If you live in South Jersey, then you probably know that The Sweet Life Bakery in Vineland makes cakes very well. You don’t win “The Best Wedding Cake in South Jersey” from the readers of SJ Magazine, or “Best of SJ” from The Knot and Wedding Wire without a delicious cake and stellar designs. So it may come as a surprise that The Sweet Life has branched out into new territory – Saturday Brunch. Owner Stephen Wilson says, “It was inspired by many yummy brunches that we’ve gone to…in both Philly, NYC, and San Fran. I wanted to do something a little more fancy, kinda fun. It’s a work in progress.” The brunch menu changes seasonally with ingredients sourced from local farms as much as possible. Entrees are served with a side salad, a different spin on the usual brunch fare. “Jill’s Aunt Reg turned us onto that. She’s a great cook,” adds Wilson. Jill McClennen is The Sweet Life’s co-owner, pastry chef, and Stephen’s “better half.”
In a city full of family-owned diners that have been serving brunch for years, I asked Stephen where he finds inspiration for his constantly changing menu. “Inspiration comes from anywhere,” he replies, “an idea, an ingredient, something we ate somewhere.” Wilson adds that the Crab Cakes Benedict and French Toast made with bakery-fresh challah are very popular. “And of course, the breakfast sandwiches fly out the door!”
My recent visit to The Sweet Life Bakery began with a Cafe Americano, made from coffee roasted in Millville by Kaffe Magnum Opus. It’s hard to find an Americano in the Vineland area, and The Sweet Life does it well. After ordering at the counter, we were lucky to find seats in the small dining area. This is a popular place, and it fills up quickly! My husband ordered the Crab Cakes Benedict – two bakery made biscuits topped with poached eggs, (real!) crab cakes and Hollandiase sauce. After trying a bite of this savory entree, I don’t think I could ever eat “regular” eggs benedict again. The crab cakes make such a big difference! I had Huevos Rancheros – 3 corn tortillas topped with spiced and shredded chicken, beans, white cheddar, guacamole, sour cream and poached eggs. Whew! It was a generous portion with just the right spiciness. I didn’t need to eat again until dinner. Finally, my son had a made-to-order egg sandwich which he proclaimed was “perfect.” Other brunch entrees include French Toast (which looked amazing), Apple Pancakes, and a Veggie Frittata.
The Sweet Life Bakery is located at 601 East Landis Avenue in Vineland and offers brunch every Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm. Reasonable prices from $3.99 for an egg sandwich to $8.99 for the eggs benedict. Eat-in or carry-out. Baked goods and pastries also available (and highly recommended).
Jennifer Malme is a full-time mother, sometime substitute teacher, avid locavore, and enthusiastic supporter of New Jersey wines. Her lifestyle blog, Down-Home South Jersey, explores ways to live simply and eat well in and around Cumberland County. When she is not blogging, she enjoys cooking, touring local wineries, and reading. She has never met a cheese that she doesn’t like, and she especially enjoys finding new, authentic ethnic restaurants in her area. Jennifer lives in Vineland with her husband, teenage son, and very smart Siamese cat.