Saturday, February 15, 2014

Perfect Pretzels

DC Outlook is all "tied up in knots" and "twisted" over who has the best soft pretzels in town. There's no place for Rold Gold, Snyder's or Utz in this discussion. We're talkin' buttered, fresh & salted (with a sprinkle of flavor, if that's your thing.) Some are found in shopping malls, others in converted houses (The Pretzel Bakery) and still others at local markets. They might not win over your average German monk, but we found a few worth your time and consideration.

Auntie Anne's: Double A's been around for years, and has over 1,400 locations throughout the world; but their Sweet Almond let me down big time. Priced at $3.19 per, it's thin, has no butter and tasted flat (with zero almond flavor, to be frank.) Toss in cold too, and it's a wonder I ever stopped by in the first place.

Grade: D

Auntie Anne's Sweet Almond

Bender Arena: They serve SuperPretzels ($3) at the Bender Arena concession stand; but the word super should refer to the service, and sadly not the pretzel. Nicely sized and loaded with salt, mine was cold (again) and had hints of cinnamon (due to close proximity.) How does it get so cold in a heated display case? At least it's well-cooked, with good texture.

Grade: C-

SuperPretzel at Bender Arena

The Hamilton: Can you say "yum?" Just 5 bucks gets you two good-sized soft pretzels and the zestiest, most amazing mustard dipping sauce ever. You could build an entire happy hour around these bad boys and some tasty drafts. Soft isn't how I'd describe them; but it's how most traditional pretzels are prepared. Great for dipping: One should fill most people; but I (happily) devoured both.

Grade: A-

Pretzel Sticks at The Hamilton 

Wetzel's Pretzels: Straight-up delicious. The Original runs you $2.99 (a dime cheaper than Auntie Anne's) and arrives warm, buttery, salty & A-mazing. Hand rolled & baked fresh, Wetzel's is our unofficial "King of the Corporate Pretzels."

Grade: B+

Wetzel's Pretzels Original (buttered)

and click below to see...

Charles E. Smith Center
J. Paul's