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Dulce Bakery and Empanada Shop, Chef Teresa and GM Michael Hayes' Bolivian Bakery on Pickett Road in Fairfax

Fairfax Bakery Bolivian Pan-Latino Empanadas Salteñas Wedding Cakes

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#1 Sundae in the Park

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 11:20 AM

A Bolivan bakery has opened up in my 'hood, replacing the sketchy Asian bakery next to the new Wild Chicken, and got a nice writeup in the WaPo here. The info:

3900 Pickett Rd.
Fairfax, VA 22031
703-978-8021
Tues-Sat:10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sun: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Has anyone gone yet? Can't wait to try it out, especially the saltenas!



#2 DonRocks

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 04:49 AM

A Bolivan bakery has opened up in my 'hood, replacing the sketchy Asian bakery next to the new Wild Chicken, and got a nice writeup in the WaPo here. The info:

3900 Pickett Rd.
Fairfax, VA 22031
703-978-8021
Tues-Sat:10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sun: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Has anyone gone yet? Can't wait to try it out, especially the saltenas!


This is right by W.T. Woodson (Matt's high school, whose Men's Varsity Tennis Team just finished 12-2 and District Runner-Up - congratulations, Matt!), so I'll be there soon enough. Like Pure Pasty Company in Vienna, it's great that Chef Hayes plays around with fusion (see the last paragraph of the Post article), but like Pure Pasty Company, I sure hope they never lose sight of the "traditional" empanada (the traditional is the pasty I order fully 80% of the time I order from Michael Burgess, and is one of the greatest handheld food items I know of (and if you haven't gone out to Vienna to try one, you're missing out in a big way)).

In the past year or two, this formerly uninteresting little strip mall has opened independent Peruvian (Wild Chicken serves anticuchos on weekends), Bolivian, and Ethiopian mom-n-pops, and is now worth knowing about.

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#3 Sundae in the Park

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 08:08 PM

Ooooh, it's good! Very good. The empanada pastry is thinner, but not too thin, and the crust crunches rather delicately. The original (beef, potatoes, onions) is excellent, with ingredients you can actually taste, and the same with the chicken (I had the Santa Fe chicken, with corn and peppers, don't know if they have other chicken empanadas). If anything the fillings are a tich underseasoned, but that is much more easily remedied than being too salty. The deal mentioned in the article (2 empanadas plus a can of soda - they have Inca Cola - for $5.75) is going strong and will leave you fully satisfied. I can attest that you can hike for hours afterwards and not be at all hungry! I also tried the beef saltena - WAIT before biting in, as it really is steaming hot. There were peppers and egg and olives and it was very tasty, also with crust worth eating.

The nice guy behind the counter said that business has tripled since the WaPo article. Behold the power of publicity!

#4 Sundae in the Park

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 10:21 AM

They have a website up! The 2-empanada deal is now $5.95, and you may select from the beef and cheese empanadas, plus a can of soda. Their permanent empanada lineup is now beef, chicken, cheese, pizza, and veggie, and saltenas seem to be available all week long if you call in advance.

#5 hoosiereph

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 11:51 AM

Recently served two dozen terrific empanadas from Dulce at a party. Ordered a mix of flavors: beef, cheese, veggie, and the Santa Fe. All were delicious, and the Santa Fe was an absolute standout. Delicious crust complements the fillings, and they are big enough to be quite filling. Dulce has been sending coupons in one of the local mailers -- like the 2-fer with a Coke, these make Dulce an incredible deal.

Our order was not quite ready at the appointed time, because they were busy with a steady stream of customers on a Sunday morning. We were not as impressed by the alfajores we noshed on while waiting. But we'll definitely be back for more empanadas!

#6 goodeats

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 11:56 AM

Agree on the alfajores--they were not very good. But I am rather sad that Vina's Bakery (the old "sketchy" bakery mentioned above) no longer exists; the Cantonese chef that used to bake the breads was very skilled.
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#7 hoosiereph

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 12:58 PM

On a recent takeout stop, I was surprised to learn that very few customers do what we do: order empanadas "straight from the refrigerator," then cook them at home.  

 

The kitchen will pack them for you with flour and wax paper to keep them from sticking together, then you can pop them in your deep fryer or just brush them with oil and bake 20 minutes at 400, and they come out almost as good as in the bakery.  Great way to enjoy empanadas when you're in the area but it's not the right time to pick them up hot.

 

A couple of menu notes:

 

- They now have Bolivian-style tamales (maybe I just haven't noticed them before, as they were hiding on a shelf below some of the pastries).  Baked rather than boiled, and filled with only cheese and cornbread.  Pretty tasty, but small.  

 

- Whereas empanadas are $3.00 each and $16/half dozen, saltenas are $3.00 each and $17/half dozen.  A mix of empanadas and saltenas is priced at the higher price, naturally.

 

- Dulce has a permanent "deal" on the case of bakery items next to the cash register, including the fruit empanada selections, alfajores, and the aforementioned tamales.  Pick 5 for $5.99 or 10 for $10.99.



#8 DonRocks

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Posted 01 September 2014 - 01:01 PM

After picking up Matt from hanging out with his friends, he said he was hungry (it was around 4 PM), so I asked him if he wanted dinner, or a snack - he waffled, so I pulled into a parking lot, and asked, "dinner at Saba, or a snack at Dulce?" A snack it was, although it turned out to be a pretty burly snack.

 

We originally went in for a couple of empanadas, but I also wanted to try a salteña. Normally $3 each, you can get two, plus a can of soda, for $6, so we went with a Cheese Empanada + Chorizo Empanada + Diet Coke ($6), and Two Chicken Salteñas + Diet Coke ($6), got them to go, and after about ten minutes, they were ready.

 

Eating the salteñas in the car, I warned Matt about possible drippage, and wow, was this warning appropriate. I've had juicy salteñas before, but never anything like these. If you turned them, point down, I'd say they were nearly one-third full with broth, and both of us paid a dear price once we got about halfway into them. 

 

I'm a little surprised these owners are Bolivian because these salteñas were not quite like any I've had. I was grateful that they used dark-meat chicken, but there was no olive (pitted or otherwise), and no egg; just chicken, peas, potatoes - essentially a chicken stew, most likely ladled into the salteña with a lot of juice. The pastry crust was somewhat granular (think shortbread, not croissant), dark in color, and sweeter than normal; the stew used dried, powdered spices that tasted a little cheap (like chili powder), and these salteñas were merely "good," not great.

 

The empanadas had a slightly more appealing crust, but still had that granularity thing going on - the chorizo was pretty well loaded with what almost looked like sloppy Joe meat, and the cheese was Queso Fresco-like with good saltiness and a nice little tang on the finish. I preferred the empanadas to the salteñas, although not by much - they were both well-worth the price. As for the cans of Diet Coke - they found a home in my refrigerator for later consumption.

 

Employees at Dulce are extremely nice, clearly Latino, and putting out a product with love, even if it isn't the Best In Class. Note that they also provide wedding cakes (with enough notice), and have a display case full of interesting treats, including blueberry empanadas. If it's greatness you seek, you'll not find it here, but there's also nothing keeping me from returning.


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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Fairfax, Bakery, Bolivian, Pan-Latino, Empanadas, Salteñas, Wedding Cakes

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