Sweetbites Cafe and Bakery, McLean

(See the Jun 4, 2015 Review here.)

On my way out of town to drop Matt off at college, I needed to stop and run a quick errand at 9AM Monday morning, Aug 17. Afterwards, I stopped in for an on-the-road breakfast at Sweetbites Cafe and Bakery (recall that I had my lunch all taken care of). I’d already had a hot cup of coffee, and was more in the mood for a cold one – but the iced coffee hadn’t been made yet, so I opted instead for a large glass of Iced Tea (I don’t remember the price, but it was normal), and I nursed this, savoring each sip, most of the way to the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

The same gentle care can’t be said about my breakfast sandwich, which I was most interested in trying for the actual biscuit. A Ham, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit (again, I don’t remember the price, but my total bill, including tax and tip, was $8.16). The biscuit itself is outstanding – big, and fluffy, and just the way you want it. The ham is okay, the cheese is cheddar, and the egg more on the unfortunate side – a square-shaped omelet, folded in half, most likely baked in a sheet earlier.This is all heated in a convection oven using circulation as its quick-heat feature, but my sandwich arrived largely cold, dry, and noteworthy for the (excellent) biscuit alone. It was enjoyable, but it also needs work, and if Sandra Panetta is reading this, please count me as both a fan and a friend when you read these words. I’ve been there several times before, and will continue coming in the future.

Combined with an occasional sip of tea, the biscuit didn’t last to Frederick. I remember thinking to myself how I was going to rave about how you couldn’t get a better breakfast biscuit in the area (and maybe you can’t), but the strengths here are not in the breakfast sandwiches, and I cannot justifiably rave about mine. It was okay; it wasn’t great. I’ll take a runny egg done on the flat-top over this anytime, even though it’s messier. Again, the biscuit itself was hors classe – Sandra is a baker, not a chef, and she has so many wonderful baked items (paradoxically including her quiche, by the way) that there are other things more-worth trying – the scones, for example. And her coffee is just fine; I just wanted iced tea on this particular occasion, given that they didn’t have iced coffee – it was going to be a hot day on the road.

Sweetbites is maintained in Italic in the Dining Guide, and remains one of the best bakeries in the area, warts and all.

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