When I moved into the area the first thing I did was scope out for a new favorite café. What I found wasn’t a café exactly (it lacks our favorite aspect: the bakery), but makes up for it with a coffee situation many only dream of.
Regalia Roasting Collective is a space where local coffee shops across Queens and Brooklyn can roast their beans with top-tier technology, but without taking on the overhead that typically accompanies the ability to have a unique flavor in your shop. The front of the shop has a small bar where coffee is brewed, cup by cup. They have over 15 blends and roasts and the ability to brew them in four different systems. Overwhelmed yet? I was. But the RRC team is incredibly knowledgable and after a few questions about my taste preferences I had my perfect cup brewing away.
Needless to say over the past several weeks they have become a weekend staple.
Few things will get me out of bed faster on a lazy Saturday morning than the prospects of a trek to Bread Furst. The bakery is a staple of not just our neighborhood, but of DC as a whole and the larger bakery community. It’s a place that transports you from the moment you enter. With rows and rows of cakes, pastry, croissants. But before you can see those, you’ll pass by the open bakery, where loaves of rye and sourdough are being loaded into a massive oven or cooled on wire racks.
Bread Furst opened in the same month that I moved to DC, so in many ways, we grew up together. I learned how to be independent while this fledgling bakery took off. In 2017, they won the James Beard award and every patron had the same thought: “this is so overdue”. Their breads are spectacular and one of my greatest regrets continues to be that I didn’t accept a bakery apprenticeship when it was offered to me last year.
I find myself coming to Bread Furst several times a week, either for coffee before the long drive out to my 9-to-5 in Virginia, Sunday afternoons for a salmon cake with dill sauce, or mid-week for a baguette to accompany dinner. If there’s a reason to go elsewhere, I haven’t found it yet.
There’s seemingly always a reason to stop in, even if it just to say “hello”, and to me, that’s the beauty of having a bakery on your corner.
I don’t remember the first time I went to Little Red Fox, but it feels like I’ve been going there forever. While we adore Bread Furst for a weekend walk & brunch destination there’s something about the breakfast that makes it special. Maybe it’s their house hot sauce or their lox sandwiches. Maybe it’s their crackly-crusted loaves of bread. Maybe it’s their breakfast burrito that seems so simple, yet I have been unable to replicate to perfection. Regardless, they hold a special place in our weekends and in our hearts.
A favorite aspect of LRF is that they stock local wear and products. Think: honey from our neighbor’s backyard beehive and treats from a local chocolatier. As you wait in line your eyes start to swim with all options they so thoughtfully have included in their storefront. After ordering you can choose to sit inside, observing the bustling nature of their barista bar, or outside and soak in the rhythm of Connecticut Ave.
The capstone to a weekend morning spent at LRF is that it so beautifully blends into an afternoon at Politics and Prose, the aptly-named bookstore next door.
The café aptly named The Den, located in the basement of a locally owned bookstore is my refuge. My other favorite bakery has a no-wifi and, subsequently, a no-laptops policy. Rather than having people stare at screens they wanted people staring at each other. A perfect atmosphere for a Sunday morning latté it lacked the digital sustenance I found myself needing today.
In the middle of jotting down a to-do list and conjuring content ideas, I was struck with a moment of introspective clarity about the smallest detail of my life. I always place my coffee, latté, anything to the right of my computer. Left-handed I end up performing this crossover maneuver anytime the need for caffeine strikes. Mentally taking inventory I found no time that I had placed it on the left — in the most convenient position.
Left with a few moments to do nothing, but ponder my latest revelation I wondered how else I had been getting in my own way. Unable to find another example I was left to ponder two possibilities: I had no other issue or I have to wait another 23 years to find out.