Sugar Magnolia Café | Cleveland Park, Washington D.C.

Stop into Sugar Magnolia for special hummus

Sugar Magnolia, the tiny space in front of Cleveland Park's Ripple, bills itself as a bakery.

The counter display holds chewy chocolate chip cookies ($1.25), butterscotch blondies puffed with shredded coconut ($2.50), and Valrhona brownies ($2.50), all perfected by Ripple's talented pastry chef, Alison Reed.

But before trying any, we recommend that you start with one of the ciabatta sandwiches. Smoked char ($9) is one of the best things we've tried between sliced bread. Chef Logan Cox adds raw kale, sliced fingerling potatoes, caper mayonnaise and lemon juice to mellow the fish.

The meatless option ($7) spotlights an earthy, robust black-eyed-pea hummus (click here for the recipe), with Gouda and an asparagus slaw. Not a vegetarian? Pair your choice with a bag of roasted-bacon pecans ($6), which Cox makes using thick pieces of Benton's bacon.

Not all sandwiches are sweet. Reed is on a mission to revive the ice cream sandwich ($3.50), and she is taking combinations to new places. A few of the winning pairings include smooth bacon-maple ice cream between waffles, and coconut meringues holding a scoop of salted-caramel-toffee. Now that strawberries are popping up, the chef plans to offer lavender sponge cakes with fresh strawberry ice cream.

Sugar Magnolia, 3417 Connecticut Ave. NW (at Ordway St.); 202-244-7995