Have a sweet day,
Looking for something to celebrate this week? Well, look no further than National Pecan Pie Day on Wednesday, July 12! We’re celebrating this day with a special promotion – any visitors who buy our new drink The Memory Maker (a pecan pie latte) will also receive 10% off the purchase of a Pecan Pie.
We’ve focused a lot on this sweet treat for the past few years at Three Brothers Bakery, and I wanted to share the full story about our Pecan Pie today.
In summer 2010, an intern for Country Living magazine named Sarah called our bakery because she was looking for the best mail-order pies America had to offer. Bobby was the one who answered the phone and assumed it was just a college kid trying to get free pies. But a “discussion” (those who are married know what this means) ensued. You have to learn to pick your battles, so I gave up on trying to get Bobby to make and ship the pies. I knew it really was from Country Living because I recognized the area code and prefix from my time living in NYC.
So, one hot summer day, I walked into the production area and saw four gorgeous pies sitting out on the table. We didn’t regularly make pies then, so I asked why they were there. Bobby replied, “Well, you told me I had to make the pies, so I made the pies.” I kept my mouth shut and just smiled. The Pecan Pie we make is distinct in two ways: we use our Hamantaschen dough rather than the typical flaky crust, and it’s non-dairy.
We mailed the pies off to Country Living magazine and forgot about the whole thing. Then a month later, a photographer called and said were named the best mail order pecan pie in the country. She was asking for more pies because they needed to take pictures – I, of course, wondered why they couldn’t take the pictures before they ate them! We sent more pies.
They also said we had to have an online store if we were to be published. Well, a couple of weeks before that call someone had entered our website and online store and took it down. (The moral of the story is never give anyone root access to your website.) It took me a year to get that online store up and running, and the previous one took a year as well. When they told me we had to have an online store on a Thursday, I said, “No problem – I’ll have one up and running on Monday.” And I am proud to say I did it. Okay, that Monday it had one product, pecan pie, but we had an online store and fulfilled their requirements!
This wound up being my first foray into really pitching our bakery out to the national media, and it also led to the year-round production of pies here. We’ve kept innovating it, from our famously decadent Pumpecapple Piecake to the Fudge Pecan Pie and even our Deep Dish Pecan Pie! We ended up on the Food Network’s Outrageous Foods because of the Pumpecapple Piecake, which only happened because of the Country Living accolade that came about because of that wonderful intern, Sarah.
We’re also excited to offer our Pecan Pie Cheesecake in store this summer for a limited time to celebrate National Pecan Pie Day! We don’t carry it all the time in the bakery. If you try it and are craving more, you can end a wonderful dinner at Cavatore’s with our pecan pie cheesecake. They also have the best food, and their Caesar salad is quite a production – plus, they have great live music.
Pecan Pie Cheesecake
And we’re not done yet! This summer, we’re excited to introduce two new coffee beverages that play on our award-winning Pecan Pie. The first, as we’ve already mentioned, is a new Pecan Pie Latte. We’re calling it “The Memory Maker” since, after all, we are memory makers who happen to be bakers.
But if this Houston heat doesn’t exactly make you want to reach for a warm coffee, we cannot blame you. We also have a colder option, the Golden Pecan Frappe, that will keep you cool.
Golden Pecan Frappe
So, no matter how you like your pecans, we’ve got some way for you to celebrate this sweet treat that completely changed Three Brothers Bakery and has become a signature of our bakery’s recent history.
Have a sweet day,
Summer is almost here! We hope everyone is finishing up the school year strong and getting ready for another few months of heat. Or maybe you’re escaping Houston to go on vacation, and we can understand that (and may be a bit jealous, too!).
Bobby spent most of his summers in Houston since Sigmund had to work at the bakery. But during Passover, when the bakery was closed, his parents would take him out of school for week-long vacations. When he was 13, they went to Colorado – and Bobby would help drive!
I remember my family summer vacations fondly – playing auto bingo, getting the trip maps from AAA (back before phones or GPS), seeing my dad rip up those maps before we even left home in San Antonio. One year we went to Panama City, FL, which was like dying and going to heaven with all the amusement parks.
Summer vacations shouldn’t just be for humans, though. Starting around 2010, we began taking Gingy, the Three Brothers Bakery Gingerbread Man, on vacation with us. He travels particularly well for eating later! But along the way, we can’t resist getting a few pictures of him. (These are my two favorites.)
Gingy makes for great company to keep for a day on your trip, and so do several of our cookies. Whether you travel by car, plane or boat this summer, take a piece of home with you and make a sweet memory.
