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Bea's Bonnet

Bakery is the answerUpdate 9/12/11: Bea's Bonnet Snack Shop is closed. Thanks for the heads up, Sara.

In a word: You're sure you want to do this.

The specs: #0673
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Fearful Symmetries, Yelp, The Style Project; official web site, Facebook; Bea's Bonnet Snack Shop on Urbanspoon

Latest Bea's Bonnet news and reviews

JM ate the ham and cheese sandwich.
Nichole ate the pork empanada and a ginger tea.
We split a chocolate dome cake.
The bill was $17.50 including a dozen eggs, or $7ish/person for a dinner/snack, plus tip.
JM gave Bea's Bonnet a B+; Nichole gave Bea's Bonnet an A (see our grading rubric).

Bea's Bonnet is the storefront for Honey Bee Bakery, a shoot off the Underground rhizome (see also Catacombs). Calling ahead is a good idea, but don't be surprised if they're kinda busy. Some days there is soup or ice cream, but every day there is an assortment of sweet and savory pastries (bars, galettes, cookies), breads and rolls, and a few (gritwater) drinks.

The storefront is a small, slightly rundown concrete structure that once held Jamaican Arts and Crafts. Outside it was freshly painted and inside it was tidy. Saying there are a half dozen seats is exaggeration. There were three other customers and it felt like Grand Central Station in there. Still, we set up one of the wooden TV trays and felt right at home. Their dishes are waaay cuter than ours, though.

Ham and cheese sandwich

Let's eat a sandwich. The ham and cheese was snack-sized. The smallish oval slices of whole wheat bread had a good aroma and were firm but not too chewy. There were thick slices of sweet ham with a little fat on the edges; a smooth, soft, melted white cheese we couldn't quite ID; and thick, sturdy market spinach. The cup of sharp dijon mustard on the side was tops.

EmpanadaThere were three kinds of empanada to choose from, including beef and curry vegetable. We got the pork version. The filling was moist and generous. Raisins and nuts added texture and sweetness. The pastry was amazingly flaky, and if you looked carefully you could see the swirl of layers where the edges had been rolled. There were wedges of key lime for garnish.

Of the coffee and tea choices, the ginger tea sounded most appealing. This cup came with scads of fresh ground ginger. This is entirely anecdotal, but the cold that had lingered with Nichole for weeks was gone the next day. (See also Mermaid Cafe's ginger juice.)

Chocolate domeAfter our snack-sized dinner, a treat didn't seem too indulgent. We got a chocolate dome cake. It looked like an Omega cake but it was way better. The cake was dense inside, rich with cinnamon and covered with a dark chocolate glaze. Melting small bites of the lighter chocolate mousse on top revealed crunchy grains of salt, a pleasant and subtle surprise.

We happened to need eggs, so we were glad to see they sold them by the dozen. They also have Jordandal meats in their freezer.

Readers who know Nichole will know that she'd fallen in love with Bea's Bonnet by now, so an A from her was inevitable. JM's opinion was the variable. As we ate, Miles Davis' Kind of Blue came on the stereo. Three notes in, JM (who has also been known to ID legendary saxophonists by ear) quipped, "this is the most important album that will never be on my iPod." Bea's Bonnet is like that; JM's B+ is the highest B+ he can possibly give.


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Your comment about the portion size made me wonder: How has eating at so many restaurants affected the way you eat at home? Are you more likely to eat smaller meals throughout the day, to contrast the massive portions sometimes served as restaurant entrees? (I'm thinking of the Patton Oswalt steakhouse/gravy hose routine here.)

Also, has it changed the way you cook?

These questions might be better suited to a "wrapping up" post after finishing the A-Z project. Thanks for doing great, entertaining work.

Anybody know what's going on with Bea's Bonnet? The signage is gone, and the windows are papered over. Earlier this spring, they closed down for a few weeks to regroup, but I'm afraid this looks more permanent.

Their empanadas are being served at The Victory with a hot hot hot sauce.

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