Bearded Lady Food Co. is a mostly vegan, gluten-free bakery in downtown Olympia that makes and sells cupcakes, cake, cheesecake, brownies, cookies, ice cream, cheese plates, and sundaes. Many items are vegan and/or gluten free, but there are non-vegan versions of many of their goodies, too. You can pop in during the day to buy bakery case goodies, or show up in the evening for a seated dessert. Who could say no to making dessert a sit-down event? Dawn of Vegan Moxie and Roxanne of Roxanne Cooke Photography spent a recent Saturday evening trying a few of Bearded Lady’s plated desserts, as well as a couple beverages. Here are their impressions!
Dawn: After reading/hearing great things about Bearded Lady from friends and other vegan types, I knew that I had to get in to try their in-house baked goods and treats soon. My first trip to the shop happened rather accidentally: a group of friends went to dinner in Olympia, and a friend of a friend suggested we check it out. An amazing suggestion, as everyone (and me being the only vegan) thoroughly enjoyed their treats of choice and I couldn’t get the ice cream sundae I’d enjoyed that night out of my head. Fast forward a few months, and my friend Roxanne asked if I was interested in heading back to Bearded Lady for a most delicious blogging assignment: reviewing the bakery’s sweet wares for Cakespy. Um, yes please!
Roxanne: After that first successful visit to Bearded Lady with Dawn and other friends, I just had to go back to try more. I’m always up for trying new things, especially when it comes to baked goods and ice cream. Dawn: We came to Olympia from Tacoma on a warm summer’s afternoon, perfect for some sweet treats and cold beverages. I ordered an iced coffee, and was impressed by how decadent a normally simple beverage can be. Along with the accompanying soy milk I requested, the drink came with simple syrup that seemed to be dotted with vanilla bean flecks. I’d never seen anything like this before, and it added the perfect smooth and sweet flavor to the coffee that this traditional Americano, soy, no sweetener girl thoroughly enjoyed.
Roxanne: I couldn’t pass up the lemon fizz drink, since it was a warm evening (shorts weather, for sure). It didn’t disappoint; in fact, it was better than lemonade, yet just as simple! It was sweet but not overly so, and super refreshing and flavorful. Like Dawn’s iced coffee, the lemon fizz contained specks of vanilla that intrigued me and added a hint of sweetness that took it to the next level. All in all, it was the perfect choice for a summer night.
Dawn: Roxanne and I decided to order three desserts, again reaffirming the decadence of this outing, and my choices were the customizable “lil’ bit” sundae with vegan espresso-coriander ice cream, vegan chocolate mousse, toasted nuts, and vegan caramel sauce as my toppings, and a habanero sugar brownie. Roxanne had the espresso-coriander ice cream on our first visit, and I loved the flavor so much I knew I needed to try it again. The coriander flavor (something I generally don’t associate with sweets) really pops here, and the espresso isn’t overpowering, which allows the herb’s flavor to shine thorough. The addition of the mousse was a win this time around, as it was velvety smooth, boasted rich flavor and had a great texture. The caramel was great, no different in its appearance or taste from its non-vegan counterparts. Roxanne: My chocolate sundae consisted of vegan chocolate ice cream, vegan and gluten-free vanilla cake, fresh berries, and berry jam. There was a lot going on, but it meshed really well together. The rich chocolate ice cream was complemented by the fresh berries and berry jam. The vanilla cake was a bit dry, but it still went well with everything else. Overall, it was an extremely good combination I’d order again! Dawn: The habanero brownie stuck out to me in the bakery case because it sounded like an intriguingly rare combination: a super spicy twist on a traditional baked good. I took a couple of small bites and said, “This isn’t hot or spicy at all!” with a tinge of disappointment. I handed it over to Roxanne, who said “Whoa!” after taking her bite. After digging in a little deeper, I finally got it, too: pow! A peppery flavor hit like a kick in the mouth, in the very best way possible. The frosting was a bit hard, but that could be attributed to a few factors. The habanero sugar definitely added an element of surprise and bold flavor that made me opt for a brownie, a dessert option that normally doesn’t catch my eye. Well done, Bearded Lady. Well done.
Bearded Lady Food Co. 412 Franklin Street, Olympia, WA 360-943-6235 Serves bakery case goodies Friday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Evening sweet kitchen open Thursday-Sunday, 5 to 11 p.m. Online here.