When I was in my 20s living in Boston, I used to go to Mike's Pasty frequently for cannolis and later for sfogliatelle, which were pretty tasty. Now that I'm two decades older and out in the burbs, I don't get to the North End that often, but each time I go, it seems that the quality from Mike's gets worse. This past summer, I had a sfogliatelle from there that had a very artificial cinnamon taste. Last night, my husband stopped by Mike's on the way back from the airport and bought macaroons (the almond kind, which were okay), a plain cream puff, which was filled with an artificially flavored custard, a wax-chocolate covered cream puff, filled with the same artificial custard, and nastiest of all, a rhum baba, which was clearly dyed a fake yellow and soaked in vile, bitter fake rum syrup. Moreover, every single pastry tasted as if it contained sodium benzoate, the vilest non-food substance ever added to food, but that's a topic for another day.
So were cannolis the only thing that was ever decent there or has something happened? I don't intend to get anything from Mike's ever again, but I do need a new North End pastry shop, so would appreciate your recommendations. (And yes, I know the cannolis at Modern are decent, or at least they were the last time I was there.)
Oh, and why do bakeries ever use artificial anything? If you're going to the trouble of baking, why not use actual food?