You're brown-bagging it for lunch because you know it's a cheaper, not to mention healthier, option than running down to the corner store for chips and a Coke or inhaling two all-beef patties from McDonald's during a 30-minute lunch "hour." You've packed a tuna-salad sandwich on whole wheat and enough crudités to make a rabbit weep every day this week, but it's Friday and you feel it's time to indulge in a little something for your exemplary will power and perseverance. You deserve a little something sweet...
On the corner of Magazine and Arabella, right across from Whole Foods Market, there is an itty-bitty coffee shop called Velvet Espresso Bar. The tiny bar brews some of the most delicious coffee in town sourced from roasters like Intelligentsia, Stumptown and George Howell. Not only do they make rich espressos, but you can also try a cup of syphon-brewed Joe made in a Japanese coffee pot resembling a chemistry set. Velvet also offers wonderful baked goods like scones, tea cakes, pies and their ever-popular "Pop Tarts."
Unlike the store-bought kind, these incredible tarts never need to see the inside of your toaster. Flaky, buttery crust envelops an array of different flavors, seemingly dependent upon the baker's whim, like chocolate, cinnamon, blood orange, apple, blackberry and Satsuma marmalade. Plus, these beauties are topped with a sweet icing that either complement or reflect their delectable interiors. You probably won't believe it after you take a big, tasty bite, but a lot of them are vegan! Also, their hand-made "Pop Tarts" are quite large, so if you were feeling generous, you could share with a friend the next cubicle over. But you certainly don't have to, sometimes it's okay to be greedy!
Another spot to find treats that will fit in your lunch bag is over on the ever-booming, always-bustling Freret Street.
Right across the street from Dat Dog lies a brand new bakery called Pure Cake. Owners Monique Landaiche and Danielle Ross both enjoyed baking at home so much that they decided to join forces and open their own shop. The clean, white interior of the bakery with accents in black and lavender serves as a sweet backdrop for their decadent desserts.
Making everything from scratch, you can request custom cakes in an array of flavors, everything from a Mocha Cream Doberge to Berry Cream, or you can stop in and pick up pre-made minicakes, cookies and their pièce de résistance, cake pops. Try a filled cake pop like red velvet with cream cheese frosting, a classic cake pop like praline or bananas foster, or pick up a dozen mini-pops, which are half the size of the classic in flavors like wedding cake or German chocolate.
Velvet Espresso Bar 5637 Magazine St.
Pure Cake 5035 Freret St.
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