The Real Deal

At this wonderful Georgetown bakery, unhip is the new hip.

Not long ago, Georgetown began to take on the vaguely creepy shine of a yuppie-invaded slum; what was once an industrial stretch of no man's land became first a haven for art and music and then a prime target for gentrification and urban renewal in other words, Starbucks. Then, mercifully, came the "downturn," and by the time Industrial Coffee and Stella Pizza stopped booking decent rock shows, talking about how cool Georgetown is became totally pass鮠Thank god. Free of both hipsters and yuppies, Two Tartes Bakery seems almost aggressive in its uncoolness. A small dessert case greets you as you walk through the door and handmade signs recall a church bake sale. A short row of tables sits on the sunny side of the room, and the table reserved for coffee condiments shares its space with locally penned poetry books available for purchase. The room is about as unstylish and simple as it possibly can be and that's what makes it feel so perfectly real. And besides that, the sweets and savories made by the two women who run the place are real, tooas in "real good." Just about everythingfrom the completely sinful and perfectly moist raspberry and white-chocolate-chip cookies to the incredibly tasty curried chicken saladis made fresh by the Two Tartes bakers, the only exception being the dough used to make their buttery, thousand-layer croissants. All the sandwiches are $5.25 and the aforementioned curried chicken, along with the classically rendered (if a bit messy) tuna ni篩se are the best. Soups ($2.50 for a cup, $4 for a bowl) change daily, and the salads ($3 small, $4.50 large) are on a weekly schedule: Stop in on a Wednesday for the antipasti or Thursday for the tangy Chinese chicken. Frittatas, quiche, and French toast souffl鳠are served at brunch on Saturdays ($5.50 includes potatoes and coffee); special quiches and tarts appear with regular irregularity, and large pans of family-style dishes like spicy sausage lasagna and cheese enchiladas can be ordered for take-out by calling ahead. After a sandwich or a piece of quiche, you'll want dessert and the supply of cookies, fruit-topped pound cakes, chocolaty indulgences, and cakes makes it next to impossible to say no. Our advice, then, is to say yes to Two Tartes' toffee-topped brownie or a no-bake cookie (both $1.25 and totally worth it). The brownies are dense and decadent, and the large, uneven cookie mounds of unbaked cocoa, oatmeal, and peanut butter are as decadent and delicious as the ones my mom used to make; I hate to say it, but they might even be a little better.

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