Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe, Arlington, VA

A good twenty years ago (back when they were still in their old digs), I used to go to Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe all the time for donuts. In the past few years, I’ve been for lunch a couple of times and wasn’t all that impressed, but yesterday morning I went at 7:30 AM, and now I’m impressed again.

Heidelberg is huge, and just about everything (or maybe everything) grain-based is baked in-house. The bakery was just packed with goodies yesterday morning, and I mean I can’t think of a single bakery in the entire DC area (offhand) that has a bigger selection than what I saw.

Bagels are made in-house too, and a Breakfast Sandwich ($3.50) with ham, egg, and cheese on a poppy-seed bagel is something you should know about.

Less satisfying, but better, was the Laugen Brotchen ($1.55), pretzel bread which they split for me, smeared with butter, and – like the bagel – zapped in the microwave. Yes, I know, but they both survived the ordeal quite nicely.

Donuts! Chocolate-iced on chocolate-cake, and Maple-iced on regular-yeast (95 cents each) were divine and also worth knowing about.

For Valentine’s Day (or possibly year-round), they’re selling really cute, highly decorative cookies that are about the size of your hand, wrapped in plastic, and finished (on top of the plastic) with little rubberized signs that say “Love You” etc. At $5.25, they aren’t cheap, but I have to think it would go over better than a Whitman’s Sampler.

Heidelberg opens at 6:30 AM M-F, and 8 AM on weekends. Just to see what was left, I also stopped back in yesterday afternoon, and it was entirely different – the pastries were just about all gone, and they were set up for lunch service with Boar’s Head meats and cheese on display – some residual donuts et al were marked down 50%.

Breakfast. That’s your buzzword here.

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