The Sweet Life of Alexandria, Virginia
Sponsored Advertising Content: Southern Living has partnered with Virginia.org to form a guest blogger network. Today's post is provided by guest blogger Jessica van Dop DeJesus of The Dining Traveler. Check back every Monday and Thursday for new ways to explore the state of Virginia.
If you are looking for a place to satisfy your sweet tooth, Alexandria, Virginia is the place to be. Seriously, there's nothing wrong with taking a gluttonous weekend escape! Alexandria is filled with unique, locally owned eateries to satisfy your sweet tooth and beautiful sights to walk them off. From gelato shops tucked away in the cobblestone streets of Old Town to modern bakeries in the up-and-coming Del Ray area, there's plenty to satisfy any craving. Whether you are in Alexandria to shop at the many unique boutiques in Old Town or to visit Mount Vernon, make sure to save room for dessert. Here are some of my favorites:
Sugar Shack: The name says it all. Ever since I bit into a fluffy, sweet doughnut at Sugar Shack, I was sold. The doughnuts are made in-house and the flavors change by the day. One day, you may pick a glazed doughnut topped with Cinnamon Toast Crunch™ cereal or bite into a decadent apple fritter. Did you think that doughnuts could only be paired with coffee? Think again! What many don't know is that there's a hidden door at Sugar Shack which leads to Captain Gregory's, a tiny speakeasy bar adjacent to the doughnut shop. There, you can bring your doughnut from Sugar Shack next door and pair it with unique craft cocktails. Tip: space fills up fast. Make sure to make your reservation way ahead!
Sugar Shack, 804 N Henry St, Alexandria, VA
Casa Rosada: The summers in Old Town can be hot and sticky, but perfect to end the day with gelato. On South Payne Street – off King Street, the main street in Old Town Alexandria – you'll discover Casa Rosada. Named after the presidential palace of Argentina, it brings Italian gelato to Alexandria with an Argentinian twist. They offer the traditional gelato flavors, but make sure to try one of their specialties, dulce de leche (an Argentinian caramel) gelato.
Casa Rosada, 111 S Payne St, Alexandria, VA
Whim Pop: Maria, the owner of Whim Pop, started selling her Mexican-style paletas (similar to popsicles) at the Old Town Farmers' Market. As demand grew, she decided to open shop on King Street in Old Town Alexandria; not only featuring her pops, but also gelato made in-house, special Mexican teas, and pop-up shops from local businesses. My favorite: the strawberry banana paleta. This guilt-free frozen treat tastes like a smoothie on a stick.
Whim Pop, 1309 King St, Alexandria, VA
Buzz Bakeshop: Cakes, scones, cupcakes, oh my! That's the reaction you get upon entering Buzz Bakeshop – it's a paradise for those with a sweet tooth. Crafted by renowned pastry chef Maggie Austin, it has become a favorite in Alexandria. Many of my friends head to Buzz Bakeshop to pick up birthday and special occasion cakes. Not having a party? Indulge with a rich cupcake or their delicious cookies with a coffee at their patio.
Buzz Bakeshop, 901 Slaters Ln, Alexandria, VA
Dessert Time: Dining in Alexandria? Make sure to save space for dessert. Some of my favorites include the coconut cake from Magnolia's on King. The cake is rich with sweet glaze topped with fresh coconut flakes. Ask anyone who has dined at Restaurant Eve and they will tell you to save room for their beloved "Birthday Cake" dessert. This individual serving of a birthday cake is to be celebrated whether it is your special day or not. Society Fair may be known for their delicious sandwiches made with buttery biscuits, but don't forget to pick up a buttery chocolate croissant for the road.
If all this decadence leaves you feeling a bit guilty, here are a few suggestions to work it off. Take a bike ride along the Mount Vernon Trail, where you can ride all the way to Washington, DC or to Mount Vernon, as the name suggests. Walk off the calories by shopping along King Street in Old Town. From modern jewelry at She's Unique to locally made home décor pieces at Red Barn Mercantile, you can burn off those cookies with old-fashioned retail cardio.