Buzz Bakery, Alexandria

I set up my workstation at Buzz Bakery, armed with a Large Americano ($3.30), fortified by a somewhat expensive Extra Shot ($1.00). Buzz uses Ceremony Coffee Roasters, based in Annapolis. Note that Ceremony, in addition to having their roastery in Annapolis, is opening up a coffee house in Mount Vernon in Baltimore (up by our nation’s first Washington Monument, started in 1815 and finished in 1829, designed by famed architect Robert Mills (who also originally designed the more famous Washington Monument in Washington, DC). Mills also designed substantial parts of the Department of the Treasury building between 1839 and 1842, as well as many other notable Federal projects, ensuring his place among the pantheon (ironically) of legendary architects of Washington, DC and the the United States of America in general).

I also had a Gala Apple Fritter with Spiced Glaze ($2.50).

Despite all the rich history and “Buzz” surrounding Ceremony, my Americano was unacceptably bitter – every bit as bitter as a Starbucks roast, and needing every granule of turbinado sugar poured into it (I love raw sugar in my Americanos – it adds not only sweetness, but texture, as I don’t even bother stirring the drink. When faced with the choice of turbinado sugar or simple syrup, I’ll generally opt for turbinado sugar with iced Americanos. I let it sink to the bottom, then mash my straw all the way down there, making sure to get at least one crystal with each delightful sip).

The atmosphere of the original Buzz Bakery remains comfortable, although it’s getting a touch worn, adding to its charm. It’s really a nice place to set up a workstation and enjoy some coffee and a sweet, giving the customer a choice of indie rock inside, or a small, charming patio outside, mere steps away from a Capital Bikeshares rack. Have you joined Capital Bikeshares yet? You should, if for no other reason than that it allows you to park where there are actual parking spaces, pick up a bike, and ride it to your destination restaurant. I haven’t actually done this yet, but it’s in the master plan, and yes, I absolutely got the $75 annual membership (it’s now $85). I first saw a setup like this in Copenhagen in 2000, and it seemed so unbelievably progressive and *cool* at the time; I cannot believe it’s here in DC just fifteen short years later – my, how things have changed.

My apple fritter was positively laced with a caramel coating, and I’d be lying if I said the glaze didn’t hit all the right notes. I hate that sweets go so well with coffee, but they do, and so my dessert time is often reserved for the morning, doing a large disservice to our city’s outstanding pastry chefs. Note to all pastry chefs I talked with about a year ago: I apologize for not following through with my piece, but I got legitimately sidetracked in a big, unavoidable way – contact me, and you’ll understand when I explain things to you; otherwise, I’ll be getting back in touch, wanting to continue working on the story, hopefully sometime this year.

Since the extremely talented Tiffany MacIssac left Neighborhood Restaurant Group in May of 2014, and actually even before she left, when she officially moved from Birch and Barley to Buzz Bakery, and perhaps even before that, Buzz had gone downhill from when it first opened. I thought sure I had written Tiffany and said as much, but I don’t see anything in my outbox, so maybe it’s just something I had thought to do – she was destined for bigger and better things from the get-go, and I have no doubt that her already-successful career will continue to vault upward in future years.

I was in the mood for sugar this morning, and the fritter was just what I wanted (the other doughnut on offer was a maple-glazed yeast doughnut with bacon on top – please, God, hammer it into restaurateurs’ heads that the tragic bacon-in-dessert failure-fad is mercifully coming to an end, and please inspire important restaurant groups such as NRG to take the lead in terminating this awful, disgusting use of two otherwise fine items). Anyway, I hadn’t had much sugar in quite awhile now, and this blast of glazed joy was exactly what I wanted this morning; this fritter may be too sweet for some people, but it wasn’t for me, at least not this morning – I had to pace myself not to finish it before finishing my coffee). It was a delicious fritter!

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