For eclectic pastries inspired by flavors across the globe, head to La Bodega Bakery.
Located at 1346 T St. NW, the bakery is housed inside of the restaurant Compass Rose. At the bakery, the restaurant’s executive pastry chef Paola Velez – who co-founded Bakers Against Racism – offers a variety of pastries for customers to pre-order and pick up on Saturdays, along with a rotating pastry case for walk-ins.
If you’re not in the District right now, La Bodega Bakery offers nationwide shipping for some of its classic desserts, like a whole golden rum cake ($45) or a variety pack of “thick’em” cookies ($20) in flavors like chocolate chip and cranberry raspberry white chocolate.
Right now, the bakery’s storefront location is baking up an assortment of desserts ranging from dulce de leche donuts ($5) topped with a toasted white chocolate glaze and plantain chips to Milo buns ($10), a swirly pastry filled with malted chocolate powder and doused in milk chocolate glaze.
Along with pastries, La Bodega Bakery also serves bodega-style breakfast sandwiches on homemade brioche buns, like the Lucky #7 ($7.77) with scrambled eggs, cheese and smoked bacon and the glazed guava bacon, egg and cheese ($8.88).
Customers can also order a range of cocktails, including the Chamoy Sunrise ($14) with mezcal, apricot, chili and orange juice or the Cafe & Coquito ($14) made with coffee and the classic Puerto Rican creamy, coconut and rum beverage.
To ensure I could get the baked goods I wanted before trekking to the bakery, I opted to pre-order for a mid-morning Saturday pick up, which included a $3 packing fee and $1 order fee.
Even through my mask, I could smell sugar, butter and yeast drift through the storefront when I walked in. The pickup process was seamless, and each of my pastries were expertly packed and remained intact during my Metro trip home.
Out of my selection of pastries, my favorite was La Bodega Bakery’s plantain buns ($10), which are a staple of the bakery’s menu.
The massive sticky bun is stuffed with a mixture of plantains and pecans. Grains of paradise, a spice indigenous to the west coast of Africa, finished off the bun as a glaze.
Each bite was packed with sweetness and spice, and the crunchy bits of pecan paired well with the saccharine and gooey plantain filling. The dough of the sticky bun itself remained soft and pillowy on the inside, but it was still sturdy enough to hold the bun’s generous amount of filling.
The $10 price point is also well warranted – the plantain buns are made in limited quantities, and they’re easily shareable among two or three people.
For pastries you can’t find anywhere else in the District, a Saturday trip to La Bodega Bakery is your best bet.