I’ve got a sweet tooth, and fortunately so do some of my best girlfriends. A few weekends ago we spent a sunny Saturday morning crossing off one of my 101 things – a Boston Bakery Crawl!
We paired our sugar-craze with lots of walking and a bit of shopping, and it was such a fun way to spend the day! A few weeks ago I started hunting through online reviews of city bakery locations, and there were so many to chose from it was very hard to chose:
We started the day at Flour, one of the most talked about bakeries in Boston. Flour now has four locations, and we went to the new bustling Back Bay location. It was hoppin’ – to say the least. With our eyes bigger than our stomachs, we ordered iced coffees and their famous sticky bun, a twice baked brioche, the blackberry lime muffin, and the sugar brioche bun.
Everything was delicious, but a group favorite was the sticky bun. It was still steaming and the perfect goo-to-bread ratio. The blackberry lime muffin was something I wouldn’t have noticed in the gleaming array – but tangy and unexpected in a wonderful summery way.
Flour offers a wide array of food options, including some amazing looking sandwiches I intend to try next time, and everything we tried and tasted like perfection. It’s easy to see why this bakery has just opened a fourth location. It’s busy, you’ll have to scramble for a place to sit. If people-watching on a Saturday morning sounds fun to you, this is a great place to be.
It’s never too early for cupcakes, right? I’ve been to Sweet before and appreciate their knack for unconventional combinations – like Blueberry Pancake with Maple Syrup Frosting. The Chocolate Covered Pretzel cupcake was no different. It was very good, although I would have liked a bit more of the saltiness to cut through all the chocolate.
Sweet is small, quiet, and charming. There’s only a handful of small tables to sit at but people are usually in-and-out fairly quickly. Also, they sell “frosting shots” – how fun!
Located on the lower level of a beautiful brick building on Newbury Street, this French bakery offers everything from sweets to bread to olive oils. We tried the chocolate croissant, lavender blueberry macaron, and lemon gluten-free macaron. Macaroons were delicious, although not bursting with flavor.
There’s no seating here, so you’ll want to get your goodies to go. The restaurant next door allows you to sit in their cozy bistro chairs, but only before 10:00am. While the macarons weren’t the best I’ve had, they were the most inexpensive (at $1.75 each).
This hot spot originally wasn’t on the agenda (as it’s not local) but during a stop into bath and body shop, Lush, we ran into a salesman that was a former pastry chef. He wasn’t a fan of Sweet Bakery (he thinks the frosting tastes fake) and recommended Georgetown instead. (His all time favorite place for treats is the Mandarin Oriental hotel restaurant, which I’ll have to check out another day.) So off to Georgetown cupcakes we went!
The line was long, but moved quickly. As for the cupcake, our pastry-chef-friend was right. We tried the Peanut Butter Fudge Cupcake and it was divine. The frosting was definitely particularly good. There was only one small table at the front of the building, so don’t expect to get a seat. Take it a few blocks down the street and sit in the Boston Commons instead!
Also, if you follow Georgetown Cupcakes on Instagram, you’ll be notified daily of their secret cupcake of the day. If you ask for it, you’ll get it for free! Only for as long as supplies last though. We were there around 11:30am and they were already gone! It’s worth a shot though!
Next we headed out to Somerville to test “Boston’s Best Donut” (according to Boston Magazine) at Union Square Donuts. It was out of the way, and kind of randomly located, but definitely worth the visit. We ordered a Sea-Salted Bourbon Caramel donut and a Maple Bacon donut. Hands-down, we all agreed the Maple Bacon donut was one of our favorite things we tried that day. It was sweet, melted in your mouth, and the sprinkled bacon on top was a great flavor combination. (Perhaps you, like my parents when I told them my favorite, think this sounds very strange?) The Sea-Salted Bourbon Caramel donut was great too, but paled in comparison to the Maple Bacon.
The environment is lacking. It’s a dimly-lit, hole-in-the-wall with just a few folding tables. But, Union Square Donuts is certainly worth the trip out to Somerville. Union Square Donuts can also be found at a number of farmer’s markets around the city, listed on their website.
The last stop of the day was at Evelyn & Angel’s – the “Best Macaron in Boston”. The cafe rests in Cambridge, near Porter Square. Evelyn & Angel’s also specializes in fine candies, as noted by the colorful backdrop of candies behind the bar. Known particularly for their macarons, we decided to try the Chocolate Mint, Kalamansi (similar to Key Lime Pie), and Passion Fruit. They definitely had a more unique offering of flavors – with options like Blueberry and Dirty Chai.
These macarons were delicious and very flavorful (although not cheap at $3.25 per macaron). The Kalamansi is the most popular flavor, we managed to grab the last one, and it was delicious!
Evelyn and Angel’s also has a fantastic Brew Bar – where they tout their hand-crafted pour-over coffee. It was, indeed, a fantastic cup of coffee. The cafe environment is quiet, with classy chandeliers and small booths. It would be a wonderful place to spend a morning (or evening) chatting with a friend.
Boston Bakery Crawl Summary:
We had a great time testing out a handful of Boston’s best bakeries on a sunny Saturday morning! By splitting all of our choices we were able to try many different sweets and treats (and slow down the sugar intake).
The highlights for the group were the Sticky Buns at Flour and the Maple Bacon Donut at Union Square Donuts.
There were so many other places we wanted to visit as well, which I will list below. Maybe this will become an annual event!
Other Boston Bakery Crawl Places to Consider:
- Mike’s Pastry
- Modern Pastry
- Cafe Vanille
- Lulu’s Sweet Shop
- Sweet Bakery
- Hi-Rise Bread Company
- Yi Soon Bakery
- Verna’s Donut Shop
- Violette Gluten Free Bakery
Do you have any New England bakery recommendations? My unstoppable sweet-tooth would love to know!