Location: The Sweet Lobby (404 8th Street SE)
Flavors: Red Velvet,Chocolate Salted Caramel, Champagne Strawberry
Guest Reviewer: Universal Em
The Sweet Lobby, located in Eastern Market, is in plain sight from the metro and literally less than a block away. WMATA is my life so the proximity earned this place extra kudos. A cute little walk-in, The Sweet Lobby is clearly a get- in and get-out type of operation. When I arrived the spot was popping and I soon found out that the constant traffic was due to the recent success the store received by winning The Food Network’s Cupcake Wars.
The broadcast which premiered on Super Bowl Sunday ensured that when I arrived there were no personal menus to peruse and no macarons available for sale. Besides the cupcakes, The Sweet Lobby is known for their take on the French confection. This information was made readily available by the employees, who were not only friendly, but very knowledgeable on the store and the 19 different flavors on hand that day.
At $2.75 a cupcake, I decided on three flavors: the Chocolate Salted Caramel, the Red Velvet (those two being their most popular) and the Champagne Strawberry. The Champagne Strawberry was a no-brainer, simply because my love for alcohol is well documented and knows no bounds. Out of all three selections, this was my least favorite.
Described on the menu as more of a cake, the champagne left the white chocolate filling feeling spongy and hearty, while the champagne butter cream icing tasted more like some sort of orange whip. It didn’t help that even though fresh strawberry chunks were used, I could barely taste them. The Red Velvet, I thought, was an appropriate second option since it’s like the Holy Grail flavor for aficionados. The particular icing used is a tangy cream cheese frosting, which I am sorry to report overshadows everything. I’m talking like the city of Philadelphia was harmed while making it.
Thank god for the Chocolate Salted Caramel. Hindsight is 20/20 and in retrospect I would have gotten this three times over. Everything from the rich Callebaut chocolate, the gooey salted caramel core, and the milk chocolate butter cream topping with the salted caramel swirl was just divine. The thing literally crumbles softly, melts in your mouth while all the flavors complement each other well.
Although the shop opened a little under a year ago, word of mouth and recent success have allowed it to keep that fresh relevancy. With that lone cupcake, it’s not hard to see why. Also offering shortbread cookies, madeleines, and their own brand of teas and hot chocolate, this Barracks Row shop is sure to lobby their way into your mouths and hearts….see what I did there?
Universal Em is a freelance writer and all around Joe who calls Cardozo home. A Sagittarius with a love of all things hip-hop and sports he can be found trolling on twitter (@universalem). If left to his own devices, he would steal someone else's words to describe himself, "commonplace & different, intimate & distant, fresher than an infant."