Our sweets post takes a different form this week. A few weeks ago I met my family in Raleigh for the afternoon and evening. During my childhood in the Triangle, downtown Raleigh had some restaurants, but not too many that were really wonderful. In the past few years though, the local restaurant, bakery and coffee shop scene has expanded tremendously and the new eateries are absolutely fantastic. We decided to test out the fare at a few of the newer local bakeries, to see which one was our favorite. After an afternoon bakery tour downtown, I’m not sure we have a conclusive answer – they were all so delicious but unique. I guess we will just have to keep testing ;)
Our first stop was Boulted Bread. Boulted opened a few years ago by a trio of friends all originally from Raleigh. The team bonded over bread baking and the small bakery has its own stone mill, where they grind locally sourced grains into the flours used to bake their breads. The store has a large glass front that rolls up in the warmer weather to open the bakery to the downtown street.
The loaves of bread at Boulted are well done on the outside with a soft inside. These are great to take home for the week or for a nice dinner. They also offer a few different pastry options. While we were there we tried the plain croissant and the apple cinnamon croissant bread pudding. Boulted’s croissant was crisp and flakey on the outside and soft with countless layers on the inside. The bottom of the pastry was buttery and delicious. The apple croissant bread pudding was a huge hit, with swirls of cinnamon and soft apples on top. The croissant dough made for a rich and dense bread pudding square. Next time I have been advised to try the chocolate croissant, which is supposed to be even better than the regular one. Overall, I love Boulted and the importance they place on local ingredients and the community. Their bread is delicious, their croissants are flakey, and the inside of the shop is great for eating your pastry or working on your laptop.
From there we drove to the Fayetteville Street district to pop in some cute shops and try Lucettegrace patisserie. With light gray and sunshiny yellow accents throughout the bakery, wooden counters and tabletops surrounded by lots stools, and exposed brick walls, lucettegrace was a lively, exciting bakery. Interior glass windows let customers view the inner workings of the baking process, that day showcasing the folding and laminating of croissant dough and macaron assembly.
Here we tried the morning bun and the hot chocolate. Oh my gosh. Both were amazing. The morning bun, essentially croissant dough baked into a bun shape and coated in sugar, was probably my favorite item on our bakery tour. It was perfectly flakey with innumerable chewy layers. The sugared outside was a delicious treat and made the bun even more delicious. The hot chocolate is easily the best hot chocolate I have had in Raleigh. It is dark and super rich, topped with homemade marshmallows and very thick, fresh whipped cream. It is to die for and a must try if you visit.
We drove to the Peace Street area for our next stop at Yellow Dog Bread Company. Like Boulted, Yellow Dog is known for their bread (as the name suggests). With loaves lining the wooden shelves on the wall and pastries and cookies on the counter behind the glass, we viewed our options. Ultimately we chose an almond croissant and one of the last sticky buns left in the shop for our trial. The almond croissant was different than others we had tried before. The layers of dough were soft and pillowy and encased a thick almond spread that was softer than the usual single strip of paste. The sticky bun was oozing with gooey caramel and pecan topping and the bun was a soft brioche-type sweet bread. Yellow Dog has a lot of selection and great seating areas, inside and outside.
Before heading home we stopped by Cameron Village to pick up some tea at Tin Roof Teas, a local teashop with a wall-to-wall selection of loose teas, honeys, and beautiful teapots and cups. I love a good Earl Grey Crème tea, and walking to some of the cute, unique shops in the shopping center with hot tea in hand was the perfect finale to a delicious afternoon.
I hope you enjoyed the virtual bakery tour of downtown Raleigh! This was such a small sampling of the great places in the area and this doesn’t include some of my favorite coffee shops and bakeries outside of downtown (looking at you, Sola, my love). I can’t wait to try more bakeries in Raleigh and maybe do another tour in Chapel Hill, Durham, or even on some of our trips to destination cities! Any suggestions?