Play, Tap Away, Inhale the Baked Goods
Buzz, the ambitious coffee shop/bakery/dessert lounge that opened a few weeks ago off the George Washington Parkway in Alexandria, is designed to delight those with a sweet tooth, young and old.
This latest venture by Neighborhood Restaurant Group, which operates Evening Star Cafe and other area restaurants, plans to cater to the daytime family crowd with a play area stocked with baking-theme toys. It also will probably attract a solid laptop-toting, caffeine-craving contingent with its expertly brewed Illy brand coffees and free WiFi. And to entice a cosmopolitan after-dinner crowd, it has concocted specialty martinis and warm drinks with a kick and will offer 40 to 50 dessert wines.
But the desserts will whip up the most excitement. Executive pastry chef Lisa Scruggs was deftly churning out buzz-worthy confections on the shop's first day. At the top of the must-try list is the caramel nut cheesecake ($3.95), an individual silky cake topped with buttery caramel and pecans. Also in the stellar category are the creamy, torched-to-order espresso creme brulee ($2.75); the bombe, a small dome of chocolate cake filled with chocolate and passion fruit mousses and topped with a glossy chocolate glaze ($4.25); and the cupcakes ($2.50 each).
Co-owner Michael Babin has his favorites, too. "I love the cinnamon rolls," he says of the delicious buns ($2.25), which taste like feathery doughnuts slathered in cinnamon and sugar. Handmade chocolates (starting at $1.50) also will be a regular feature of the dessert case.
If you crave more than dessert, Scruggs recommends one of the savory pies ($5.95). "We will always have four flavors," she says. "Right now we have jambalaya, chicken pot pie, pulled barbecue pork, and steak and cheese."
Buzz, 901 Slaters Lane, Alexandria. Open 6 a.m. to midnight daily. 703-600-2899;http:/
-- Rina Rapuano