As I write this, it’s 5:33 AM and I haven’t slept yet. It’s not because I’ve returned to my college-era night-owl ways, it’s not because I was feverishly working on some craft project, and it’s certainly not because I really enjoy all-nighters and the exhaustion they bring on the following day. No, it is because of this:
Oh, coffee. You taste so, so good, especially when you’re lovingly brewed in a French press. But you are so, so dangerous to a small gal like me, a little lady with no caffeine tolerance to speak of and an idiotic “It’ll be okay!” attitude when she downs a big mug of you at 3:30 in the afternoon.
Clearly, it was very much not okay. After two hours of tossing and turning in bed, I slipped out and headed to the living room. As S and Moria slumbered, I curled up on the couch and finished reading A Feast for Crows. Then I tried to sleep again, this time on the couch. When that failed, I opened up the ol’ laptop and set to work sprucing up my LinkedIn profile, overhauling my resume, and researching housing options on the east coast. (I’m not on the job hunt right now, but I want to be prepared.) I Facebooked a fellow insomniac friend and invited her to visit me in Madison. I ate an apple. I Pinterested. And then I realized that I ought to prepare my post for tomorrow, so here I am.
Coffee isn’t the sole cause of my sleepless night, though. No, this fella probably played a part:
These beauties come from Bloom Bake Shop, a truly adorable little shop just a few minutes from our apartment in Middleton. Bloom boasts an impressive vegan selection, most of which is gluten-free. Now, let it be known that I’m not gluten-free – I quite enjoy gluten in all its forms. So when S and I first stopped at Bloom a few months ago and noticed that all their vegan options available on that day were also GF, we were disappointed. We’d been burned by GF vegan baked goods before, and we didn’t want to repeat that crumbly, grainy experience. But we gave Bloom a chance, and I am oh so glad we did. Bloom blew my expectations out of the water. You would truly never, ever guess that any of their baked goods are vegan or GF, never mind both. Everything is always moist, sweet, and perfectly spiced. I’m pretty much in love with all of their offerings.
Yesterday, we got a carrot cake cupcake with maple-spice frosting, a blondie, and a chocolate cupcake. The chocolate cupcake is called Be Decadent, but that name could really apply to any of these baked goods. They are incredible. That blondie is most definitely one of the most sublimely delicious treats I’ve ever purchased; it hits the perfect balance of seeming under-baked (i.e. chewy and delicious) without being at all heavy or gooey. I can’t rave about these desserts enough! They are most definitely “sometimes foods” – they’re insanely sugary and clearly full of oil or Earth Balance – but I think they’re worth every unhealthy bite for the joy they bring me.
Not only does Bloom create beautiful, delicious desserts, but it’s also one of the most delightful little shops I’ve ever had the pleasure of entering. Every bit of decor – from the distressed wood cabinets to the old-timey display case to the pastel KitchenAids that are visible from the street – fits together perfectly, creating an environment that sits firmly on the unpretentious side of shabby-chic. The space is small, with a single table and two chairs, but floor-to-ceiling windows let in lots of light and counters by the window create additional seating options. It’s exactly the sort of place you want to spend an hour on a Saturday afternoon, sipping coffee and nibbling sweet treats. And the staff is singularly lovely, friendly and just as charming as you’d expect someone who works in such a blissfully sweet environment to be. Next time I’ll be sure to bring a different lens for my (fine, S’s) camera so I can capture the interior – you want to see it; I promise.
If all that weren’t enough to make you love Bloom, there’s this - they source many of their ingredients locally and use organic, fair-trade foods when possible. And they do all their vegan and GF baking first thing in the morning in a dedicated area of the kitchen. Be still, my heart!
Clearly, I’m enamored. So enamored that I can’t even stay angry with that coffee for keeping me up all night. It was worth it.
And now? Well, it’s 6:07 and I’ve been pretty productive. Let’s just say that I’ve got a household full of Sims who are calling my name.
What’s your favorite indulgence? Where do you go to chill out and eat delicious treats?