Factsheet & Review: Lavender Moon

lavender cupcakes more like, amirite?

Lavender Moon Cupcakery is slightly off the beaten path, since it’s not in D.C. proper (but it is near a metro!) and not even on the main street (King) in Old Town–but it’s definitely worth checking out. And hey, the owner used to be Donald Trump’s personal chef!

Location: 116 South Royal Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

Neighborhood: Old Town Alexandria

Transit: Closest Metro stop is King Street on the Blue Line; head east on King Street, down towards the Potomac. It’s a little less than a mile from the Metro.

part of the setup

Seating: It’s located in one of the old brick rowhouses, and has a few tables and chairs inside if you feel like hanging out. Otherwise, you could go next door to the Grape & Bean to get some coffee/wine with your cupcake.

Sweets: Since it’s just a cupcakery, all you get are cupcakes, $3.00 each.

Over two visits (6 cupcakes at once is a bit much, even for us!), we tried:

blackberry thyme

Blackberry Thyme!

Flourless Chocolate!

irish coffee cake!

Irish Coffee Cake!

lemon curd

Lemon Curd!

Green tea+Lavender!

…and ‘Butterscotch’, but I don’t think the cashier knew what she was talking about (it tasted like…nothing topped with a frosting that tasted slightly like peanut butter?).

Kendra: Lavender Moon opened a few years ago near my work, and initially it was a bit of a let down–a lack of consistent hours (half the time they were closed!) coupled with hit-or-miss flavors led to a shaky start. Since then, they’ve definitely improved–to the point where they are close to the top of my “Best DC-area Cupcakes” list. They’re willing to take chances with the flavors–roasted fig & basil, chestnut, and pomegranate have all made appearances. I appreciate this creativity, and the fact that the flavors are always rotating and different (coupled with a few tried n’ true mainstays) means that there’s always something new to try.

If there is anything to critique, it’s that an overwhelming majority of their flavors have cream cheese frosting–at least, from what my tastebuds can discern. While their cream cheese frosting isn’t bad at all (unlike Baked & Wired’s), it tends to overwhelm some of the more subtle flavors of the cake (like in the Green Tea Lavender). Also, as is the case with being creative–sometimes their flavors work (the blackberry thyme was refreshing and tasty tasty), and sometimes they don’t (their Tiramisu cake, while not bad, doesn’t really taste like tiramisu). Additionally, they don’t have a website, so you can’t check on what flavor will be available on any given day.

Kat: Lavender Moon is a top-tier cupcakery. They offer a lot of filled cupcakes and unusual flavors. The cupcakes are smaller than Baked & Wired’s, and the price is appropriate for the size. The cakes themselves are less sweet, with more emphasis on frosting and filling. The cream cheese frostings are light and delicious, though if you try several flavors in a row that use cream cheese they can be a bit samey. As Kendra mentioned, some flavors are more successful that others. The flourless chocolate cake and lemon curd are quite tasty, and I believe they are regulars. I have been seduced by the tiramisu twice, only to be a little disappointed that it tastes more like buttermilk pancakes (which is still a good taste of course!). If you are in Alexandria, you should definitely try Lavender Moon.

WE ARE SOOOO COOL

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Outside the District–Song Que

I can’t exactly justify driving two hours down I-95 to Richmond whenever I’m in the mood for bubble tea, so I’ve had to find DMV alternatives.

ENTER THE DRAGON

Song Que

6769 Wilson Blvd
Falls Church, VA 22044

While it isn’t the most accessible bubble tea joint in the DC-area (on top of needing a car, you need to have the desire to brave the hell that is 7 Corners), it’s certainly one of the tastier options. And it has really good/cheap banh mi! WIN-WIN SITUATION HERE.

ooo yeah banh mi!

Eden Center is Northern Virginia’s big Vietnamese hotspot. As part of this shopping center, Song Que sells a bunch of prepackaged snacks, meals, dried squid, and the occasional Asian fruit (mangosteen!).

not quite as extensive as TT lounge

You can’t really make it out from this photo, but those are the bubble tea options. Yeah, not as extensive as TT Lounge. But as bubble tea isn’t their main focus, it’s forgivable.

Pictured–the Eden Center gate, taro bubble tea, and the interior of Marymary’s luxurious Subaru Outback.