Have a sweet summer and enjoy!
It is important to be thankful each day, but this May, Three Brothers Bakery is taking ‘thanks’ to the next level with Three Weeks of Appreciation.
The first week of May, we will be celebrating teachers in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week from Monday, May 1 through Friday, May 5. (If you want extra brownie points, Teacher Appreciation Day is Tuesday, May 2.) A teacher who meant a lot to me was Mrs. Frazier, my trigonometry teacher. My high school Spanish teachers, Mr. Turner, Mr. Glaze and Mrs. Frost, were also instrumental in my development.
A funny story about Mrs. Frost. She was a hard teacher and an advisor to the Spanish Club. Each year the club went to Mexico. I went the previous year, but I thought if I didn’t go that year I would have a break from all the learning of Spanish. Boy, was I ever wrong. Mrs. Frost “punished” those who didn’t go by assigning an unfinishable amount of work due when they returned from the trip to Mexico. The only way to finish was to split up the work and then doctor it up to make it your own. Well one of my friends, Patsy – who was blind – shared in the work. Patsy was so smart, and she also typed all her assignments. She had the hardest of the package of work. When it came time to rewrite it in my words, I said to myself, “Forget it. I’m just going to copy it.”
Well, guess what? Mrs. Frost wrote in her red pen “strange, this report is word for word exactly what Patsy wrote. F.” It was either a F or a zero, but I kept the package of work as a reminder that you cannot copy other people’s work. But I will say today, I love Mrs. Frost, Mr. Glaze and Mr. Turner. I think I’m even Facebook friends with Mrs. Frost and Mr. Glaze.
I’ll never forget how Mrs. Frazier played such an invaluable role in a family grieving process. After we graduated from college, one of my friends lost a parent who was on vacation at Notre Dame Cathedral. My friend’s sister was in Mrs. Frazier’s class when she was called out of class. Mrs. Frazier was smart and compassionate – she remembered my mother and called my mom and told her to go over to their house to comfort her younger sister, so she wouldn’t be alone. When my mother arrived, a large community from their church was already there, but Mrs. Frazier attended not only to our math skills but also to our emotions. She was a wonderful teacher and person.
Bobby, on the other hand, joked that clearly no teachers made a big enough impact in his life. He did tell me a funny story from junior high where he was trying to help one of his teachers by swatting a fly off a teacher’s beehive … and ended up smacking her in the head! He also ended up in the principal’s office. Bobby was a devil.
The second week, we are honoring National Nurses Week from Saturday, May 6 through Friday, May 12. This group means a lot to me, and not just because we see so many nurses at our Memorial location from the nearby medical center. I am now over ten years free of breast cancer, and the care from so many devoted nurses during every single shift was simply invaluable. I can visualize one nurse who helped teach Bobby to get me dressed, which took a few hours in the beginning because of all my stitches. Now, my room was a no-laugh-zone because it hurt me so much to laugh. I told the nurse that Bobby was the kind of guy who’d be pouring water while watching a football game, and then pour it on me. And just a little later, when I wanted ice chips, he didn’t let me down. He watched TV and proceeded to pour them all over me – and that poor nurse had to hold in the biggest laugh!
The third week, we are celebrating moms in honor of Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 14. I loved my mom. One thing I’ll never forget is the way she taught me my colors, sitting on the floor when I was just 2 or 3 years old. But another thing she taught me which I didn’t quite appreciate at the time is how she always answered “simply wonderful!” when anyone asked how she was, even towards the end of her life when she got around in a scooter. She told me, “No one wants to hear your sorrows. No one will want to be around you if you begin the conversation with all your aches and pains.” As I’ve aged, that’s a very valuable lesson, and one that I think many people can take. You may know my sign-off, “Have a sweet day!” – it’s my way of paying homage to her. She always said “have a happy day,” so mine is the bakery version. In my personal life, I even say “have a happy day.” Thanks, Mom!
When I asked Bobby about his mom, the first thing he mentioned was all the different miracle cures she brought home for his acne growing up. But then he moved onto some of the fonder memories, like how she took he and his friends on skiing trips when no other parents wanted to go. Since Sigmund kept busy at the bakery, his mom often served both parental roles – a remarkable duty to assume.
I’m willing to guess all of us have someone to thank in one of these three categories. Our lives are forever impacted by their sacrifices, many of which go without thanks or adequate appreciation. If you’re fortunate enough to maintain contact with any of them, why not show them some sweet love this month?
