We were driving down the road to the Cape Fear River, bathed in the golden early morning light, and I was so groggy in my pre-caffeinated mind, that I could barely think in a straight line.
Until I saw this sign.
I sat bolt upright with the adrenaline of a toddler who’d been given espresso, my eyes sparkled with the excitement of a hardened crack addict about to get their fix, and my toes started to cramp.
(I can’t really explain the cramping toe part.)
Papa parked the car, and I tripped over myself to get out.
As soon as Papa’s car door opened, the scent of fresh baked pastries hit me in a punch of buttery, vanilla-y, sugary goodness. We hadn’t even gone into the store yet, and already my Fat-Senses were tingling. (Fat-Senses? They’re like Spider-Senses on Spiderman, or Bat-Senses on Batman. We all have our own super powers. Don’t judge.)
As soon as we walked in, we could feel the benevolence and nurturing that is Burney’s Bakery. The hot coffee fumes in the air mingled with the deep fryer’s oil. Papa and I felt the waves of love wash over us. I whimpered with the exuberant joy of a puppy as I pressed my nose up against the glass and shook with excitement. I did everything but pee on the floor.
Our eyes were filled with the glorious artery-cloggers before us.
The tarts and cakes and pies!
And the spanking fresh doughnuts!
But then, through the corner of our eyes, we spied the Holy Grail of carbohydratic delight, and everything else faded into the background.
There, dancing and frolicking in the deep-fryer, were the true treasures of this bakery.
They were not doughnuts frying. They weren’t hushpuppies, or French fries, or fish sticks.
No, my beloved friends, your eyes are not deceiving you. That wonderous magician of a baker is flipping her deep-fried butter CROISSANTS. I’ll say it again: Deep. Fried. Buttery. Croissants.
Which she then lifted out to drain, and then washed in a gushing waterfall of pure sugary glaze. I fainted.
After Papa gallantly and lovingly scooped me off the floor, we watched as the glaze slowly hardened. Then the gentle, sweet, nurturing baker violently crammed them with fillings ranging from Boston Crème, Chocolate, Raspberry, Strawberry, Cherry, Blueberry, Lemon, and Apple, to plain white frosting,
and had the gall to ask us which ones we wanted. AS IF we would not be taking some of every single flavor.
We were, after all, taking these back to Maryland specifically for Varmint and Critter.
And yes, those are only two children, but we didn’t know exactly what flavor they would want, and feared we’d miss the mark. Papa is, if nothing else, anxious to spoil, as any good grandfather is. So we got one of every deep fried stuffed butter croissant they had to offer. And a few other things, for good measure.
Including one of Varmint’s favorite all-time flavors of doughnuts and cakes: Red-Velvet.
Is this love, or what?
Or maybe gluttony. I’m not sure what the difference is, frankly.
We thanked the lovely bakers profusely, and left with our three big boxes of artery-busting, renal system crushing, pants-seam punishing gifts of edible love.
Burney’s Bakery in Southport, North Carolina……Do. Not. Miss. It.
(And bring us back a box!)