Thursday, June 2, 2011

Bayou Bakery Works On Southern Charm In DC

It sounds as though the guys and Dale had a nice relaxing visit to Bayou Bakery.  It makes me want to stretch out and take a little nap myself.

      I read that David Gaus was the runner-up "Best New Chef for the Mid-Atlantic Region" this year in Food & Wine's annual contest.  Sometimes being second means that you try harder.  So, on our recent trip to DC, we wanted to check out his partnership in the form of Bayou Bakery in Arlington, VA.  

Order Line and Counter Space at Bayou Bakery
      It's a storefront located in the Courthouse area of the city.  Nothing fancy on our approach.  We entered a well thought out casual restaurant where you order upfront and find a table or counter space while your order is prepared.  Sounds simple, and it was.  Dale asked for recommendations from the staff member and he suggested the "Muff-a-lotta" sandwich and the daily BLT special.  She and Eric went for the BLT and I chimed in on the Muff-a-lotta.  Beignets are what are well known here, so we placed an order (3 to an order), one for each of us. Eric chose the Coconut Cream Cupcake and I went for the Red Velvet one.

BLT Daily Special
Muff-A-Lotta Sandwich
The sandwiches were all made with very fresh bread – mine on a sesame seed Italian roll and theirs on a baguette.  The ingredients all met with
the freshness of the breads.  Eric especially liked the homemade mayonnaise on the BLT, and he doesn't even like mayonnaise.  I've had better muffuletta sandwiches, but this was a pared down version I found satisfying (not exactly muff-a lotta, as suggested).

Coconut Cream Cupcake
The beignets were larger than I'm used to (the size of a doughnut) and covered with the traditional powdered sugar.  We thought they were light, non-greasy, and very tasty, and we too were covered with powdered sugar after consuming them.  None of us found the cupcakes to be special.  I expected, from their appearance, that I would be begging for more but instead they were bland (especially the Coconut Cream) and not very dense.  

Lounge Area at Bayou Bakery
      The surroundings were like a cleaned up bohemian coffee house.  The lounge area in the rear was likable due to the addition of a flat screen TV showing episodes from the Food Network.  It was a refreshing retreat from the sports bar atmosphere.  There were lots of subtle Bayou touches in the accessories of the space.  You're on your own as far as bussing the tables so don't expect your mama to show up (as the signs will tell you).

      So, now we come to the quandary of whether the pastry chef aptly deserved the runner-up status.  I have mixed feelings on this.  He's cute and full of down-home personality, so I really want to like him and his bakery.  I just expected more from someone who has received some of the highest awards and accolades in the country.  In all fairness, we liked almost everything except the cupcakes.  On the other hand, he's a top pastry chef and because they weren't memorable we, unfortunately, don't have a good enough reason to return when we visit DC again.


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