Shilla Bakery – Ellicott City, MD – 05/24/20

When I was out and about earlier today, I decided to stop by Shilla Bakery. It’s another place that I’ve passed more times than I can count, but never stopped in.

The display case had some really cute cakes. The bread based treats reminded me of a couple of other places that I’ve been to in the past. Although it took me some time to finally decide what to get, I was able to limit myself to two dessert-type treats.

They also had South Korean Iced Coffee on the menu, so I thought I would give it a try. I’m a frappe person, but I didn’t mind giving it a try. They told me it was very sweet, and they were right. I’m not sure if there was honey in there or simple syrup, but there was a nice sweetness to it. It also had a pretty bold coffee flavor. One of my sisters enjoys iced coffees, and I could see her liking this.

The first treat that I ate was a chocolate croissant twist. This was a nice snack. The bread was a little flaky, but really soft. There was a custardy mixture in there along with the chocolate chips. Eating this put a smile on my face.

The other treat that I bought was Shilla’s Whoopie Pie. The cake was more similar to a cakey brownie. A little dry, but nice chocolate flavor. The cream on the inside was nice and light, with the right amount of sweetness. The best part of this was the dipped chocolate. It was all around the the exterior of the whoopie pie. I think I would have loved it if it was completely surrounded in chocolate, but not everyone would enjoy that. This was still a nice treat.

I didn’t have any expectations going in, but I’m glad that I was able to try both of the treats as well as the iced coffee. I will be stopping in this place again in the not so distant future. It was another great experience!

Touche Touchet Bakery and Pastry Shoppe – Columbia, MD

The weekends are about the only time where I can get out and about, so I try to take advantage. I did not do as much as I normally would, since I was trying to minimize interactions. Hopefully I’ll be able to go out next weekend, but we’ll see how things continue this week.

I decided to try a new place – Touche Touchet Bakery and Pastry Shoppe in Columbia, Maryland.

While I was driving, I kept seeing white blooms along the road, which tells me that Spring is definitely close. When I got to Touche Touchet, there were a couple of trees that had these.

After looking at the various options, I decided on two desserts, a Triple Chocolate Cookie and a slice of Boston Creme Cake.

I started with the Triple Chocolate Cookie. The flavor of this was good. The outer edge was crunchy, but the inside portion was nice and soft. This was a good cookie and just the right size for a dessert.

The Boston Creme Cake was up next. I did not eat these at the same time. I probably could have, but some days I am okay with portion control. The cake portion was light and moist. It had a nice, mild flavor. The filling had a nice flavor to it, and I would have enjoyed more of it. The chocolate frosting was a nice finishing touch. It had good flavor and consistency. When I ate everything at once, the portions of everything worked out really well. The filling, cake, and frosting all worked well collectively, and they were each good individually, so this was a definite plus for me.

It was fun for me to go a little bit more out of the way to try a new place, and I hope that I’ll get a chance to head back down there in the future. They had some nice looking cupcakes, some other cookies that looked good, and a lot of other treats that looked like they would be tasty. Eating well and staying positive!

Bartram House Bakery – Pittsburgh, PA

During my visit to Pittsburgh last week, my hotel was a about a three minute walk from Batram House Bakery. As a result, I ended up going there a few times throughout the week.

My first visit was on the night I arrived. I had a very big lunch/dinner at Hofbrauhaus, and waited a few hours before venturing out for dessert.

When I arrived, I started looking at the goodies. So many nice looking items to choose from, but I was leaning towards a cupcake. Then I saw a sign that indicated that the pastries were on sale (if you purchased two). So, I decided instead to go with the pastries.

I started with a chocolate croissant, which was my dessert for the night. This was a really good dessert. The bites that had the chocolate on the inside were truly delicious. The crust was nice and flaky. It was easy to bite into, and the soft bites of chocolate added a perfect amount of sweet. I was happy with this choice.

The other pastry I went with was the croissant. I saved this for the morning. Even though it sat overnight, it still had a really nice crunch to it. The inside was very flaky and had a really smooth flavor. This was a really good croissant and was a nice breakfast treat.

The next night, I went back to the bakery again for dessert. Fortunately, they still had the cupcakes, and I went with chocolate, although the vanilla was also looking quite good. The cake part had a nicely baked outside, and the inside part was very light and fluffy. The flavor was very good. The frosting was almost like a mousse and was also delicious. The bites with both the cake and the frosting were exactly what I would want from a cupcake. So I was a happy camper.

On my last night, I went back to Bartram House one last time. This time, I went with the S’Mores bar. It looked too good to turn down. There are three main components to a S’mores bar, and they did a great job on two of the three. The marshmallow topping was perfect. Nice and gooey, but not so much that was hard to bite through or would stick to part of your face. The chocolate layer was incredible. Probably the best chocolate layer I’ve had in any store bought S’mores bar. The graham cracker crust was the only part that missed the mark. Not on flavor. It had really good flavor. My only problem with it was that it broke apart too easily. There were some bites that the crust fell before I got it into my mouth, which was disappointing. It is a shame, because it had good flavor. And when all three were together in one bite, it was a great S’mores bar.

I would be happy to go back to Bartram House the next time I’m back in town. I would easily order any of these items again, or try something new. Knowing that there is a good place for some tasty sweet treats is an easy way for me to stay positive.

Dandelion Bakery – Sykesville, MD

When I first saw that Dandelion Bakery was going to be opening in Downtown Sykesville, I was pretty excited. When it was finally scheduled to open, I was getting ready to go on my Disney Cruise. So, I knew it would be awhile before I got to actually try it out.

I first made my way over there a few weeks ago. I got a chocolate chip cookie, but the other items they had looked really good.

