Thursday, September 3, 2015

Harmony Bakery Review

Gluten-free bakeries are an oasis for us gluten-free folks where we can once again revel in window shopping fresh baked goods that are actually safe to eat. Here in Baltimore, I have been spoiled by several excellent local bakeries, but was really excited to welcome Harmony Bakery as the area's newest bakery. 

While not new to me, as I have been a patron of Harmony Bakery at the Saturday morning Waverly Street Farmers' Market, I was ecstatic to learn of the opening their new Hampden brick and mortar location last spring. Unfortunately, I was not able to make it out there before the semester ended, but definitely placed the bakery high on my must-do list for the current semester. 

A recent visit from my mom proved to be the perfect opportunity to check it out, as she loves exploring around the city's locally owned restaurants as much as I do. 

Harmony is a 100% gluten-free establishment, and offers an array of dairy-free, vegan options. Note that some offerings do contain dairy, so make sure to ask staff members to help you navigate the delicious array of options. The day I went, there were only two containing items. All sweet treats are vegan, so if you you are avoiding dairy or eggs, feel free to indulge all you want in their dessert options. Because Harmony Bakery relies on seasonal ingredients, the menu changes daily, which adds excitement with each visit.



Since I stopped in around lunchtime, I wanted to stick around to enjoy lunch because the atmosphere is really warm and welcoming in the bakery. After checking out the bakery case, I decided to try one of their seasonal tarts: mushroom and caramelized onion. While I've tried many delicious gluten-free dishes, this one easily made its case to earn my regard as one of the delicious dishes I've ever tried- gluten-free or not. The pie crust-like dough was perfectly savory and achieved a perfect balance of chewy and flaky. The interior was a delicious savory symphony of flavors, including mushroom, sweet caramelized onions, herbs, and aleppo pepper. I was incredulous that the tart was made without gluten or dairy, and sorely regretted not taking a second one home with me the next day.



I also eyed the seasonal salads, so my mom decided to order a trio of the day's offerings to allow me to sneak a few bites. The trio included that salad, the seasonal kale salad, and pesto zoodle salad, which was special of the day. I loved the kale salad, with its red cabbage, seeds, and tangy dressing. I also liked the quinoa salad, which featured arugula, carrot, and a citrusy dressing. Of the three, my least favorite was the quinoa zoodles, but just couldn't quite cut it against the other two.



Because no bakery visit is complete without a sweet treat, I decided to take home an apple tart to enjoy later. The dessert was an absolute delight, as the pie crust dough achieved the perfect taste and texture I thought was achievable with gluten-free flour. The apple filling was simple and cinnamon-y without being too sweet. This tart would steal the spotlight at any fall gathering, and I hope to be able to nab another one while they are still in seasonal rotation! 




Last but not least are the half dozen of bagels I preordered in anticipation of my visit. I ordered two each of three bagel flavors: everything, plain, and chocolate chip. When toasted, the dough circles transformed into a delightful breakfast (or dessert option). The dense interior is chewy, but achieves a nice crusty outside with toasting. The plain bagels are verstile and "whole grain" tasting, perfect for pairing with cream cheese. The everything bagels feature onions and other fragrant spices. The chocolate chip add a note of decadence to the bagel eating experience, which makes them a perfect dessert. 



Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed everything I tried at Harmony Bakery and am eagerly awaiting my next visit (hopefully sometime soon). The environment is really rejuvenating, and has a vibe that had me wanting to linger and enjoy the moment with my mom. The staff were all friendly and helpful, and the food was simple and good. I love finding places like Harmony that make being a gluten-free blogger totally worth it. Definitely add this one to your "must try" list if you are ever in or around the area. 


The Basics

Address: 3446 Chestnut Ave, Baltimore, MD 21211
Cuisine: Seasonably inspired food and baked goods
Ideal For: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Price: The mushroom tart was $6, the bagels were $2.50 each, other prices varied.
Accessibility: Not easily wheelchair accessible. Front step.
Special Feature: Call ahead to request baked goods in advance. Find Harmony at the Waverly/32nd St Farmers Market on Saturday Mornings. 

Disclaimer: This review is based upon the information I have at the time of the review and does not reflect changes in ingredients or availability of items. Please contact the restaurant directly for up-to-date information and feel free to contact me with any questions or comments. I was not compensated for this review and it is a reflection of my personal opinion.


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