Kendra: These are more like milkshakes or smoothies–very thick, and depending on the flavor it may actually be made with that particular ingredient (i.e. avocado). The flavors lean towards Asian–jackfruit, red bean, taro, and durian (!!!) all make appearances. I’ve had their bubble tea on multiple occasions, and sometimes the tapioca balls have been frozen ūüėõ but when they aren’t they’re perfect. B+

Kat: I’ve only been here twice. The first time I ordered Thai Iced Tea with boba, the second time I got the taro flavor. I’ll go back to Thai Tea next time, because it seems to be one of the few flavors that does not come as a slushy. Both times the bubbles had good, chewy texture. B+

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Baked & Wired – Cherry Blossom (Seasonal)

Baked & Wired had a seasonal flavor to celebrate DC’s Cherry Blossom Festival. This cupcake was ‘vanilla cake with maraschino cherries mixed in the batter and topped with a cherry-flavored buttercream.’

Kat: This cupcake is so pink and pretty that it looks like something Barbie would eat, but is is definitely real food. The cake is as pink as the frosting, and has a bit of a syrup-like translucency. I’m used to maraschino cherries being served singly as a garnish, so all the chunks of cherry in the cake seemed quite indulgent. Mmmmm…preserved fruit. This is one of the sweetest cupcakes I have had from Baked & Wired, which definitely won’t be to everyone’s taste. B

Kendra: After you get past the fact that consuming this shockingly pink cupcake makes you look like a Pretty Pretty Princess, it’s not too bad. As Kat noted, it is verrrrry sweet, but the cherry flavor comes through enough to make this worth trying. Probably too sugary for most, but little¬† kids and people who love sweet things (like me) should probably enjoy this. B


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Adventures at H-Mart

It’s Friday. I’m just going to let the packaging speak for itself.

SURE!

hell no

love it.

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Baked & Wired Kaboom Cupcake Review

Oh dear lord.

check out that solid core of ganache!

Kaboom Cupcake:¬† Guinness vanilla cake, whiskey chocolate ganache center, and Bailey’s Irish buttercream frosting.

Kat: This was a St. Patrick’s Day special, but I hope it makes some more appearances! Each element of the cupcake was great and the combo was even greater. The Guinness cake tasted like vanilla with a malty finish. The deep chocolate core definitely had a little whiskey kick blending with the bittersweetness of the chocolate. And the frosting had a notably Irish cream flavor, unlike some other Bailey’s flavored things that taste only of cream. The cupcake was not a super-boozy¬† dessert like a tiramisu, instead it was a grown-up tasting cupcake with a bite. And a CHOCOLATE GANACHE CORE, did we mention the core? A+

Kendra: Ditto. Just…ditto. That chocolate core goes STRAIGHT THROUGH–it’s like Journey to the Center of the Earth, except with delicious chocolate instead of burning lava. A+


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READY TO DYE

READY TO DYE

I believe my love of Easter candy is already well-documented, but I have not yet discussed the other part of this holiday that I love–dyeing eggs! Yeah, I realize there’s a bunch of people out there that go the ‘hardcore’ ‘adult’ route with beeswax, and there are the types that are coloring with all-natural methods, but I’m an old-school Paas girl.

YEAH ME

I insisted that we buy white eggs, because pff brown eggs won’t allow the dye to show up! I NEED MY COLORS!

Kat just has to prove me wrong

…then Kat had to go and show me up with her decidedly classy dyed brown egg. Kat 1, Kendra 0.

awesome sticker use

Special guest ‘Lady M’ judiciously used the stickers to create this idyllic pastoral scene–well, idyllic until someone decides to eat it.

OUR SWEET SWEET LOOT

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about the CANDY! (and don’t say anything about the Gushers!) Now, time to hit up all the post-Easter candy sales…

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Baked & Wired Mocha Cupcake Review

Lest you start thinking that we’re in cahoots with B&W, we’re gonna tell you that they aren’t perfect. Not all the cupcakes we’ve sampled have been hits (the Unporked Elvis comes to mind)–as far as I know, there aren’t any immaculate bakeries.

But man, their Mocha cupcake is a huge letdown, especially compared to the Vanilla Latté. What the hell happened? Et tu, BWute?

Kendra: As much as I love drinking mocha latt√©s, I’m going to stop eating them from now on. I haven’t noticed any of B&W’s other chocolate-cake based desserts being quite so dry and flavorless, so I don’t know what’s up with this. And the mocha frosting just doesn’t taste like much of anything other than cloying sweetness–I didn’t get any chocolate taste, or hints of espresso. Epic Fail. F

Kat: This is definitely a different cake than their other chocolate offerings. It is bitter without being chocolate-y, and notably drier. It does have coffee undertones, but the vanilla latte cupcake is a much richer experience. This cupcake is mediocre at best. D

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