Just Desserts: The Munchkinette

A new bakery and dessert bar in Keyport holds sweet promise.

Katrina Ramos

Katrina Ramos is going to be on TV. Count on it.

Ellen is going to want to meet me,” Ramos says, and she’s talking about DeGeneres, the present-day guidestar of positivity and kindness, whose eponymous daytime talk show is where the ambitious appear to cement their place in the public consciousness. “I am going to get on Ellen. And also get my own Food Network show.”

This all might happen after Ramos gets on “American Ninja Warrior,” for which she’s been setting her sights and training her body.

But, meanwhile, Katrina Ramos has a lot on her plate with the grand opening Saturday of The Munchkinette, her bakery and dessert bar at 12 West Front Street in Keyport.

She stands a proud 4-foot-10, this 25-year-old dynamo who graduated in 2014 from Johnson & Wales, a well-regarded culinary college in Providence, RI. For the past few years, she’s worked both baking and as a personal trainer, saving money to open The Munchkinette. With financial help from her mother, Lori Argentina, and building assistance from her stepfather, Joseph Argentina, “I willed this into existence,” Ramos says, a broad smile on her face.

This” is the downtown shop in Keyport, which sits next to Union Beach, where Ramos grew up one of 10 siblings in a blended family. “I went to Keyport High School, so I wanted to keep this super local.”

The Munchkinette’s first customers are very local, ranging from folks stopping in to meet the new baker on the block, to her clients as a personal trainer, to other members of the Keyport culinary community.

In fact, no less a star chef than Drew Araneo, owner of Drew’s Bayshore Bistro—just down the street in Keyport—and winner of the 2017 Garden State Culinary Arts Award as Best Chef, says, “She makes a serious cannoli. Honestly, one of the best I’ve had. …(There’s) a French toast eclair topped with bacon and some different cookies—Snickerdoodle and Red Velvet.”

You can sit on the Friends-esque couch near the entrance to The Munchkinette and, well, munch, on a Snickerdoodle cookie, which is moist, soft and chewy from just the right dose of cream of tartar and warming to the bite from that perfect shake of cinnamon. You can enjoy the Red Velvet cookies, with the hint of cocoa keeping them light and flecks of chips giving them sweet crunch.

Cannoli, cookies and eclair

You can dip into her shooters, cups of decadence that can be filled with cheesecake and berry preserves, then topped with extra dense and rich, cream topping.

Cheesecake shooter

Or Ramos can make you a crepe, one of her specialties: Think Jailhouse Rock Crepe, with Reese’s and bananas; Campfire Crepe, with fudge, graham crackers and marshmallow; or Uh-Oh Oreo, with chantilly cream and crushed Oreos. There are brownie explosions as well—sundaes of a sort, with Ramos’s signature brownies taking center stage.

If you’re lucky, Ramos might show you her video, which offers a glimpse of why she just might be crowned “the shortest Ninja ever to attempt the course” on NBC-TV’s American Ninja Warrior. Fierce, fit and feisty, Katrina Ramos lives by the words printed on a box given to her as a good-luck gift when she opened The Munchkinette: “Don’t Be Afraid to Take a Few Whisks.”

The Munchkinette, 12 West Front Street in Keyport,  is open from 9 am to 6 pm weekdays and from 8 am to 6 pm weekends. 732-217-1790; themunchkinette.com is forthcoming and Katrina Ramos is on Instagram.

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