Spring Mill Bread Co.

Rating: ★★★★

12736978_10153947030208011_824877869_oSpring Mill Bread Co. is a bakery and cafe located at 701 8th St SE. It is part of a small, local chain that has additional locations in Arlington, Bethesda, Gaithersburg, Rockville, Takoma Park and Wayne, PA. As their name implies, Spring Mill Bread Co. is focused on bread. They make several varieties (including challah; I can’t help but kvell) and change up the selection daily. They also have baked goods, such as muffins, scones, brownies, cake, homemade pop tarts and sweet bread. I ordered a slice of the Cranberry Pumpkin Walnut Loaf upon

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Cranberry Pumpkin Walnut Loaf

the recommendation of one of the friendly staff members. It was tasty, and very filling. The portion was large, and it almost made me too full to have lunch later. They also offered me a sample of their asiago pesto bread, which was totally delicious. Lunch options are plentiful in the form of sandwiches.

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Asiago Pesto Bread

 

12699247_10153947030403011_213295551_oThey are focused on bread, so I understand that their coffee and tea isn’t the main draw, and it makes sense that they lack fancy espresso drinks; that said, they could up their coffee and tea game a bit without detracting from their service on other fronts. The flavor of their coffee was fine (and it’s pretty inexpensive) but it wasn’t as hot as it should have been. I’m glad that they don’t charge a lot for their coffee and pretend it’s something fancy. That said, I imagine it wouldn’t be too hard to have coffee from Counter Culture or Qualia– if they did12695447_10153947030453011_2141035639_o that, they could charge a bit more and the coffee would be better. Ditto for the tea- most of their teas are Bigelow (not the greatest brand) but they have a few teas from Harney & Sons. They would be better off sourcing all of their teas from Harney & Sons. I don’t mean to be too critical of their coffee and tea or belabor this point because this is a great place and bread truly is their focus; but if they had coffee and tea that at least came closer to the quality of their bread, they would earn five stars.

Spring Mill Bread Co. is not set up as a place to work per-se, but working there on a laptop is totally doable; there are several tables, some outlets, and good WiFi. Overall, this is a really nice place, especially if you are looking for bread and baked goods.

 

A Baked Joint

Rating: ★★★★☆

12699013_10153933617038011_264458909_o.jpgA Baked Joint is a coffee shop and bakery located at 440 K St NW near Mount Vernon Square. Yes, the name is just as suggestive as you think it is; their motto is “get baked with us” and the place is run by the same people as Georgetown’s perennially popular Baked and Wired. A Baked Joint offers a wide variety of coffees, teas, cakes, breads made in-house and a variety of other baked goods. They also sell tiny “A Baked Joint” pins for $0.42[0]. It is much more spacious than Baked and Wired and has a wide variety of seating options from tables, to cozy chairs in an industrial, but atmospheric place.

12674824_10153933617308011_920460181_o.jpgI can’t give it five stars because it doesn’t have WiFi (come on, guys, it’s the 21st Century- I know some places structure their business plans around being off the grid, but that’s stupid in a city like DC where people need to be plugged-in). Like Marie Antoinette, A Baked Joint lets the people eat cake; let them have WiFi too.

 

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My coffee and cardamom cake.

Aside from that, there’s a lot to love about this place. In addition to the excellent atmosphere and friendly staff, the coffee is delicious and comes with beautiful latte art in a cup with your name on it- it’s pretty cute. I ordered a something similar to a cortado and a slice of cardamom cake to start- I happen to love cardamom, so the fact that they had that made me happy.12647880_10153933616878011_1830498552_n

 

Their selection of breads looked great too, and I loved the fact that they have challah on Fridays with a sign saying, “Happy Challah Day Every Friday .” The New York honorary Jew in me couldn’t help but kvell.

After my coffee and cake, I ordered a lavender white tea. They have a great selection of tea, it is steeped using loose-leaf tea with a timer (as it should be) and is served beautifully; I was impressed by their attention to detail. Baked and Wired fans should be aware, however, that they don’t have Baked and Wired’s famous cupcakes (I’m not a huge cupcake eater so it didn’t bother me).

 

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A beautifully done lavender white tea. Yes, that is TEA on top of the teapot.

 

Baked by Yael

Rating: ★★★★★

yael.jpgBaked by Yael is a bakery primarily known for its cakepops located at 3000 Connecticut Ave NW. As my friends are well aware, as a Long Island native I am an honorary Jew. I even have a Jewish alter-ego named Rabbi Grovewitz. So I of course greatly appreciate the fact that in addition to cakepops, Yael bakes traditional Jewish baked goods, including ruggalah and black and white cookies, both of which are very tasty. It’s certified kosher, though by a Conservative rabbi, which isn’t strict enough for my Orthodox friends. It has Rabbi Grovewitz’s seal of approval, though!

Bayou Bakery and Cafe

Rating: ★★★★★

 

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Beignets and a chicory au lait.

Bayou Bakery and Cafe is a New-Orleans themed cafe located at 901 Pennsylvania Ave SE (there is another location in Arlington at 1515 N. Courthouse Rd). It is one of my favorite spots in DC because it combines tasty food, reasonable prices and great ambiance. I go for their chicory au lait and beignets (a generous portion for around $3) and I stay for the warm interior of a Carriage House built at the request of President Lincoln. They also have real food (po’boys and such), but I haven’t yet tried it. There is ample seating, and it is a great, cozy environment for a winter day. Highly recommended – you feel like you’re in a farmhouse in the middle of DC.

 

Capital City Cheesecake

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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A coffee and a key lime cheesecake.

Capital City Cheesecake is a coffee shop and cheesecake bakery located at 7071 Carroll Avenue in Takoma Park. It is a decent coffee shop that serves a variety of cheesecakes. I had a key lime cheesecake which was tasty but a little on the icy cold side and small for the price. It’s a good bet for a coffee shop if you’re in the area, though not worth a large detour.