Have a sweet & happy day!
This week, we commemorate Yom Ha’Shoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. As many of you know, the centuries-old history of Three Brothers Bakery runs through the Holocaust, where Sigmund, Max and Sol – along with their sister Janie – were among the lucky ones to escape the atrocities of the concentration camps.
We’ve told their history several times on the blog, and you can read them by following the links below. Though their stories have not changed, the urgency to remember and retell them remains as pressing as ever. If we truly mean “Never Again,” that means we can never forget the needless pain and suffering they endured.
As the saying goes, April showers bring May flowers. But I also hope they bring Three Brothers Bakery’s favorite kind of showers: wedding, baby, bridal and more!
I’ve been to plenty of showers myself. I was lucky enough to receive an entertainment shower before my wedding, where I received plentiful amounts of gifts for all number of occasions from kitchen equipment to honeymoon attire. I have also gone to a “pounding” shower. In the old days, it was a way to fill a newlywed couple’s pantry. Our pounding was to bring a recipe and a pound of something that went in the recipe. My favorite was someone gave the bride a recipe for chicken soup or chopped chicken livers and as the ingredient, she gave her a pound of chicken schmaltz. For those who don’t speak Yiddish – it’s FAT! No wonder we Jews were always dying of “hardening of the arteries.”
Anyway, my favorite kinds of showers are the ones where the bakery makes the cake – and we get pictures or video of it. Especially with the rise of “gender reveal” cakes, which contain pink or blue icing inside to disclose the sex of the baby. We have so much fun because it also means we get to know before the parents do!
Our operations manager, Jason, had a particularly memorable gender reveal cake experience. I don’t want to spoil it, so just watch the video and have a good laugh! (Fair warning: this does contain some language not appropriate around the young children.)
If you can’t wait until the birth of your child to know the baby’s sex, there is simply no sweeter way to find out than with a cake. Look at some of these other gender reveal cakes we’ve designed for new parents all around town and get some inspiration.
Happy Purim! On the evening of Purim, Jews go to the synagogue, where the rabbi shares the story of Esther, who stood up to Haman and helped the Jewish people escape his tyranny. This commemoration leads into the Purim schpeil, a community play acting out the Megillah (story of Esther).
Some of my favorite Purim memories include Harvey Gibb dressing up as Queen Esther – and, of course, the infamous time I brought a non-Jewish family to the Megillah reading. Little did they know what was coming! It is a wild time with noise makers, costumes and foot stamping. The young son turned to his father and said, “Dad, can we join this church?”
One sign that Purim is approaching across the country is the reemergence of the seasonal treat, Hamantaschen. (You can read all about why we eat it now in a blog post from 2016.) If you’re a frequent visitor of the bakery, however, you probably know we sell Hamantaschen year-round – one of the few bakeries who do. Well, there’s a story about why.
A lady named Ms. Ramirez, who was not even Jewish, used to call Bobby every few weeks asking for Poppyseed Hamantaschen because she loved them so much! He said he didn’t want to make them unless she ordered a lot, and then she ordered three dozen Hamantaschen. So, we made them along with a few extra for the store, all of which sold. Ms. Ramirez called back a few weeks later and ordered even more. Sure enough, every few weeks, she would call again asking for more. It got to the point where Bobby just started making them every day, so he wouldn’t have to gear up for Ms. Ramirez, and people bought them. In fact, the bakery sold out repeatedly.
This happened about ten years ago, and it is such a neat and distinctive year-round feature for Three Brothers Bakery. We are so thankful to everyone who continues to enjoy our delicious Hamantaschen year-round. Whether it’s your first time or you’ve lost count, we hope you’ll come try the latest variation of these sweet treats – rainbow Hamantaschen! These are the same beloved treats that our customers and family have enjoyed for years, only now with a more colorful crust. But you will need to come during Purim. Be warned – they are a pain to make, so get them while you can or you have to wait until next year.
Have a sweet day and enjoy!
Last year, we tried something new to celebrate Pi Day – 3.14, or March 14 – a contest to win pecan pie. Anyone who recited 10 digits would win a slice of pecan pie, and those who could recite 25 digits (75 for 2017) won a whole pecan pie.
Well, little did we know, but so many smart school children were practicing for two whole weeks to learn all the digits of pi to get a free pie from us! We also had plenty of engineers come in who could easily run through 25 digits. It taught us a lesson – we have some very talented mathematical brains in Houston, and a lot of them love pie.
