On a humid Wednesday in July, I was lucky enough to meet with all four of the “Me’s” behind the new-yet-not-new local family business Me & 3 and ask them my many questions about their tasty enterprise. The evening was filled with family stories, lots of laughter and even an unexpected sighting of Santa (but that’s a story for another blog).
When I posed the obvious question, “Who is ‘me’ [in Me & 3]?” Harvey Bernstein explained, “We’re all a ‘me’ in our own areas.” Daughter Corey Robinette is the “me” of kitchen operations. Daughter Lynsey Burgess is the “me” of online presence. Matriarch Mim Bernstein is the “me” who makes things run. Harvey claims for himself the “me” of rugelach-rolling and worrying—though there’s plenty of kitchen work and new product ideas to go around for all the “me’s.”
As for the worrying, having sampled the rugelach for myself, I can tell you the rugelach are not something to worry about! They’re buttery, flaky, not too sweet and just the right size. As Mim points out, “It’s a taste, not a transfusion.” Two perfect bites of chocolate-cherry or traditional apricot, currant or walnut. Gesturing for effect, Mim smiles and says, “A bite for this hip—and a bite for that one.”
The story of Me & 3 begins more than 20 years ago as an endeavor known as Daughter & Dad, which started on a lark. Long known in their community for their rugelach, Harvey and family were not allowed at Yom Kippur break-fasts without the famous treats.
When he and Corey found themselves at a local bakery that had proudly started to carry rugelach, they politely tasted it, but knew theirs was better. They went home and returned a short time later with samples of their long-perfected family recipe. It was an instant hit, and the bakery owner joked that they should bake for him. Innocently enough, 12-year-old Corey asked, “Why not?!”
Daughter & Dad was born and thrived for several years until Corey’s school demands and Harvey’s full-time job left no bandwidth to focus on the growing business. So they stopped…for many years. Only recently, when Harvey retired, could he once again pursue his passion of baking. “They were never not going to do this,” says Mim. It was always in the back of their heads, even if they didn’t discuss it with each other.
Happily, as a result, you can now purchase your own holiday honey apple cake and platters of baked goods for the high holidays and all other lifecycle and social events from Me & 3. You can also find their incredible desserts at DC-metro-area establishments, like Carving Room in DC, Dawson’s Market in Rockville, Parkway Deli in Silver Spring and several others.
Asked about the best part of the business, Mim says it’s being able to give back to the community and what she calls the “eye roll” when someone tastes the treats for the first time. And indeed, whether it’s the cookies, the mandelbread, a newly invented mandelcotti or the signature rugelach, these baked goods are certain to delight any palate.