturday night.  While most of the crowd was there to enjoy the Deep Ellum Art Festival, a handful of us were there for the opening of Zen Baking Company.

Whoever decided it was a good idea to hold a grand opening the same night as this festival should be drawn and quartered.  Main Street was blocked off, leaving guests to circle Deep Ellum aimlessly looking for parking. Once found, I had to totter for blocks in my stilettos through the throngs of people in tank tops and flip flops.

It was only the lure of cocktails and cake balls that kept me going until at last I made it inside. I am happy to say, it was worth the trouble.

Zen Baking Co. is located at 2805 Main Street in what used to be Blind Lemon, part of the Club Clearview complex.  Ah, the memories...  If those walls could talk.

The Zen mistresses behind this ambitious project are sisters Chonnie Richey and Czarina Hounsel.   This dynamic duo started baking cake balls in 2010 and has mainly been wholesaling to Central Market and selling off of their website.

Current flavors include Rockin' Red Velvet, Cookie Dough Whoa!, Happy Birthday Cake, Berry Yummy, Sunshine Lemon, Ode to Nola, Nice Day for a White Wedding, Choco-choco-choco-late and Not So Plain Vanilla.

Interior designer, Brittany Wertz, under the guidance of Heather Asbury of Asbury Interiors, kept a lot of the original Blind Lemon features, refurbishing whatever they could.

It is very impressive that they had three weeks from the time they signed the lease until the grand opening party. Very impressive when you take in the red leather banquette that envelops one whole wall, the long L-shaped bar where customers can enjoy cake and a cocktail, the DJ booth and dance floor (great space for private parties!) and lounge area.

Tracy, Lynae and Otto
The sisters wanted to show their support for other aspiring young female chefs, so a contest was held and four culinary students from the Art Institute were invited to present an hors d' oeuvre for judging.

Special guests Tracy Rathbun and Lynae Fearing of Shinsei and Otto Borsich from Central Market in Southlake provided their expertise as judges.  The winning chef will have their dish on the menu at the Central Market Southlake store. Quite a prize for a young chef!

The girls were recently featured on the Cooking Channel’s FoodCrafters  program.  See them in action in this video: