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Fantastic baguettes -- LeoNora Bakery, Arlington

Yesterday at Arrowine, we bought two baguettes for our assorted cheeses. **

One was "seeded" and the other plain. I had not seen these before, but they were terrific! Better than those from Firehook, which in their heyday were the best.

The seeded one was nice and savory -- what a treat! I see that someone else shares my high opinion: http://donnaxander.blogspot.com/2011/... I found that review because I actually was trying to identify the seeds in there -- maybe three varieties -- but I haven't baked bread in a while and am not recalling the seed types. i think one was flax, though, and another was pumpkin seed.

The plain one was great, too. But that seeded one is special. It'd be terrific with a hearty soup, too.

The crust is …well, crusty., but it doesn't crackle apart like many "baguettes" I've had around here. The inside is of a slightly "rustic" texture -- not doughy like many.

I had to keep the leftover baguette pieces overnight, and amazingly from the ziplock the bread was softer! Well, I guess that isn't so amazing, but that seeded baguette with Bucheron made a nice breakfast, I'll say.

The bakery is in Clarendon. I've never been, but am anxious to check it out. http://www.leonorabakery.com/www.leon...

In the photo, you'll see the baguette pieces top and bottom along with a five year old Gouda (the darkest, top left and bottom right), Swiss unpasteurized "Hozhofer" (bottom) and Bucheron -- plus mortadella. Excellent cheeses. That Swiss one's rind had microcrystallization from salt, like you find in a larger way in good Parm. Neat. It was definitely a strong cheese. The gouda was nutty and so savory that a tiny little chunk had a big flavor. The Bucheron, well, the rind zone this time was the best, the rind and the really ripened part just inside the rind.

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  1. Thank you for the public service announcement. I am always in search of a good baguette. I've been relying on Uptown bakery baguettes from the farmers market, closing for the season soon, and in a pinch Pain Quotidian's. But I see Leonora Bakery's baguettes can be purchased in Alexandria too - north end of OT.

    1. correction: re the seeded baguette -- i meant *sunflower* and not *pumpkin* seed.

      i also was told by katie at arrowine that the baguette has *two* types of flax seed in addition to the sunflower seed.

      1. we went to the bakery's location in arlington the other day, but they weren't yet open for business. i called their # and the lady told me that they hope to open this location before thanksgiving. they are still waiting for some last inspection by arlington county. she told me to watch their website for updates.

        she was very nice and i told her how i loved the seeded baguette, and how i bought it at arrowine.

        she told me that they are now selling brioche at arrowine on sunday. i will be trying that this sunday, for sure!

        1. The clarendon location just opened on saturday, dec. 10, 2011.

          i went in today just before noon, and found a beautiful aroma of eggs and vanilla, and a very happy and small artisan baking crew, along with the beautiful and so-friendly proprietor.

          the madeleines (plain and chocolate-dipped) were astounding, and there was a beautiful set of breads and croissants.

          also, there was a fabulous quiche with salmon and goat cheese that would be terrific for a holiday party.

          the owner said that she is selling out of panettone. so...book up.

          1. Here are some of my photos.

            Nice people!

            3 Replies
              1. re: ktmoomau

                I live in Clarendon and can tell you that these are the best baguettes i've had in the area. I have been to Paris,France and Overseas and have had great baguettes. These are similar in the way that they are made with great care and are vibrant and still eatable after several days. Most crusty baguettes i've found are only good for a day or so. Any other softer french bread found in the mass markets are not worth buying to begin with. I've had her plain baguettes and the ham and cheese baguette and can say that they are excellant. Please support your local bakery.

                1. re: enoisone

                  Thanks for your report! We've spent a lot of time in France and these LeoNora baguettes can definitely hold their own. Wow.

            1. Cool.... anyone got any good bread bakeries out in western FFX county?

              I've been relying on Wegmans -- and they do a great job. But I'm wondering where else I should be trying.

              1. I love bakeries. Been to a lot of them around town. Some good some not.
                This place though is really a different beast. The baguettes I've had here are just AMAZING. The bread actually taste like bread. It is yeasty and really flavorful. The bread has a great texture and a fantastic chew and the flavor last. Go and try this place. Better than any bread I've had in DC.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Soup

                  You're so right -- the baguettes at LeoNora are truly wonderful. I'm in MoCo and make the 40 minute trip to Arlington a couple times a month to LeoNora.

                2. It's a special place, with overall high quality. I've been there three times and will continue to go. I love the standard baguette, any brioche item (chocolate or otherwise, large or mini), and some of the hazelnut or chocolate mignardises that come in a small clam shell container near the front of the store.

                  But I've also had some disappointments. I bought a whole quiche that was dried out and a bit 'cracked' on the inside. The seeded baguette is pushed because it's healthy, but the large amount of chewy seeds make it oily as well.

                  1. Stopped today and had a wonderful seeded baguette, and an excellent cookie with lemon and coconut. The cookie was sweet for my usual taste and don't love coconut, but the texture and taste were additive.
                    Thank you, Alkapai and all those who recommended this nice bakery.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: mscoffee1

                      What do you do with your car there? Seems like last time I drove by and thought about dropping in all the street parking within several blocks was for a zone permit only.

                      1. re: MikeR

                        On Sunday mornings I've always found parking right in front.

                        1. re: MikeR

                          street parking is all around -- either on the old meters right there on that street (last time i was there), or on the newer pay box system there on the spaces on wilson and clarendon blvds.

                          1. re: alkapal

                            I guess I should have been clearer. For a run-in-run-out kind of place, I want free parking. Maybe metered parking is still free in Arlington on Sundays.

                            I should remember to pick up one of her baguettes at Arrowwine (if that info is still current). They have free parking. ;)

                            1. re: MikeR

                              you can still put a dime in the meters for the quickie visit. ;-).
                              but yes, go to arrowine, with free parking.

                        2. re: mscoffee1

                          I've been several times mid-week during the middle of the day. There is lots of parking on the street where the bakery is located.

                        3. NO MORE is this seeded baguette anywhere CLOSE to what it used to be.

                          went to arrowine today, bought one, got home and asked "What happened to all the seeds?"


                          there MIGHT have been two or three in the entire crust!

                          PS, while i'm at it, pastries by randolph customer service has slidden into sullen territory. i mean, i have to THANK **YOU** after spending nearly $20 for three pastries, and then i get a blank stare? (and i have another story that is too long to go into…BUT…BOTTOM LINE…if management does not care about customer service, then the little high schoolers WIIL NOT CARE EITHER!)