So now we have upped the ante for our 2017 edition of the Pi Day contest. There will be no more slices given away this year, only full pecan pies. To win one, participants must recite 75 digits of pi. It’s a little more challenging, but based on what we saw last year, it’s nothing that the smart fans of our bakery cannot handle.
We hope to see you in the bakery on March 14, whether you have the sequence memorized or not. It’s going to be a fun day of interactive festivities for everyone at all our locations, and you won’t want to miss them!
If you complete it correctly, you’ll be presented with a certificate, and there will be photo opportunities with your pie. Also, we learned our lesson last year when we ran out of pies. This year, we’ll even have IOUs in case we underestimate how many smart folks live in our great city of Houston.
So we have now given you lots of time to start memorizing, and we’ll see you on Pi Day.
Have a sweet day and enjoy!
This month, we are celebrating five years of business at our Memorial location. Someone described the time as half a decade, and I could only say in response – wow!
Our growth happened because of Hurricane Ike – talk about making lemonade out of lemons. It was a line in the sand that Three Brothers Bakery had survived the storm and was moving on to a new chapter.
While rebuilding, Bobby was at a restaurant equipment auction and met a gentleman who helped talk us into hiring a one of his restaurant partners as a bookkeeper after we reopened. During that time, we had hired a business coach who taught us you cannot do it all and grow. So, we then decided to hire a general manager – and Tom, our bookkeeper, was the perfect person. He was an experienced restauranteur with financial experience. And he is still with us today!
Tom hired a management team who said they would pay for themselves, and to achieve that, the team knew we had to grow and expand. Bobby and I went kicking and screaming into growth, but it was ultimately a very good thing for us. One of them found the Memorial location, which was perfect for so many reasons. It had ample parking and near administrative, shopping, residential and medical areas – all five things a wonderful location needs. You very rarely find all four of these in the same place.
We have shared so many memories in the space, but a few stand out. Bobby said he loved when one woman told him how glad she was not to have to schlep out to Braeswood to get her baked goods. This woman also mentioned loving “the show,” a term we had never heard before.
So, when we asked her to elaborate, she told us it meant that her dad took her to the original bakery every Sunday to watch Sigmund yelling and then turning around and yelling at the customers in English. This was “the show.” Today that would never fly, but there was really no competition then.
As for me, I remember the joy of our opening day and getting all the family together again. And our official “first customer,” Clyde Cannon, joined us as well to continue his streak. Clyde wrote us during our closure for Hurricane Ike and told us about how he was our first customer when the bakery opened on Holman. He was a student at San Jacinto High School waiting for the bakery to open and placed the first order ever – a cinnamon roll. Many years later, Clyde was also on hand to help Sigmund cut the cake at our bakery’s 60th anniversary celebration. Since then, he has been the ceremonial first customer at all our new bakery location openings. And today, every Monday, Clyde also meets with Sigmund and Joe for lunch at our Washington location, then they have coffee at Memorial, and Joe and Sigmund finish out the day at the Braeswood bakery. (If you want to talk to Sigmund, now you know his schedule.)
And to keep the legacy going, we now have an official “first customer in training” – Clyde’s daughter! She teethed on our bagels and, one day, she might bite into the first treat at a new location.
Have a sweet day, and enjoy!
Love is in the air, or maybe it’s the sugar from all the Valentine’s Day treats we’re making at Three Brothers Bakery! This special time of year has arrived again when everyone needs to get a sweet something for the special person in their life to show their love. I keep hoping someone will get engaged at the bakery again like one couple did in 2014.
Believe it or not, I had never witnessed a proposal until just a few years ago when I saw two within a six-month span. Shortly after that moment in the bakery, I went to dinner with my 59-year-old cousin who had never married. Her boyfriend at the time asked me to videotape when the restaurant brought out the cake, and little did I know – he was going to pop the question! I would share the video, but it’s mostly just me shrieking excitedly!
I thought my own proposal would happen during a romantic trip Bobby and I took to Belize, but sure enough, it didn’t happen there. We came home and stood in his kitchen, which Bobby was remodeling, and he asked, “Will you be my partner?” I thought, “What does that mean?” What would you have thought it meant?
Well, sure enough, I ended up being his partner – in life and in business!
But some people might not need to ask such an important question this holiday. Maybe you just want to show your love and affection in a slightly more extravagant way, in which case we have just the treats for you. And if you’re getting over heartbreak or celebrating Singles Awareness Day, we also have you covered with our Anti-Valentine’s treats!
Have a sweet Valentine’s Day!