Today, I had a long-awaited lunch date with my beautiful and fabulous friend, Caitlin. It has been way too long since we got together, so naturally I was incredibly excited to catch up. What else was I excited about? I was excited about our lunch locale. Caitlin and I were both itching to go to Bakeshop, one of Atlanta’s newest lunch spots, and good grief I am glad we got that itch.
Jonathan St. Hilaire, boulanger extraordinaire, heads up Bakeshop. His passion is bread, and that is immediately clear when you walk in the door of this beautiful establishment. The smell of fresh baked bread greets you at the entrance and entrances you into a blackout state that results in the purchase of three desserts and a loaf of fresh baked bread. Or, um, that is what happened for me.
But wait! I skipped the part about how Caitlin and I actually ate lunch! We each got the soup/sandwich & salad combo (a $7.00 steal), and the food was great. My tomato bisque was incredibly flavorful, but the stars of the soup show were the fresh baked croutons (surprise, surprise), which became delightfully mushy in about five minutes. Caitlin and I agreed that the lunch combo was a perfect portion, but it might be insufficient if you usually eat a hardy lunch.
Okay, okay, let’s get on with the sweets.
The sweet selection at Bakeshop is fantastic. They have cupcakes (!), creme brulee (pistachio, wow), tarts (citrus, chocolate, you name it), puddings, and the selection goes on. And that’s not all — many of the breads pass as sweets as well. Caitlin and I even saw a chocolate cheesecake muffin. Oh. my. I will be back for that little darling.
It would take a long time to sample all the sweets at Bakeshop, but I sure would love to try.
Bakeshop has a wonderful split personality. On the inside, it is a bustling bakery with large butcher block tables, an intoxicating aroma, and free wifi to boot. On the outside, it is a relaxed patio with a distinctly urban vibe (it is, after all, smack dab in the middle of it all in Midtown). So if the weather is nice, you can choose your experience. What could be better?
Service at Bakeshop is friendly, but don’t expect anyone to go out of their way for you (which, I think, is typical for an “order at the counter” restaurant). The baristas handled the lunchtime rush well, going down the line to take orders in succession. As I always do, I asked the barista which sweets were the very best, and she definitely made good recommendations.
My only issue with the service — and let this be a lesson to you — was that Caitlin and I lost our table outside when we went back to the counter for dessert. Not sure how the employees could fix this, but I would definitely advise that you get everything up front if you consider your table precious real estate.
Caitlin and I had a lot of tasting to do. After all, we got three desserts! We also got two to-go boxes, thinking that we would have copious leftovers to take to our significant others. Ha. Wrong. We devoured all three.
My favorite was the pear tart. The pastry was, in Caitlin’s words, almost shortbread-like, and the pear was fresh and sweet. The tart was impeccably spiced…I think I tasted a hint of sage…whatever it was, it was great.
Caitlin’s favorite was the peanut butter chocolate bar. Well, perhaps I should say Caitlin’s favorite became the peanut butter chocolate bar. When we first tasted it, we agreed that it was missing…something. A crunch, maybe? But it grew on us. Fast. Faster than it melted in the midday heat, fortunately. The peanut butter was delicious…it tasted homemade, as I suspect it was. The dark chocolate was decadent. The 80 degree temperature was probably the only thing that kept this one from being my favorite. Make it a snowy day, put a blazing hot latte in my hand, and call the peanut butter chocolate bar my favorite.
We also tried this adorable chocolate pudding goodness, irresistibly packaged in a tiny mason jar. I feel terrible mentioning this one last, because we loved it too. It was a little oily on top when we opened it, but we just mixed that oil right in and – voila! Perfection. The pudding jar had a yummy graham cracker-ish crust at the bottom. It was like a chocolate silk pie in a teensie weensie jar. Love it.
Oh, and to top it all off, the desserts were super affordable. I spent less than $11 on three sweets. I call that unbeatable quality for the price.
I give Bakeshop an A+ overall…with dreamy desserts like this (not to mention incredible bread), who needs lunch?*
*Seriously, though, if you do need lunch, Bakeshop is great for that too. Or you could just skip it. And have a cupcake.