Just because you want a donut doesn't mean you have to settle for the pile of pre-fried glazed rings you'll find at the nearest mini-mart. Dynamo Donut & Coffee offers a great alternative for Bay Area-citizens and visitors alike, serving up a menu of freshly-made treats that changes on a regular bases — but nearly always includes our favorite, the bacon-maple donut, as well as local Four Barrel Coffee. Order up your breakfast/sugary snack from the walk-up counter, go inside and admire the open kitchen, back patio, and garden, or, if you're not near the Mission, hit up the Marina location instead.
There are plenty of photo-friendly cafes, whether they be meeting places for photographers, a makeshift art gallery, or just a picturesque spot. There aren't, however, too many cafes that actually look like cameras. Located next to the home of the family that owns it, the Dreamy Camera Cafe resembles a classic Rolleiflex camera, with large circular windows representing the twin lenses, and a variety of antique cameras and memorabilia on display. Add in some tasty coffee, tea, and sweet treats, and you've got an ideal spot to spend some time — preferably with camera in-tow.
Typically, anything purchased through a back door tends to be a bit shady — bootleg liquor, narcotics, etc. — but that's not the case at Back Door Donuts. This unique secondary business of Martha's Vineyard Gourmet Café & Bakery is open every night from mid-April through the end of October, from 7:30 pm until just before 1:00 am. In addition to donuts, you can also indulge in fresh apple fritters, cinnamon rolls, croissants, and anything else listed on the menu that's taped to the inside of the back door. Just plan on getting there a little early, as the lines form well before that door opens.
The story sounds more suited to an urban area — a Kickstarter campaign, a former laundromat, and Intelligentsia coffee — but we promise the Vergennes Laundry really is located in rural Vermont. This off-the-beaten-path bakery serves up simple, fresh food, including made-to-order tarts, imaginative, melt-in-your-mouth croissants, chocolates, and macaroons, which you can wash down with Chemex drip coffee or fresh espresso. Arriving later in the day? Not to worry, as their lunch sandwiches, salads, and soups are just as fresh and tasty as their breakfast offerings.
The menu might be short, but my, is it tasty. Milk Jar Cookies is a Miracle Mile shop serving up freshly-baked homemade cookies, glasses of milk from a local dairy, and ice cream from a local creamery. Over a dozen varieties are available — including the classic chocolate chip, chocolate peanut butter, and a gluten-free chocolate chip for the wheat-adverse — and as you may have guessed from the ice cream being served, nearly any combination can be combined to create and ice cream cookie sandwich that's as delicious as it sounds.
Skip the baked goods at the local coffee house and dig in to the goodness being served up at Bakeshop. Founded by James Beard award-winning author Kim Boyce, this intimate bakery offers always-fresh scones, cookies, cakes, pies, muffins, bars, and other edible delights from a menu that changes with the season to incorporate seasonal flavors and the freshest produce. No matter the time of year, you can always count on her Figgy Buckwheat Scones, Oatmeal Chocolate Cookies, and Coffee Cake Crumble — so worry not if you're not a fan of the current seasonal lineup. You'll find something that's far more than just worth eating.
Don't let the cute, colorful macarons fool you — the taste of the baked goods at Bakery Lorraine is serious business. Founded by two alumni of Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery, this shop is dedicated to handmaking every item, using the freshest ingredients available, from miller's flour to daily-fresh farmer's eggs and butter. Although the offerings change daily, you can almost always expect to find an assortment of cookies, croissants, muffins, buns, tarts, and macarons available, along with the occasional sandwich.
Beantown has a vibrant Italian community — so when we say "the best cannoli in town", it's not something to be taken lightly. And the recipient of our endorsement is Mike's Pastry. This renowned North End spot offers over a dozen flavors and types of the cylindrical treats, and isn't any slouch when it comes to cookies, cakes, and other desserts, either. It's no little brown bag, but when your friends see you step through the door with the twine-wrapped white box, they'll know you care — or are at least trying to butter them up before you ask them to help you move this weekend.