I wanted to start with a chocolate chip cookie because I wanted to see if they were able to do it justice. This was a really good chocolate chip cookie. It tasted fresh, not generic at all. The nice crunch on the outside and the chewiness on the inside went well with the melty chocolate chips. Knowing that they could make a good chocolate chip cookie made me want to try more of their items.

They had some really good offerings, but it took me until this weekend to make my way back. I decided on two things: Flourless Torte slice and Oreo Mousse Cake.

I decided to start with the Oreo Mousse Cake. The mousse was nice and smooth, not grainy at all. There were plenty of Oreo pieces in there, and they had a soft consistency. The cookie crust also had a really good consistency. This was a delicious piece of cake. Sweet, but not too sweet. A nice balance of chocolate and the mousse. I was a fan of this one and will order it again.

The flourless torte was the next one I tried. This was all different types of chocolatey goodness. The torte was thick, and had very rich flavor. The icing on the top was a nice addition to these bites. The flavor of the cake was really good. This is an indulgent treat, but well worth it. The toughest thing for me was to decide which of these two treats were my favorite. To be honest, I don’t really know. They each had a lot of positives without any negatives. I’ll probably just have to buy them both again and try to make a choice again. 🙂

When you eat this well, you can’t help but stay positive!

Thursday Morning in Pikesville, MD

This morning, I wanted to go out and about for a short time to finally try Sion’s Bakery in Pikesville.

The sky was beautiful this morning – I headed out a little before 7AM. It’s tough to get good pictures when you’re driving, and the scenery that would be a perfect picture are usually where you can’t stop.

My first stop was at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, where I got a Cookie Butter Ice Blended. It wasn’t until after I ordered that I discovered they had just started their peppermint flavors, so I know what I’ll be getting the next time I’m there.

Sion’s Bakery is just a few blocks away from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, so it works out really well. They were still doing a lot of baking, so their inventory wasn’t as huge as it would be if I was there an hour or so later. They did have a nice array of cookies, cakes and sweets, though. I opted for a chocolate danish and a cinnamon danish, and then I drove myself back home.

I started with the Cinnamon Danish. Just to be clear, I only had half of each of these danishes, and saved the other half for tomorrow. The Cinnamon Danish had nice flavor to it. It was a mild cinnamon flavor, but it was spread throughout the pastry. This is definitely one that goes with milk, coffee, or something else.

I followed up with the Chocolate Danish. This one was really good, my favorite of the two. The chocolate icing on top was good, but having the layers of chocolate on the inside really helped keep this moist and provided good flavor.

This was my very first visit to Sion’s Bakery, but it will not be my last. I would like to try some of their cookies in the future and some cupcakes as well. If they happen to have chocolate rugelach available, I would try it. I also want to try their Chocolate Mandel bread. I’ve seen it in other bakeries before, but I’ve never tried it, so it would be fun to try. They have some sugar free treats, which is good for people who are on sugar free diets. They also have knishes, which I want to try in the future. They don’t look like the ones that I’m used to seeing in New York, but that’s not a bad thing. If they are made fresh and in the bakery, I would want to taste the difference.

It’s always a good thing to visit a place for the first time and have a positive experience. It makes it much easier to justify going back again. I have a feeling I’ve said this before, but it still holds true. Stay positive!

Spring Mill Bread Co – Gaithersburg, MD

Yesterday, while I was out and about, I made a stop by Spring Mill Bread Company in Gaithersburg, Maryland. I usually visit there 3-5 times a year, and always get the same thing, their Pesto Asiago Bread. I know I should branch out and try some of their other breads, and I will eventually do it, but their Pesto Asiago Bread is just really good.

When you walk into the store, it’s just a small area for the customers. I think this works really well, since the real star of this place is the food. There is another area with sweets, but I didn’t take a picture of it yesterday. One of the things I really enjoy about this place is that the oven is right there, so you can see what is being baked. I’ve come in and watched as they were rolling out the bread, watched as they were taking things out of the oven. This is baked fresh on-site, so these aren’t being shipped in from somewhere else and then re-baked to “freshness”. There’s nothing wrong with that, I just think the fresh bread experience is really neat.

While I was perusing through the different options, I noticed some samples. I asked for a sample of an Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookie. I’m not a fan of raisins, so this sounded good. It also tasted good. Definitely a cookie I would get again. I also noticed that they had a pumpkin log, so I purchased a slice of that. The flavor was on point. The pumpkin roll had the flavor of pumpkin and spices together. It had a firmness with the pumpkin roll that worked well with the spongy interior. The cream cheese frosting was a nice additional touch. It may seem like a lot, but when paired with the pumpkin roll, it worked perfectly. The outside was dusted with powdered sugar, which was a nice finishing touch.

Now, onto the Pesto Asiago Bread. This was good, as is always the case. The crust is firm, but not solid. The inside bread part has the perfect squish to it. The swirl of pesto and asiago cheese gives it a nice flavor without being overpowering. I tend to heat these up in my toaster oven and then add a little bit of butter, unless I’m having pasta, in which case I’m just going to dip it into the sauce or eat it with the pasta. One of the things I really enjoy about this bread is that no two loaves are exactly alike. I can appreciate the bread you get in the grocery stores, where there is uniformity. But when you have a bread like this, I think having some variance is what makes it better. Each bite will not taste the same. Some will have more pesto than others, some more asiago cheese, some more bread. I enjoy multiple bites of happiness every time.

I look forward to my next visit down to Gaithersburg. Maybe I’ll try a different bread. Maybe I’ll stick with just the Pesto Asiago Bread. No matter what, it will be a good and positive experience.