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LeoNora Bakery, Bread Bakery in Arlington - Majority Owners Now the Liberty Tavern Group


DonRocks
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FINALLY!

I was in Arrowine just now buying some cheese. The A-Team was working, with the entire store buzzing due to an expiring Groupon. At the register, I noticed some baguettes in a paper wrapper that looked unfamiliar to me - I grabbed one.

A few moments later, while Perry (our own Beerboy_999) was ringing me up, he turned to a young woman putting baguettes into the baskets, and said, "Do you two know each other?" We both politely shook our heads, no. "Well, you should," he said.

He introduced me to Carolina Garcia, owner of LeoNora Bakery which I didn't even know existed until about 45 minutes ago.

We talked for a few seconds - "I'm not quite sure if this is a baguette or a ficelle," I said. Her friendly smile belied an underlying confidence that cannot be faked. "Yeah, they're a little smaller than what they had before," she replied.

Afterwards, I went and picked up my Muffuletta from The Italian Store, then drove home, threw the bags on the counter, and took out the baguette.

I broke it at about the one-third point, and immediately put it to my nose. My instant impression was, Saltine cracker. I put it down, then took one more whiff, and got the unmistakable scent of long-rising dough. I didn't need to taste it; visually and texturally, I could see that this bread was what I've been searching for. Here it was: finally, a good, locally produced baguette.

The consistency of the bread was outstanding but not flawless - the crust was perfect; the mie could have used about 10% (but no more than 10%) less doughiness - today is a rainy day with 100% humidity, and I'm pretty sure that matters.

Perfection or not, this baguette is all I need to know that LeoNora Bakery is a noteworthy artisan baker, right in the heart of Arlington.

To state the obvious: get them now, before they become too popular, because the quality isn't going to get any better than this.

Cheers,
Rocks

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The website says that they do not have a store front at this time. Where else besides Arrowine do they sell their products?

Check her twitter account. She updates when she makes a delivery to a store.

I was asking if she mentioned a time frame/opening date for the store...or if I had somehow missed it...looking forward to the Gougeres!

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Do you know if the store front is open yet?

The website says that they do not have a store front at this time. Where else besides Arrowine do they sell their products?

Check her twitter account. She updates when she makes a delivery to a store.

I was asking if she mentioned a time frame/opening date for the store...or if I had somehow missed it...looking forward to the Gougeres!

I was in the area of Arrowine this morning and lucked out by meeting Carolina just as she was delivering. She's herculean, beginning the baking at 4 or 5 each morning and then doing her own deliveries. I took two baguettes, both still warm from the oven and tore one open as soon as I got to the car. It was a good tear offering the perfect amount of resistance and yield. It made a bit of a crumbly mess--a good thing. Amazing the crumb from bread without any corn derivatives, stabilizers, or preservatives in it. ;) . Unlike the day Rocks had his initial revelation which started this topic, today was less humid and generally clear.

As good as any baguette I've had in our area and significantly better than...most (maybe all) others? The crust was the perfect combination of crunch, chew and color. Taste very much reminiscent of Parisian boulangeries with perfectly slight salt. Maybe a smidgen more dense with slightly higher moisture than the best in Paris but these are nitpicks for the relative bread desert in which we live. Since they were warm, I took two so I could break another one a few hours later and test with just some butter, some good cheese and, later, a sandwich. Really excellent. Just the lightest wisps of flour on the crust.

Besides Arrowine, she's also stocking Au Domaine in Alexandria and her own store will open in about 3 weeks in Clarendon; I guess just after Thanksgiving based on what she told me. Amazingly, she also delivers virtually anywhere in the greater DC metroplex. Not sure how sustainable those logistics will be but, for now, one can order the day prior (by 3pm) with minimum order size of $30 for delivery the next morning.

Great news for DC area food. "Finally" indeed :)

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Do you know if the store front is open yet?

I walked by this morning and it looked open to me. Folks inside baking and folks walking out with arms full of bread (looking like a wholesale buy). I would call first just in case to make sure they are accepting walk-in trade. The opening is confirmed on their Twitter feed. I would have stopped in but I already had my dough ready to make a rye bread this morning. Next time.

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I stopped by this afternoon and the good folks inside told me they are expanding into the former Tuya's Tailor storefront next door, which has closed and is now empty.  They were a bit unclear on how the plan to use the new space.  With the monstrosity of the The Beacon at Clarendon West looming high overhead as if it wants to swallow the rest of the block whole, it would appear that this stretch of N. Irving Street will have plenty of new hungry residents soon who could use a fine place to sit at a small table and enjoy some excellent breads and pastries.

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I heard it from a friend, didn't want to believe it, and then confirmed it independently: Liberty Tavern bought out much of LeoNora Bakery, and has left Carolina Garcia as a minority owner.

From what I've heard, the quality and consistency of the breads have suffered in recent times.

Just so it's clear how much this hurts, I was the food writer who discovered Ms. Garcia almost four years ago, and I had a *lot* emotionally invested in her success - not her financial success (although I certainly would't deny her that), but her artisan success.

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