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Jan 9, 2010 05:05 PM

Four Bakeries, 3 Sweet tooth, Bethesda, MD

Visited 4 bakeries in Bethesda area... after so much sugar and driving around I came up with these results:

Praline= I couldn't try their croissants neither any danish pastry, apparently in days they are busy they will run out of those so you will have to call in advance to order or visit them on days they don't get busy I guess. The service was very nice, the ladies at the counter were very friendly. We were three people and ordered, hot chocolate (it was good I thought it needed thicker consistency and richer chocolate flavour, the other two that were with me thought it was good, 10 points out of 6, considering Kafe Leopold's Hot Chocolate gets an 8 and Le Pain Quotodien us under Praline's quality).

We also ordered the pumpkin, double chocolate chip, chocolate chip & chocolate espresso cookies and I can say I liked the pumpkin one, the other cookies were fine but nothing special considering you are paying more than one dollar for each small cookie. I also ordered 2 macarons, the lime and the caramel one... I must admit that I didn't expect I was going to like more the caramel one, but it happened and it had enough filling (i read some people complaining about the filling, i thought it was just enough).

It was the favorite for the other people who were with me because it was very comfy and the ambience is good for hot drinks and pastries. (I would return).

Just Cakes= A place to order Wedding cakes mostly (if you register to their website you will get a coupon for a free cupcake, and yes they will let you pick any cupcake and the sweet lady will give you a cupcake info tour =). The service was great, but you have to buy to-go no chairs unless you are looking through catalogs to order a special cake. We ordered rum, chocolate & hazelnut-choco cupcakes. Nothing amazing and expensive, I usually don't order cupcakes, but because of the DC Cupcake "Fever" I had to try it and of course the Free Cupcake Coupon..

So here we go... Chocolate was fine, oily frosting, sugary not too much flavour, the cake itself missing chocolate... (the other person who tried it said it was good) The Rum one I thought it was missing Rum flavour and the vanilla frosting was just lacking flavour as well, I mean I don't know if they do a buttercream frosting but I just couldn't have it, I think they should whip it more or go with something lighter on texture and stronger on flavour. at least the cake.

The Hazelnut one (the other person took it home so I have no idea). I also ordered a lemon bar that was very sweet but tart enough and the crust was buttery, but too sweet for me again (and yes I love sweets! but this was too much to have a whole bar). I asked the lady about the hot chocolate and she actually told me to forget about it "it is just some powder" she said, I really appreciated her honesty. I don't think I will go again, unless I get a free coupon for something new.

Breads Unlimited= mostly bread and some puff pastries (huge ecliar, napoleons, didn't catch my eye), their coffee is not fancy is just like a regular coffee pot, I don't like coffee so I didn't care, they have a huge picnic table for whoever needs to sit and have a quick cup of coffee and have a slice of bread or danish. I wanted to try their cheese danish but they run out of it, so I decided to try the cherry, peach and lemon ones... they were all soft and the jams were tasty, no cornstarch at all or very little at least (for thickening I guess), 3 small ones for a dollar is a great deal, the bread didn't look interesting to me so I didn't buy any. I would go again to try the cheese danish.

Spring Mill Bread Co. = This place had the best location because the stores around them are interesting so you could actually park, walk around and have a slice of their bread. I saw cookies and bread, and they let you taste a couple of their fresh breads they are sampling.. we tried the raisin-walnut one and the Cinnamon swirl, they both were delicious, not too heavy and I can't wait to finish my slice tomorrow for breakfast with some butter. I also bought some mini white bread they were selling and I am confident is going to be flavourful, or at least I hope. They look very artisanal or at least that's what the local makes you feel, they have no tables so you have to order to-go. I would definitively go back and buy more bread.

At the end I can say I was surprised to find fresh danish and breads in some of these places considering I visited them after 3:30pm and most of them close by 6pm on Saturdays, so I believe if you want to try Praline's croissants you have to order in advance or go early, the same with the cheese Danish at Breads Unlimited, if you have to go to Just Cakes bring your free Cupcake coupon and try their salty caramels, and if you are going to Spring Mill try the bread they are sampling and take some home for next day's breakfast =)

Afterwards if you have to drive South (I think is south i live in Arlington), stop at Rodmans get some good cheap wine and then you are good for the rest of the night =)

(of course that wasn't my case, I ended up going to Astor's, I really needed savory food after so much sweet). Tomorrow I want nothing with Sugar and she wants nothing with me.


