Back in October, we revealed our crush on Peace Corps graphic designer-cum- baker Krishna Brown, the heartbeat and soul behind Shoebox Oven. Since we last spoke with her, Brown's let go of the downtown desk job and made Shoebox Oven an around-the-clock priority. Now, her "very, merry tiny bakery"–which she used to set up at local farmers markets–just turned into a "still merry, (less tiny) web-friendly bakery." Shoebox's online store opened for orders this week.
The site is filled with with up-close and personal images of her "mercurial menu," and Brown's culinary brainchildren are always animated, quick-witted and sprightly in taste and design. Check out the feathery head on that Lilliputian cupcake. Or the luscious cloud of fromage-blanc on that duchess pie. Her marshmallows are not simple
white confections, but big blocks of vibrant, swirling colors that put massmarket brands to shame. And despite Brown's mad graphic design skills, her rum-spiked canelés will never photograph as perfect as they taste–they're a staff favorite.
Many of Brown's baked goods are shippable, but when it comes to super-fragile items like the meringue topped heirloom pie, she's been known to make hand-deliveries in her trademark outfit—a polka-dot chiffon dress and beat-up sneakers. If you order by this Saturday or Sunday, Brown can have the orders ready for pick-up at Ray's the Steaks (1725 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington), or drop-off by Wednesday (perfect for the not-quite-New Years resolution, but holiday-justified snacking time). Given the unpredictable District traffic, Brown will give you a general drop-off time on the delivery date, Sears washer/dryer repair man-style.
The site also includes links to an Amazon.com store filled with gizmo and gadget recommendations that earn the Shoebox stamp of approval. Products range from kitchen accessories like a platinum-cast chrysanthemum bundt cake mold and The Balthazar Cookbook to such eccentricities as an Argentinian-imported Los Gauchos CD and a DVD of The Piano Teacher.