Some time ago, a NYC artist turned baker opened up his own artisanal bakery in the old Brennan's Bakery space on Belle View Boulevard in Alexandria. The old Brennan's sign is still there. The bakery features enormous crusty loaves, each one enough to feed an army by the look of them, and most of them the price you'd pay for one medium loaf at a Farmer's Market. He also makes sandwiches, sweets, and displays his art on the walls (mostly excellent abstract expressionism).
The sandwich I had was a special soy and sesame marinated steak and slaw on a sesame seed baguette. Normally I am not fond of baguette sandwiches; authentic baguettes are kind of hard on the jaw for a good sloppy filling. But these baguettes had just the right touch to make them delicious and manageable. The ingredients were first rate.
I also got a huge ciabatta for $5 to take home. Beautiful, very crusty and super textural. A salty caramel brownie was of the 'double chocolate' variety, an entirely dense and dark chocolate fudge which was intense.
One bread he makes look just like a massive section of a tree trunk. He sells the whole thing for $40, or for $12 they cut off a 'chunk.' It looks very tempting.
This is quite simply one of the great bakeries in the area. An address you should know.
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