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  1. I recently tried Spring Mill Bread Co. for the first time, and I loved the multigrain loaf I brought home. It's got great body and flavor to it. Yum.

    Next time you're on a baked goods tour, I was noticing that they have a lot of tasty-looking cookies and cakes in that coffee shop next door to the bagel shop. I didn't try any, but if anyone has, I would like to hear reviews.

    2 Replies
    1. re: hamster

      Do you mean this place?

      They're very close to Spring Mill. Thx for going to all those bakeries for me! I love Spring Mill and Great Harvest in Rockville. Great Harvest has the best Challah bread with raisins and pumpkin muffins with chocolate chips. And, their cookies are great at both those 2 places. The peanut butter cookies are to die for at Spring Mill as are their white bread loaves - great for making grilled cheese sandwiches.

      1. re: stever500

        I think it's Quartermaine Coffee Roasters, actually.
        Good to hear on the white bread, maybe I'll give that a shot sometime.

    2. I like Spring Mill a lot. They actually have one small table inside, and two tables outside, which are very nice to sit at when the weather cooperates.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Doh

        Really? probably after so much sweets I didn't notice the table lol =)

        Will have to try Great Harvest... I will do another Bakery visits, like in 2 months (so much eating this past weeks =)

        Now you mentioned the Challah with raisins.. I am looking for something similar to this

        It is like a Challah but lighter in texture and topped with toasted almonds... I haven't found this bread in DC-MD or Va

        If anyone has any recommendation, thanks =D

      2. ... You were doing a Bakery/Sweets tour of Bethesda and didn't go to Georgetown Cupcake?? :o)

        2 Replies
        1. re: gyozagirl

          I've been one too many times in Georgetown Cupcake, in Georgetown =)

        2. Breads Unlimited does indeed have good bread. My mother has been buying their corn rye (which also sells out quickly) for years. They also have very good Hamentaschen.

          Just Cakes is the bakery on Rugby Ave, between Norfolk and Woodmont? I was there a couple of years ago ... the cupcake I had was fine, though not amazing.

          Fwiw, I've been to the new G'town Cupcake. The price was (just) under $3, but the cupcake was smaller too. It was good too (choc w/vanilla buttercream), but I wasn't blown away.

          8 Replies
          1. re: Chocolatechipkt

            I think that at Georgetown Cupcake I was amazed just by the mint cupcakes, probably because I don't see so much of those in other bakeries. Wish their cake was a little more moist, the frosting is just fine, perhaps a little more punch and then I could say that the price and the line is worthy, i forgot, the calories too =)

            1. re: helenahimm

              I love Springmill's brownies- especially the rocky road. I also love Rita's Crepes (triple choc w/out the white chocolate and the cinn & sugar.) It is a crepe stand across from Barnes & Noble, near Landmark.

              1. re: chicken kabob

                I saw that Crepe stand but it was closed =( I hope to try it when I get visit again Bethesda.

                1. re: helenahimm

                  they are closed a lot. sometimes on the weekends they do not open until past 2:00. i do not see how that could be good for business. i have not had a crepe in a while. i am about due for one!

                  1. re: chicken kabob

                    You know, I think the same thing about Pupatella, (pizza truck on Ballston Metro Station), I wonder how they do business.

                    Anyways, I will try to catch that new Cupcake Truck on Downtown.

                    1. re: helenahimm

                      Spring Mill's apple streusel bread is tdf - also their sandwiches on their bread are very high quality. In the winter I grab and go (their chicken salad and blt are excellent, in the summer I sit outside and linger a bit.

                      Praline - also excellent for sweets. Their macarons are the best I've had in all of the D.C. metro area, especially the hazelnut, pistachio and chocolate.

                      1. re: beauxgoris

                        I did not like the spring mill BLT. not terrible but VERY chintz on the bacon, to me. Maybe I hit it on a bad day(?)

                        1. re: chicken kabob

                          ^^I agree, it depends who is making it. The Chicken salad is always 100 solid for me, more of less bacon though depending on who's making the sandwiches that day.

          2. Cant believe you missed Stella's!! it is fab.

            2 Replies
            1. re: fishie

              For special occasions, my family enjoys the dark & white chocolate mousse cake Stella's makes.

              1. re: fishie

                My dear partner works on Rockville so will make sure he brings some of their good.


                Though it will have to wait until February, I need to burn all those calories of past weekend =)