Saturday, February 21, 2015

Bakers & Baristas Food Review


Bakers & Baristas is the brainchild of Aaron Gordon. It's a nod to traditional Viennese coffeehouses... smack dab in the middle of Penn Quarter, and takes the place of TangySweet (also owned by Gordon.) Like its frozen yogurt predecessor, B&B looks the part, but I can't help notice a similar abundance of wasted space. That said, they offer several glorious pastries, including one of my new favorites... the oh-so-decadent Butterkuchen, which should be enough to get everyone in the door (at least once.)

Speaking of perceived waste of space, why not combine Bakers & Baristas with Red Velvet Cupcakery (also owned by Gordon) next door? My main complaint of the latter was a lack of space; so it makes sense to expand, no? Especially since cupcakes and pastries seem to be a logical match. That rent has to be killer.

Vanilla Custard Apricot Turnover

In the meantime, it's hard to find fault with fresh pastries and friendly service. You get plenty of both at Bakers & Baristas, along with an assortment of hot drinks (including 10 different espressos.) I refuse to spend more than a dollar for a cup of coffee (McDonald's) and even that's done under protest. On the other hand, I have no problem forking over $3.75 and $3.50 respectively for a Butterkuchen (buttery brioche with custard & toasted almonds, covered in a rich pastry cream) and a Vanilla Custard Apricot Turnover.

The Apricot Turnover is pretty tasty, although I didn't get much of the advertised vanilla custard... yet alone a lot of fruit filling, for that matter. The croissant is darn tasty however; and what little apricot there is, is fantastic. How long before apricot catches on, anyhow?  There's no such shortage of ingredients in the Butterkuchen. It's sufficiently delicate, with crunch on top (toasted almonds) and pillowy custard in between. Sweetness + texture = an amazing pastry. Portion size is generous; and for less than four bucks, makes a great breakfast (or dessert.)

Not sure if there's enough to justify all that aforementioned rent (B&B sells sandwiches too, and bakes their bread in-house) but Gordon is obviously committed to the area, and there's no denying the space is plenty inviting. At the very least, I know where I'll be going after my next show at the Lansburgh Theatre across the street. Bakers & Baristas is open seven days a week until 11:00 PM.