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Bread like in San Francisco

I am going to move to DC area from SF Bay Area and would like to see if there is bread available like that at Acme or Della Fattoria (both available at Ferry Building). I need my good toast in the morning. Can you get this type of bread at the farmer's markets like at Courthouse in Arlington? I will probably move to that area (already been to Ray's Hell Burgers and Ray's Steaks which are big plusses for the neighborhood).

Availability of the bread is not going to affect my decision to move.

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Ray's Hell Burger
1713 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22209

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  1. There is a new bakery at the Arlington market, but I can't remember the name (not Atwater's). Their breads are serious, but I don't know how it compares to the two in SF. Baguette Republic in nearby Falls Church is excellent.

    1. Good luck with finding decent bread around here, I moved her last year from the West Coast and every time I'd ask for sourdough bread I was looked at as if I asked for human flesh to eat.

      1. Lyon Bakery. They mainly sell to restaurants and caterers, but they have a stall at the market outside Union Station.

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/702693

        1. Bonaparte Breads is great - they sell at the Dupont Circle farmers market and probably elsewhere. They're based in Maryland though.

          Was just at Northside Social in Clarendon the other day (bakery/cafe), and they were selling some artisanal breads. I didn't get a chance to sample since they were sold out, but if the brownie was any indication of the baking quality, this should be good bread.

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          Bonaparte Breads
          8600 Foundry St, Savage, MD

          1. No! The best bread I have found around here is actually in Philadelphia (Metropolitan). You can order on line and it isn't super expensive. Heidelberg Bakery is pretty good, but not fantastic. All the other bakeries are just so so. Acme is very good. Generally your best bet is to find par-baked LaBrea Bakery bread. Sorry. There are other things that DC has to offer that are top notch (except for Mexican Food).

            1 Reply
            1. re: ChewFun

              Baguette Republic is way better than the par-baked La Brea. But their offerings seem to change on a daily basis, so if you are looking for something specific, you should call in advance.

            2. I second Baguette Republic, some of the best baguettes I've had, even compared to ones in the Bay area. I haven't had great sourdough since moving here, though. Is there a particular type you want, for your toast? Do you want crusty bread or plain white?

              4 Replies
              1. re: chowser

                I drove by Baguette Republic the other day and noticed a new name on the building. Has anything changed with their products or have they moved - anyone know?

                1. re: beanodc

                  I just drove by tonight and saw the sign says "Bread House." It's an ugly sign.

                2. re: chowser

                  I happen to like flavorful white from a nice starter or a good levain.

                  1. re: jhh1972

                    I've had decent white from Firehook Bakery but you need to get it fresh. It's not the crusty bread but perfect for me for toast.

                    Sorry, my question wasn't accurate--I should have asked if you wanted white bread made w/ milk, eggs, etc. or rustic made only with flour, water, yeast, salt. I thought Firehook did a nice bread w/ milk, eggs, etc. Baguette Republic must use a starter because they get amazing texture and flavor in their baguettes. Personally, though, I don't like the crustiness for breakfast toast.

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                    Firehook Bakery
                    3411 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC

                3. I feel for you jhh. I moved to DC from SF in 2000 and never could easily find good retail bread, some come sorta close, but not even a simple non-sourdough baguette compares. even the Safeway house brand in SF beats a lot of the better stuff in DC so you're not going to be able to run into Safeway and find something. sorry. but I will have to check out this Lyon Bakery of which 4X4 speaks.
                  at restaurants the bread service at Central and Ris come close.

                  1. I lived in the SF Bay Area for 20+ years and moved to Northern VA a few years back. I'm going to give it to you straight, one bread lover to another - you will not find the same level of bread baking in this area that you will find in SF. That being said, there are a few places that are very good, some noted on this thread. There is a place in Old Town Alexandria that i've been meaning to try - the name escapes me but i'll track it down. I have found a pretty reasonable rustic sourdough at Wegman's but its a bit lacking in that chewy crust you're probably used to. Those old, SF sourdough starters are just really hard to duplicate here.

                    1. but on a positive note, other dough products are better than in SF: H+H bagels are trucked in daily from NYC, and Vaccaro's bakery (Balto) has an outpost in Union Station, granted not as good as at the 'real' locations, but personally I think Vaccaro's is (heresy I know) better than Stella in North Beach. and the injeera is nuthin' like you've ever had.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: hill food

                        Agreed - you can't go wrong with H&H bagels. Bagels are definitely done better on the east coast. And forget about bialy's on the west coast. Some places may sell something they call a bialy but its an abomination that should never be called a bialy.

                        1. re: 3crazydogs

                          Lyon Bakery - they have a kiosk outside Union Station (under the portico). Artisan breads, great prices. They areactually wholesale only but have this kiosk open to the public through the end of the summer. If successful, they might make the kiosk(s) more permanent around the city.

                          1. re: elaineyau

                            gonna have to get over there and try it - thanks for the tip.

                            1. re: elaineyau

                              I hope Lyons does, bread was the hardest thing about my transplant, that and a lack of mid-price decent restaurants, DC has always seemed to be a divide of high, even stratospheric or bare bones and not much in between. (still plenty of good choices, just not as many as I was used to)