Washington Post’s Guide on Where to pick up Thanksgiving dessert

Hosting for Thanksgiving is a balancing act. You have to get the house in order, make sure that everyone’s special diet is accommodated, remain gracious and pull off a picture-perfect feast. Spare yourself the extra anxiety by picking up dessert from one of these Washington-area bakeries or restaurants, listed in alphabetical order. Consider them your sweet reward.

A Better Choice Bakery

This gluten-free vendor offers several nine-inch pies, including pecan ($17), brownie-bottom pecan ($19), pumpkin ($15) and vegan pumpkin ($22). Place orders by phone, at the bakery or online. Pick up at the bakery, the Pike Central Farm Market (Saturday, 9 a.m.–2 p.m., 11806 Rockville Pike, Rockville) or the Bethesda Central Farm Market (Sunday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., 7600 Arlington Blvd., Bethesda). Order by Nov. 14 for delivery at a weekend market.

27 W. Potomac St., Brunswick. 301-969-0341.

Buzz Bakery

Pastry chef Tiffany MacIsaac and her team are baking double-crust apple pie ($32), pumpkin pie with cinnamon whipped cream ($28), sweet potato pie topped with cranberry jam and ginger whipped cream ($28) and chocolate-bourbon pecan pie with chocolate whipped cream ($30). Pints of house-made ice cream, including cinnamon, pumpkin pie and ginger ($6.50 each), are available. Place orders by phone with three days’ notice, then pick up at a scheduled time at either bakery Nov. 19-21.

901 Slaters Lane, Alexandria. 703-600-2899; 818 N. Quincy St., Arlington. 703-650-9676.

Community Canteen

Classics such as pecan pie, pumpkin pie and apple pie are available at this Reston favorite, as well an indulgent bourbon pumpkin cheesecake with a graham cracker crust (all $24.95). Place phone orders by Nov. 19 at 9 p.m., and pick up next door atMon Ami Gabi no later than 10 p.m. on Nov. 21.

11950 Democracy Dr., Reston. 703-707-9442.

www.community canteen.com

Get the rest of the guide by clicking over the the Washington Post website now.

Photo courtesy of Ridgewells.


Protein Bar Challenge: When Losing is Winning (Or How I Dropped 12 Pounds in a Month)

Right now I’m sitting in Alexandria’s Buzz Bakery, sipping on a cup of coffee and nibbling on a most wonderful gingersnap cookie – sugar speckled and soft with a slow-burning spiciness that lingers.

Yes, the Protein Bar Challenge is over.

This is my way of rewarding myself for my month-long dietary regimen. Looking down at the scale this morning, I found that I was down to 207 pounds. For the past week, I’ve been fluctuating between 206-208, so it looks like I’ve reached a plateau. That doesn’t matter. Taking 12 pounds off totally outstrips my expectations, which were optimistically aimed at a six to 10 pound loss. I haven’t weighed 207 pounds in…well…forever.

When I pitched this idea and subsequently began eating at Protein Bar six days a week, I had no idea how it would turn out. Maybe a high protein diet wouldn’t work for my metabolism and I wouldn’t lose weight? Maybe I would grow so bored of the food that I would cheat on the diet? Maybe I would develop an allergy to quinoa? Maybe all the research on the health benefits of the foods I would be eating would turn out to be hyperbolic BS?

Luckily, none of those worst case scenarios happened.

Finish reading this story on the CityEats Plate blog now.


Wi-Fried – When coffee shops turn off the Web

On a recent Wednesday afternoon, a stream of customers flows into Peregrine Espresso on 14th Street NW. Almost no one stays very long, since nearly all of the dozen seats are filled.

Two twentysomething guys in faded T-shirts and jeans casually chat at one of the tables, while a woman with frizzy gray hair intently edits a sheaf of papers nearby. The few laptops open are running Microsoft Word, not Facebook.

What kind of bullshit is this?

As a freelance journalist who has made a career out of frequenting java joints of every size, this doesn’t seem right. Places like this are supposed to be a haven for people like me who want to get out of the house just so that we feel like we’ve accomplished something.

It’s like there’s something missing here.

Oh, yeah, free Wi-Fi. What was once an integral coffeehouse element is now no longer guaranteed.

“When we signed the lease, it immediately occurred to me that we did not have the space to encourage people to hang out for long periods of time,” says Peregrine owner Ryan Jensen. “It wasn’t appropriate to offer Wi-Fi and end up with a situation where people could never expect to find a seat. It’s hard enough as it is.”

Jensen knows what it’s like to foster that type of environment, since Peregrine’s original Capitol Hill location offers free Wi-Fi, as did its predecessor, Murky Coffee. “There were some things that we didn’t really feel like we wanted to mess with,” he says. “One of those things was offering Wi-Fi.”

After over a decade in the business, Jensen has seen a shift: Coffee shops “went from being more communal places to being second offices for a lot of people,” he says. The squatters linger for long periods, take advantage of power outlets, and sometimes hog tables intended for multiple customers.

Finish reading this story on the Washington City Paper website now.

Illustration by Jandos Rothstein; photo by Darrow Montgomery


‘Tis the Season to be Crafty

Martha Stewart makes picture perfect holidays look easy, but building gingerbread houses and decorating cookies can be the toughest tasks of the Yuletide season. To aid aspiring Marthas, a number of area restaurants are offering Christmas-y culinary classes. These are our top picks for learning how to make the season’s best bites look fabulous and taste divine.

The Fairmont Washington, D.C.

Saturday, December 10 at 10:30 a.m.

$60 per child

This class is the perfect solution if you want to build a gingerbread house with your kids, but don’t want your kitchen to look like a flour and sugar bomb went off. You and the little ones can sip on some holiday refreshments, while getting your hands dirty affixing gumdrops to the roof and Skittles to the walls. You’ll leave with a personalized gingerbread house and no mess to clean up. A truly sweet deal. Make a reservation by calling 202-457-5019 or by emailing diana.bulger@fairmont.com.

Find out the four other Christmas-y classes you can take by clicking over to CityEats’ The Plate blog now.

Photo courtesy of The Fairmont Washington, D.C.



Yuletide Froth for All: Eggnog Without the Carton

20101216-eggnog-250This holiday season, eggnog is getting trendy and tasty updates from mixologists all over the city.

At the newly merged Ardeo+Bardeo, sommelier and manager Tim Galvin is shaking together Stoli Vanilla, eggnog and pumpkin puree to create Pumpkin Eggnog. Served on the rocks with cinnamon sprinkled on top, “it has those warm autumn colors and flavors,” Galvin explains. “Those always heat people up when it’s cold outside.”

Eggnog’s European roots don’t mean bartenders from elsewhere around the globe can’t put their own stamps on it. Jason Storch at Indian restaurant Rasika has injected his version with the style of the subcontinent by using a date-infused cognac and date puree. Served in a snifter, the nog is finished off with just a smidge of black sea salt speckling the top. Read on over at the Express website.