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Unexpected stop in DC

2 Jul

I wasn’t planning on crusading today, figuring I should limit my cupcake “work” to once a week (to spare the wallet and waistline from overindulgence).  But as I was perusing Pennsylvania Ave. for a quick snack/ break from researching at the Library of Congress, I passed Firehook Bakery & Coffee House.  I recognized that name and realized I passed the Alexandria location a few times.  Well, why not pop in and see if they have any cupcakes? So I did and they did, and here we are now!  (Sorry, I don’t have any pictures this time around.  The impromptu mission meant no camera in tow, darn.  But now I know better.  Cupcakes can strike at any time!)

A little background info…Firehook actually has seven locations in DC and four in Virginia.  Their name stems from the tool used by ancient bakeries to pull pots of baked breads from the oven.  Neat, I didn’t know that.  Maybe this project will prove much more educational than I anticipated – yay for learning things.

Gazing upon their display case, I spotted a couple cupcakes.  My options were either the root beer cupcake (I’ve never had that before!) and 3 or 4 vanilla cupcakes with either blue or red frosting with flags on top (getting into the 4th of July spirit).  I was feeling adventurous and ordered the root beer option.  The verdict:  neat.  The first bite was almost an explosion of root beer flavor.  As I continued, I realized the cake part had all the flavor.  A nice spice cake, with sassafras maybe??  Not super moist, but not super dry either.  The buttercream wasn’t especially flavorful.  It was kept in a cold case, so maybe I should have let it sit a little longer.  (Being an impatient person, I felt pretty good about waiting the two minutes I did.  Oh well.) Sprinkles you may ask? Why yes!  This one had cute little brown square sprinkles -another new for me.

Now, on to the breakdown

Firehook Bakery & Coffee House / Capitol Hill location / www.firehook.com

1. Price:  $2.48 w/tax

2. Room temperature:  Nope

3.  Size (new category here!):  Standard / average / normal.  Any of those adjectives fit the bill here.

4. Vegan or gluten free options:  Not in cupcake form today.

5. To-go packaging:  Plastic clamshell.  Not a huge fan of these.  I’ve often got recycling on the brain.

6. Milk for sale?:  Not that I caught site of.  They had lots of bottled beverages though, and what looked like fresh squeezed lemonade and orange juice.  Having the complimentary water by the checkout was a nice touch!

7.  Other treats for non-cupcake enthusiasts you may have in tow:  Lots and lots!  They had sandwiches, chips, salads, yogurt w/granola, tarts, small cakes, donuts, a pan of cornbread for sale, gianormous cookies.  Then there’s the whole coffee house side to the place…

8.  Ambiance:  2 points for cozy!  I’m always a supporter of hardwood floors, and mismatched seating.  Oh, and another 2 points for being in a historic building.  Big, storefront windows, and nice classical music playing made my dine-in experience very pleasant.  They have some outdoor seating too, which seemed to be a great place to people watch on Capital Hill.

9. Service: (another new category!):  Nice.  There was a line when I got there, and they moved through the folks pretty efficiently.  The woman who took care of me was very pleasant.  And the entire place seemed pretty clean.  A little something (was it icing?) on the table and some newspapers on the chair didn’t bother me.

Final thoughts… Firehook is definitely a coffee shop I’d recommend.  I wouldn’t say the cupcakes are the main attraction here though.  So, my quest continues!