Richmond, Virginia is a fantastic place to get fat. And be very happy doing so. From barbecue to stick-to-your-ribs southern fare, they've got savory down--but they seal the deal with plenty of delicious desserts, too.
I recently spent a day (yes, just one) in Richmond, and if I do say so myself, I made quite a bakery dent in the bakery scene, especially in the pedestrian-friendly Carytown neighborhood. Care to read about where I went and what I ate? Yeah, knew it.
First up, in the morning, was TaZa for some coffee. But lo and behold, they had a bakery case and chocolates too! We picked up a couple of donuts made by Dixie Donuts (a glazed old fashioned and "French Toast", pictured top), as well as a few walnut creams from Chocolates by Kelly. The donuts were small, but extremely good quality; they had that wonderful "airy yet decadent" taste, like fancied-up Krispy Kreme donuts.
Next up was breakfast at The Village, where they have a nice dessert menu, but since it was breakfast, I played it safe and just sampled a shake. Chocolate-almond with chocolate ice cream, thank you very much! It was a very good shake. Also of note: if you get an egg dish, one of the optional sides (instead of hash browns) is fried apples. They're like eating the innards of an apple pie on the side of your plate. What a beautiful thing.
Asking for directions next door at Ipanema Cafe, I noticed that they had vegan blondies. I didn't get one, but I thought I should mention it to the vegans, because these looked pretty good up close.
It was time to hit Carytown. Carytown is clearly the "arty" section of town. You can tell by artful touches such as this rainbow-colored brick.
I like me a good rainbow-colored brick, but I like it even better with a unicorn, don't you?
And they have a ton of bakeries there. Dixie Donuts, it turns out, has a retail outlet! But I'd already tried their donuts so I just peeked inside. It's very cute. Go there.
Next up: Bev's Ice Cream. Bev's is a nice place to get some ice cream - so I hear. But because I was on the move, I got some fudge to go. Nice and smooth, no "chocolate sand" here. I enjoyed it, and wish I had had a bigger appetite at the time so I could have gotten some ice cream too.
Just up the street was Carytown Cupcakes.
After reading about them on Cupcakes Take the Cake, I knew this was a destination. Things that made me happy at Carytown Cupcakes? Let's see. For one, they had hummingbird cake on the "classic" (readily available) menu, and theirs was a particularly toothsome variety. Also pretty awesome: they have monthly rotating specials -- for instance, during my time there, they had "pie-inspired" flavors, such as "Strawberry Pie"--a vanilla cupcake with a Graham cracker crust, filled with cream cheese icing and topped with glazed strawberries.
Near Carytown Cupcakes is a cute little gift store called World of Mirth, where they sell my book. They're out of stock at the moment though. Reminder: buy my book, CakeSpy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life.
Luckily, I wasn't tired of cupcakes, cos just up the block is Baby Cakes. Banana cake with cream cheese frosting. Caramel apple spice. Dark chocolate cake with pecan cream cheese frosting. Blueberry cake with blueberry buttercream. Chocolate toffee crunch. These are just a few of the reasons I was enticed to visit this little cupcake shop. Online, I read some mixed reviews about this place, but I found the cupcakes pleasant, if not life-changing.
I walked by a coffee shop that had watermelon-shaped cookies in celebration of the upcoming Watermelon Festival.
Next up was Jean Jacques Bakery, a sort of Frenchie spot. I felt enticed from the very moment I saw this on the outside window:
A nice lunch-and-morning pastry type of place, with French leanings (but American standards on offer, too). I got a croissant, figuring it was a good litmus test of a bakery: it was flaky and buttery and good. Interestingly, though, I learned in retrospect that they are known for their cinnamon rolls: per their website, "People who never liked danish love this danish! The cheese danish filing is made with cream cheese, eggs and sugar - just like the best cheesecakes. And our cinnamon buns are a huge craze in Carytown. Freshly baked and warm smelling everyday." Dommage! Next time I shall try you, Cinnamon Roll!
Well. It started raining, and I took shelter under a supermarket awning, and then lo and behold, there was another bakery! Since I hadn't gone in the chocolate place, I went in here. It was called Williams Bakery. It was cute, and felt like it had been there for a while. Turns out it's one of a few locations they have in the Richmond area.
I got a doughnut. It was less than a dollar, it was old-fashioned, delightfully but overly oily, and pretty perfect.
On the way out of town, we hit Lucille's Bakery, not quite in Carytown, but close. You can read more about that bakery visit here.
Across from Lucille's, you'll see this place--for if you've ever wondered where extracts are made!
Driving away toward the highway, you'll see this as you exit town: a fantastic parting view! A commercial bakery which once made Girl Scout Cookies!
Babycakes, 3324 W Cary Street, Richmond
Bev's Homemade Ice Cream, 2911 W Cary St Richmond, VA 23221.
Carytown Cupcakes, 3111 W Cary Street, Richmond
CF Sauer Extracts, online here
Chocolates by Kelly, find retail locations on the site.
Dixie Donuts, 2901 W Cary Street, Richmond
Ipanema Vegetarian Cafe, 917 Grace Street, Richmond
Jean Jacques Bakery, 3138 W Cary Street, Richmond
Lucille's Bakery, 719 N Meadow Street, Richmond
The Village, 1001 Grace Street, Richmond
Williams Bakery, 3544 W Cary Street, Richmond