Le Caprice Bakery, Washington DC.

October 2014.

Baking in Washington DC is a joke: when you go searching for the best bakeries here you find yourself in a cupcake competition. Not my territory. This bakery tends to float to the top of the rating list when people talk about croissants, and so bored to tears by a medical conference I was attending which featured a variety of falsehoods I decided to seek something a little more authentic by going 25 minutes on the subway to this place’s Columbia Heights neighborhood.

Not worth it. Better I’d stayed in the hotel and eaten the conference-catered hideous false croissants and made-with-bread-dough danishes they served free for breakfast. That would have been significantly worse than Le Caprice, but not worse enough to justify the long subway round trip. Although I did get to see a real Washington DC neighborhood.

It was a beautiful cool sunny day and I sat out on the patio to eat the croissant and strawberry-and-cream-cheese danish, along with an alleged double espresso. The croissant was just bread really. Well maybe a cut above that. But I think the problem is that we have scared the living shit out of good food makers so there’s just never enough butter and salt in anything. This was nicely baked but chewy-bland in my mouth. Not quite empty-enough calories to throw in the garbage hungry as I was, but really not very good. The Danish was trash. Rubbery, lacking in sugar, apparently at least a day old.

Coffee? Bitter, no crema. I so badly needed another caffeine hit I had a second one to take with me to the subway but swallowed it down like medicine.

Don’t go looking for European baking in this very American town. Now maybe if you try the cupcakes…. Food 3.7, Service –, Ambience –, Value 2.8

About John Sloan

John Sloan is a senior academic physician in the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia, and has spent most of his 40 years' practice caring for the frail elderly in Vancouver. He is the author of "A Bitter Pill: How the Medical System is Failing the Elderly", published in 2009 by Greystone Books. His innovative primary care practice for the frail elderly has been adopted by Vancouver Coastal Health and is expanding. Dr. Sloan lectures throughout North America on care of the elderly.
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