I work and live not far from the Atwater’s at Kenilworth (there are multiple locations), but for whatever reason I hadn’t looked twice at the place. Maybe it’s the unassuming design of the building? I don’t know. Decidedly this underestimation was a huge mistake on my part. I went for the first time early in October, and I’ve since gone several times, enjoying pretty much everything I’ve eaten from there.
Act 1: Mocha Mascarpone Cake
I wanted to bring a dessert to a dinner with some family. After scoping out the menu for the Kenilworth location online, which is updated daily, I was intrigued by the idea of a mocha mascarpone cake. I once made vegan mocha brownies, but I’d never had a mocha cake. Ultimately, I was impressed as were the family members with whom I shared it. I like mascarpone cheese because it is creamy but light, and it created for a nice consistency for the frosting while seemlessly combining chocolate and coffee flavors. I’ve mentioned before that I’m obsessed with buttercream, but the mascarpone frosting created some healthy competition for my favorite topping.
The texture of the cake itself was to my liking- not too spongey, as some cakes I’ve had lately have been. I came to the shop towards the end of the day and was worried the cake might be dry, but it was still perfectly moist at 8 pm when we dug in. It got a little bruised in the travel, but that didn’t bother me since the Atwater’s employee had apologized for putting the cake in the only box that would fit it, a larger box, so I expected some frosting loss.
It felt like it had been ages since I had a layer cake. They have cupcakes too, but it was nice to have an actual slice of cake. One slice of cake is $3.95 and I purchased two slices, which ended up being enough for four people; I think I got my money’s worth. I was so impressed with the cake and wanted to go back to have some of the savory offerings, the cookies, and coffee.
Act 2: Cookies and coffee
On my second trip, I ended up buying snickerdoodles, which came with six in a bag and cost $3.95. I hadn’t had snickerdoodles in a while and my golden standard for them are the ones from The Great Cookie. The Atwater’s cookies were slightly crispy, but still chewy and full of buttery goodness. They’re not tiny cookies so one, maybe two, was enough of a snack for me.
I noticed a black and white latte listed on the drink menu when I went the first time. I worked at Starbucks in college and I used to make a marble mocha (white chocolate mocha sauce and the regular mocha sauce) plus caramel sauce on top (how do I still have teeth?) and it was something I miss, so that became something high on my Atwater’s to-try list. When I returned, I tried the black and white latte (not pictured), which was just okay. I wasn’t crazy about the flavor of the chocolate sauces; I can’t explain it but I thought it had an odd taste. I couldn’t really taste the white chocolate, either. I wonder what sort of chocolate or sauce they used for it. I did order mine with soy milk though, so that might have also been a factor in the weird taste and therefore partially my fault, since some flavors aren’t made to go with soy milk. I believe the drink costed around $4, so it is a bit of splurge.
Unfortunately, I can be one of those people who drinks complicated concoctions at coffee shops, but when I don’t want to hassle the baristas I get a half-caff Americano. On yet another visit to the cafe, I ordered one such Americano (also not pictured). I was pleased; the espresso has a nice smooth flavor and didn’t have that burnt aftertaste that Starbucks has sometimes. This cost about $2.50.
Act 3: Soup
I recently ordered a cup of the vegetable soup, setting me back a mere $3.75 (before taxes), which was filling and delicious. I didn’t take a picture of that, either, sorry! Take my word for it, though, it was quite good. Though I wasn’t in a meat mood and creamy soups are usually a no-go due to my lactose intolerance, I was leery because vegetable soup can be kind of bland and boring. However, the aroma of the soup enveloped the interior of my car and immediately changed my mind. I found the soup to be very flavorful, seasoned without being salty, and they didn’t skimp on the potatoes (my favorite vegetable in vegetable soup). Also, the bread that came with the soup was tasty too, which isn’t surprising, since that is something Atwater’s is well known for.
I could not have been more pleasantly surprised by Atwater’s. In addition to the things I’ve tasted, there are numerous things I haven’t like the pretty intense-looking muffins, cute cupcakes, chocolate-dipped macaroons, all sorts of cookies… there’s allegedly a dark and stormy cookie that I saw on the menu one day but I didn’t see it in the shop. I’ve come to love ginger-flavored snacks so I’m dying to try it. The cafe also has weekend brunch that seems like a low-key alternative to some of the more hectic places around Baltimore. There isn’t much seating though, so having to fight for a table is a definite drawback. But they do have a drive-thru, which is pretty convenient. Another plus is that the prices are all within reason. With the variety in baked goods, drinks, soups, and sandwiches, there are so many reasons to keep coming back to Atwater’s.