Posts Tagged ‘Praline Bakery


Pastries from Praline Bethesda, Part 2

This here is the raspberry-almond pastry and hazelnut-chocolate bear claw. The filling in the bear claw is Nutella but better, encased in a super crunchy pastry. Mr. x-sXe thought it was as good as the pistachio-chocolate pastry we tried earlier. (I beg to differ. Nothing can touch that.)

Meanwhile, the raspberry-almond left us high and dry–maybe because the filling/pastry balance was off, it was simply a bore. I’ve had Entenmann’s pastries that were more exciting.

So, in summary: go to Praline Bakery. Go early or risk disappointment. Get the bear claw, chocolate-pistachio, and pear-caramel pastries. Wash them down with a mug of bitter coffee or tea, and enjoy the sugar/butter/chocolate high. And marvel at the fact that some French people start every day like this.


Cookies galore, Praline Bakery Bethesda

We can’t hit the Sleepy Safeway on Sangamore Rd. without visiting Praline. Their lemon drop cookies are the best (at 9 0’clock in photo).

At 3 o’clock is a lemon-glazed gingerbread, which lacked a ginger bite. We were also slightly disappointed with the French macaroons this time. They tasted like they’d been sitting in their glass jars too long. The outer cookie was hard and crumbly, with a skimpy amount of filling. (We tried the cassis and the pistachio.)


Michel Patisserie macaroons, coconut cake from ACKC

Walking into ACKC, there’s temptation at every turn. I could have easily blown beaucoup bucks there, so I was lucky to leave with just these macaroons and cake.

Orange, passionfruit, chocolate & pistachio macaroons. The clear winner was passionfruit.

At $2/macaroon, expectations are high, especially for such a small cookie. While these were really good, with the perfect texture and density (crispy outer, chewy inner), the fillings were ho-hum–with the exception of the passionfruit one, the only one maybe worth paying $2 for.

If you’re crazy for macaroons, the ones from Praline in Bethesda are almost as good, larger, and cost just over $1. (I say just like that’s cheap or something.)

At $5/slice for the coconut cake, you’d do almost as well by getting a slice of birthday cake from Safeway and sprinkling some coconut on it. Coconut was more of an afterthought than the main act. If you want to try one of the cakes behind the counter at ACKC, I’d go for something else.


Best thing I ever ate, DC edition

Not like Food Network asked. But here it is anyway.

Cake: Caramelita at Les Halles DC (RIP). If anyone knows where the Les Halles pastry chef is now, I’d like to hunt her/him down just for this cake.

Runner-up: White chocolate mousse cake, Watergate Pastry, Foggy Bottom

Chocolate mousse: Patisserie Poupon, Georgetown. Comes in a crunchy chocolate shell.

Cookie: Lemon drop cookie, Praline Bakery, Bethesda, MD. Buttery cookie with tangy icing.

Cupcake:  Gianduja, Hello Cupcake, Dupont Circle. At room temperature, the ganache icing eats like a rich pudding. Refrigerated, like a chocolate truffle.

Croissant: Pain au chocolat, Patisserie Poupon, Georgetown. Authentic and baked fresh. No weird aftertaste from the butter/oil from the pastry, as with lesser versions.


Egg tart: Portuguese natas at Nando’s Chicken, Gallery Place/Dupont/etc. The bruleed egg custard is so good. 

Frozen yogurt: Green tea, Tangysweet, Dupont Circle/Gallery Place. Hints of honey and lemon set this flavor apart.

Ice cream: Coconut gelato, Boccato Gelato, Arlington, VA. With toasted coconut bits.

Macaroon: Praline Bakery, Bethesda, MD. Generously sized, great selection of flavors.

Mango sticky rice: Kanlaya, Gallery Place. Your fork cuts through the mango like buttah.

Milkshake: Toasted marshmallow, Good Stuff Eatery. The toasted marshmallow flavor permeates the whole shake. Order one more than you think you want. People will become reluctant to share.

Peach cobbler: Teaism (seasonal), Penn Quarter. A flaky, buttery shortbread sits on top of perfectly spiced peaches for just $3.

Pie: Key lime, Ray’s the Steaks, Arlington, VA. Best key lime pie I’ve come across so far.

Runner-up: Chocolate silk, Wildfire (seasonal), McLean, VA. A chocolatey filling in a chocolate cookie crust.


Why women are obsessed with macaroons

Macaroon selection from Praline Bakery, Bethesda.

Macaroon selection from Praline Bakery, Bethesda.

Not the coconut kind (though some of us are obsessed with those too), but the colorful French ones made of a ground almond/egg white cookie held together by a fruit or cream filling.

I consider these “most likeliest to succeed cupcakes” as far as female food obsessions. They’re cute, colorful and fun to eat. The cookie should eat like meringue: crispy on the outside, chewy inside. These macaroons from Praline bakery in Bethesda met my macaroon standards, but they were pricey (over $1 each).

For true devotees, there’s an entire bakery in Manhattan called Macaroon. That’s all they sell. Bet you didn’t know that that was a viable business model, but apparently it is.