Eating & Drinking

The World’s Best Bakeries

Spot Cool Stuff loves finding good bakeries on our travels. Spontaneously coming across one while exploring a village or city neighborhood can make an ordinary walk special. But some bakeries are special in their own right and worth purposefully seeking out — either for the quality of their baked goods or for their interior design or for the atmosphere of being there or for some combination of all those.

Below is our review of eight such bakeries. We hesitate calling them the “best,” since the world has many bakeries and we’ve only been to a relatively small handful. But each of our selections has some superlative feature that’s well worth a detour when traveling nearby.

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The 100% Chocolate Cafe

If you think dessert is the best part of a meal, check out our review of the world’s best chocolate shops.

If you think dessert should be the only part of a meal, head to Tokyo, Japan and check out The 100% Chocolate Cafe.

But don’t let the name fool you. The 100% Chocolate Cafe isn’t exclusively a cafe where every menu item involves chocolate. It’s also a store — where every item for sale involves chocolate. And there’s also a street-side walk-up window — exclusively for chocolate.

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The Shipping Container Starbucks

Most Starbucks are architecturally rather cookie cutter and bland. But the popular chain of coffee shops does have a handful of locations with a cool edge to them. Perhaps none more than the company’s drive-thru located in outside of Seattle in Tukwila, Washington. The Starbucks there is built out of used shipping containers!

Since Spot Cool Stuff’s first post about shipping container architecture, use of the eco-friendly building material has grown hugely in popularity. Sadly, it hasn’t grown as quickly as the surplus supply of used containers. But nearly every day work begins on at least one new shipping container house or office building somewhere on the planet.

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The Waterfalls Restaurant

Spot Cool Stuff has been to many restaurants that are next to a waterfall. We’ve even been a few that are above a waterfall. But we’ve only seen one restaurant that’s in a waterfall.

At the uncreatively-named Waterfalls Restaurant near the city of San Pablo in the Philippines, the Labasin Falls literally flows through the eating area. The water tumbles down nearly on top of the diners, passes below the (strongly bolted down) tables and then continues flowing on its way down a river.

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The Cupcake ATM

The cupcake ATM has its own Twitter account with over 1,800 followers

In the Los Angeles area, there’s something even better than money that you can get out of an automated teller machine: cupcakes!

At the Sprinkles Cupcake shop in Beverly Hills, California there’s a public, street-side ATM that provides access to gourmet cupcakes 24 hours a day.

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Indoor Caravan Camping

When you visit Berlin will you stay in an artsy boutique hotel? In a low cost hostel? In a trailer park?

The wonderfully cool thing about The Hüttenpalast is that the accommodations are all three of those—at once!

At Spot Cool Stuff we’ve reviewed more than our share of unusual hotels. But rarely have we found one that offers such an unconventional experience with such a relatively high level of comfort at such a relatively low price.

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The Munich Airport Beer Garden

Your typical airport bar is a semi-depressing place, full of lonely traveling salespeople and stressed passengers waiting out their flight delays. Happily, Munich—Europe’s beer capital and the spiritual home of Oktoberfest—is not your typical city when it comes to its bars. At Munich’s international airport you’ll find Airbräu. It’s the world’s only full-fledged beer garden that’s inside an airport. It’s also the world’s only in-airport brewery.

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A New York City Night Out,
Mad Men-Style

The bar offers “Martinis and Manicures” every night for the ‘60s bargain price of $10 for both!

The “swinging ‘60s” might be so last millennium, but partying like Mad Men’s purveyor of cool, Don Draper, is about as current as it gets. In honor of the new season of the cool AMC show Mad Men, here’s your guide to a retro night out in New York City, from kitschy New York bars to lounges specializing in Old Fashioneds and Mint Juleps:

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