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Bakeries:

It all started for Patisserie Poupon in East Baltimore, where they still have their signature location. Washington society also enjoys a branch in Georgetown. Baltimore has a second cafe'-style spot right downtown that's a favorite with in-the-know classical musicians, lawyers and grad students. There, they serve French delicacies for breakfast and lunch – think duck mousse on fresh brioche.

At East Baltimore Street, fresh breads go lickety-split out the door, so come early in the morning. They authentically master the complex French desserts that you wouldn't dare try at home: macarons, dacquoise and the Proustian madeleine. Light-but-rich mousses, tender cakes, sophisticated flavors will all conspire to make your choices even more difficult.

Patisserie Poupon is the go-to for glamorous wedding cakes and colorful French dragee' almonds.

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Local Expert Tamar Alexia Fleishman Says:

Bakeries: "The downtown Charles Street cafe' location has $5 specials in the morning."

Best for Bakeries Because: When you absolutely have to impress, do as Baltimore's socialites and high-end restaurants do: shop at Patisserie Poupon.

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