Do you want bread? Cupcakes? A cozy place for coffee and a scone? A high-volume shop to pick up your red bean sweets? You may need to drive from Columbia or Ellicott City, but you can enjoy all those things.
- For great bread in Howard County, start at Bonaparte Bread. Bonaparte sells a variety of loaves, although I love the baguettes for sandwiches and French toast. They have a store (and now a cafe) at the Savage Mill in Savage, and they also sell at the seasonal Sunday Farmer's Market in Columbia and the My Organic Market in Jessup. (I discovered this during the first attempt at a HowChow taste test, which was supposed to compare the Bonaparte baguette to the one sold at the farmers market. Whoops.) You should also check out The Breadery in Ellicott City for muffins, rolls and whole grain breads, and there is a comment below extolling some sweet-sounding breads at Great Harvest Bread Company in Columbia.
- When you say "cozy" in HoCo, you mean downtown Ellicott City, and you can find several nice cozy spots at Old Mill Bakery Cafe and Sarah and Desmond's Gourmet Bakery & Cafe. The Old Mill has some nice breads, and it sells a variety of teas, sweets and other items. Sarah and Desmond's is the coffee shop that I wish were in my neighborhood. Great muffins and cupcakes. Sandwiches, soups and other savory fare. Plus, there are vegan baked goods if you're into that kind of thing.
- I'd rather buy one great dessert than two average ones. My two local spots are Touche Touchet in Columbia and Bonaparte in Savage. Touche Touchet serves wonderful cupcakes, coffee cake, brownies and other sweets that look simple, but take talent. I actually learned about it from Deblynne who commented below on an earlier version of this post. The cupcakes alone are worth a visit -- flavorful, moist and not the sugary, cloying monsters that popped out elsewhere. Bonaparte seems to go slightly more complex. They bring chocolate croissants to the Farmer's Market, and they have rotating cases of tartes, opera cakes, and other pastries at the Savage shop. I also plan on checking out Sugerbakers in Catonsville, which the B More Sweet blog loved in June 2008, and The French Connection in Sandy Spring on Rte 108, which several folks have complimented in the comments.
- For Korean sweets, you can try La Boulangarie in Ellicott City or the Momo Bakery inside the Super H in Catonsville. Both serve formal-looking cakes that would look right on a shelf at any French bakery. But they go beyond to sell Asian items like the packages of Korean sweets that I love, red bean donuts (Momo) and single-serving cakes and steamed buns (La Boulangarie).
On top of these, I recommend the bagels (and the challah) at the three Bagel Bins, and I have also had the cookies at the Nora Cafe & Bakery on Rte 40, and I trundle out into the cold to pick up bagels at the Bagel Bin. There was also a comment extolling Cakes Plus off Rte 198 in Laurel. Not Howard County, but not far either for an excellent cake!
(Thanks again to Deblynne who told me about Touche Touchet.)
This is part of the "What I Learned" series of posts. They're organized in rings. See below to continue on the ring about shopping in Howard County. Or click to switch to the posts about different cuisines or posts about areas and ideas.
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