The Sweet Life is a very exciting place for me. It’s a darling new cafe on Regent, next to Mid Sea Eatery, that I have been creeping on for a few weeks. I watched as a young woman and her daughter set it up together: a family effort. The decor is all white, with pictures of candy on the walls, a nice turquoise print upholstering the chairs. Stepping into it is like inhabiting a childhood dream, part doll-house, part bakery. Something like the movie Chocolat, but Fredericton’s version.
The owner’s daughter Ellie gets her own miniature play kitchen inside the cafe, right beside the cash. There’s a little stove, chairs, tables, and a chalkboard that proudly states her involvement in the business: This is Ellie’s place too.
I arrived for lunch believing this was a dessert-only cafe. But the lunch special included a few other things, including a Chicken Basil Panini. I started with a Chicken Basil Panini. It was really tasty, though I wish it had a side. The chicken was fresh and pulled apart, held together with a basil mayo, if there was any mayo at all, it was very subtle and light.
I grabbed a coffee off their self-serve station comprised of two Keurig’s set up on a shelf with just about every flavoured coffee and tea disk one could imagine.
The panini was really just a prelude. A foreword. A nicety I felt I owed the owners. I reached the counter and looked at the glass display of cupcakes, cake pops, squares, cheesecakes and began my order.
I wanted an assortment. I wanted to sit there with a tray of desserts and eat it all until I had a mild sugar heart attack.
Half way through making my selection the cashier misunderstands me, tries to ask, “Wait…is this for here, or to go?”
I smile devilishly, “For here…Yep…For right here,”
I’m not saying that there’s no merit in going to Sweet Life to eat a panini. Sure there is. They’re downtown, and Im guessing the professional crowd isn’t going to sit eating 4 cupcakes a day. They need the options. But this cafe is called the Sweet Life for a REASON. Their desserts are to die for. The chocolate strawberry cupcake is moist and rich and heavenly. The peaches and cream cupcake is sugary and a reminder about the peach, the peach! What a wonderful fruit! The light hint of it in the frosting is completed by a fresh slice of the fruit in the center.
The key lime squares are the owner’s self-professed favourite. She claims she can’t stay away from them. I love cheesecake so I agree. And I loved the twisted lime sliver decorating the top. (I’m unsure that the food colouring in it is necessary to make it green. You can tell from the taste and I’m a bit bothered when things look artificial…)
What takes the “cake” if you will, were the cake pops. I have never had a cake pop. I’d seen them at Starbucks but thought, “What’s the point?” It seemed too cutsey, dainty, non-committal. But consider the amount of moisture that one small bite of cake, made for that purpose, glazed with chocolate for that tiny purpose, can accomplish. My heart flutters for cake pops.
There are many new experiences to be had at Sweet Life. If you’ve never had a cupcake, if you don’t understand the cake pop frenzy, if you’ve never taken a day to yourself to just sit and eat a plateful of desserts for lunch…There’s a little family-run haven saying you should.