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August 21, 2007

Top Ten Places for Dessert and Coffee

DonnasDessertLast week I suggested as a Top Ten Tuesday topic for Sugar Week either places to go for dessert and coffee or bakeries known for their great sweets. As Good Eater John so wisely pointed out, the two lists would probably intersect.

And so they did. I tried to give a range of experiences to try if you're in the dessert-and-coffee mode. Plenty of restaurants with wonderful desserts would probably be happy to serve you if you stopped in just for a sweet treat, but I tried to pick fairly casual places where you know you'll be welcome.

I didn't put this on my list, but I thought it was interesting. When I called the City Dock Cafe in Annapolis to see if they did the dessert thing, the woman I spoke to told me a lot of people she knows go to the Melting Pot for dessert (chocolate fondue with fruit and pound cake for dipping).

Here's my list: ...

(Jerry Jackson/Sun Photographer)

*Bonaparte in Fells Point (903 S. Ann St., Fells Point, 410-342-4000) doesn't have late hours, but the beautiful French pastries and fruit tarts with a cup of good coffee make an excellent afternoon "tea."

*Bonjour in Mount Washington (6070 Falls Road, 410-372-0238) is another fine French patisserie that has decadent desserts, a few tables and coffee -- but, alas, isn't open late enough to qualify as an after-dinner place.

*Cafe de Paris in Columbia offers two possibilities for dessert and coffee. You can stop in the main dining room for housemade desserts like creme brulee and profiteroles, or you can visit the relatively new crepe cafe.

*Cafe Hon in Hampden has homemade pies, homemade hot fudge sauce, homemade bread pudding -- all the comfort desserts you'd expect at this Hampden eatery. And as of right now, you can get eats in the Hon Bar until 1 a.m.

*City Cafe in Mount Vernon has a coffee bar as well as a dining room where they serve coffees from around the world and desserts like strawberry shortcake and cookies that are made in house. (Others are from good bakeries.) A useful post-theater or post-symphony place to know about.

*Desert Cafe in Mount Washington was, in a previous incarnation, called the Dessert Cafe. The name still fits. Sweets like berry tarts, baklava and cheesecake are homemade by the owner/chef, Blake Wollman; and specialty coffee drinks are available.

*Donna's, area locations, has the best of about three worlds: Its own baker for specialties like bread pudding, a large, warm brownie, and chocolate mousse cake; good coffee; and late hours at some locations on the weekends. (Hours vary, so check the Web site.)

*Stone Mill Bakery in Lutherville is busy and pricey, but it's worth it for desserts like Valrhona brownies, mini key lime pies, and almond linzer torte. If the weather is nice, make sure you get a seat on its charming patio.

*Vaccaro's has many locations, but I recommend the one in Little Italy for atmosphere. The Italian pastries -- cannoli, tiramisu and rum cake -- are so well known (and served at so many local restaurants) I don't have to tell you about them.

*XS in Mount Vernon has everything for dessert from warm pecan pie to banana tempura. The edgy breakfast-sushi-dessert restaurant is good to know about after a Meyerhoff or Lyric event. It's open later than most places. (Hours vary.)


Posted by Elizabeth Large at 5:58 AM | | Comments (13)
Categories: Top Ten Tuesdays


I have to second Bonjour. It is just a block south of my office - fortunately or unfortunately - and I try to limit myself to one visit a month.
Mind you, I don't always succeed.

How about Kiss Cafe on Boston Street? They are open late and they have great specialty martinis.

Anyone who hasn't tried Dangerously Delicions pies in Federal Hill is missing out. They also have savory pies and quiches (in case you'd like some pie before your pie) and great coffee.

Also, I hear DC's Cake Love is coming to Canton.

Yes, they promised to call me when they nail down their site, but I'll probably have to keep after them. Elizabeth

I have been to the Desert Cafe many times for their wonderful dinner and lunch menu also. That place is cozy and friendly as anywhere. Im glad they got some recognition. P.S. as long as its Desserts we are talking about. Their assorted cheesecakes are the best i have ever had.

In honor of doughnut Wednesday:
This is a lament rather than a recommendation.
Cosmic Coffee, late of 1912 Liberty Road in Eldersburg, is no longer open. That's sad because they served fresh, fried-on-the-premises doughnuts.
As overkill, they offered a variety of syrup toppings that to my taste rendered a great treat unnecessarily treacly. Made my fingers stick together, too.
But the doughnuts -- beyond cosmic. The same great confection I remember from state fairs of old -- without the flies.
Please let me know where I can find fried doughnuts. Please.


Have you tried Fractured Prune. They have exactly what you describe, fried on premise doughnuts, with a variety of toppings.

Kelly, if this pans out (and you're not some doughnut-tease scoundrel), the first dozen are on me. Make that a baker's dozen.

Thanks for the great Top Ten list! Some new places for me to check out.

I would offer one suggestion, Slyvan Beach's B'More Ice Cream store in Mt. Washington. I believe they have coffee, but my suggestion is based on the fact that I am addicted to their Key Lime and Gram Cracker ice cream. They have a lot of other flavors, but these aforementioned are the best I have ever had. And that is saying something by someone who is a Ben and Jerry addict.

Good Ice Cream Eating!


Kelly -
I've never heard of the Fractured Prune. Where is it located?

You are missing an amazing place in Annapolis called 49 West(aptly named since that is its address on West St.). It is an adorable little cafe, open late, with a whole display of decadent desserts. I would recommened the Carrot Cake and Tiramisu, but you really can't go wrong. There is also at times live music and a small library for pleasure reading during your visit. I love it!

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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