Baker’s Hours

May 28, 2009

San Francisco Foodie Tour: Tartine Bakery & Cafe

signIt always baffled me how the human brain can selectively tune out certain senses when you are immersed in something for too long. When I’m at work, I can never smell those pleasant bakery aromas so walking by or into other bake shops always have a profound effect on my senses. I get so wrapped up in what I’m doing at work at times that I miss the beauty in what I am doing. A picture that I take at work may seem plain and ordinary to me, but someone else looking at that same picture could appreciate its beauty, which always gets a, “You think so?” reaction from me. Going to another bake shop allows me to appreciate some of the things that become “static noise” to me at work. Tartine Bakery & Cafe did not disappoint.

In a non-descript building on the corner of 18th & Guerrero st. was where I started my Bakery Tour of San Francisco. Now, when I say “Non-descript”, I literally mean that the Tartine Bakery & Cafe doesn’t have any signage on the exterior of the building. The only indication of what business lay inside of the building was a little sign appropriately placed near the front door. However, if you didn’t know where this place was, then you would drive right past it. Fortunately for me, I was walking.

As I walked up 18th st. the first thing that I noticed was a row of round tables and chairs outside of a dark green building. The lack of signage outside certainly did not effect business though. There were people sitting in the row of tables out front, enjoying glasses of wine and miscellaneous tasty treats. Upon entering the bakery, I was hit square in the face with a gust of warm air tingled with the smell of baked goods fresh out of the oven.

cookies

Normally, I would have liked to visit Tartine in the morning when all the pastries are first coming out of the oven, but a friend of mine who was also in town for WordCamp was staying in the area, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone. As expected, like any good bakery, by the time that I had gotten to Tartine, in the afternoon, most of the display case was empty, but there was still plenty of goodies to be had. Bags of cookies and macaroons lined the counter. I picked up a bag of chocolate chip cookies. If you want to know how good a bakery is, try the simplest thing. Anyone can do the fancy shmancy stuff because they spend so much time making sure that it comes out perfect. However, sometimes they spend so much time on the fancy stuff that the easy stuff get forgotten about. The cookies were crispy, wafer like. Anyone who really knows me could tell you that I prefer chewy cookies, but I could still appreciate that these cookies were good!

I was fortunate enough to be able to get a Croissant. Granted, it was fresh from the oven, but it was still delicious. Soft, not too flaky (I have it when you bite into a croissant and half the crust ends up either on your shirt or on the table!), but still a nice crust and buttery goodness on the inside.

banana-tart

So, I’m looking in the display case, and the Caramel Banana Cream Tart catches my eye. I make a Caramelized Banana cream pie at work, so I was curious to see another person’s interpretation of the same idea. The tart was available in 10 inch, and individual sizes, but the individual could easily feed 2-3 people. A bargain at $6.35 in my opinion. The tart consisted of a puff pastry shell with dark chocolate brushed on the inside. A common bakery practice that adds flavor and texture while helping to keep the  shell from getting soggy. Next was a layer of caramel, kinda on the runny side, and a A LOT of sliced bananas. There was no mistaking this as anything but a Banana Tart! Topping everything off was a light Chiboust cream (Pastry cream folded with Meringue instead of whipped cream).

With the exception of the caramel being a little burnt, everything about this tart blended together nicely. I loved that every bite had a banana in it. As a matter of fact, you would have to go out of your way to avoid getting a piece of banana. The rich crust and chocolate converse the lightness of the chiboust nicely.

All in all, I found Tartine to be a great bakery and cafe. Probably the best indicator of how great this bakery is was made evident to me as I sat outside after they closed. The disappointment of people coming to Tartine only find that they were too late was almost comical. Almost like a child who drops their ice cream cone. Tartine is definitely a must visit if you are in the city.

Song stuck in my head at the time of this post: You’re Naked Underneath Your Clothes by Jim Page (Thanks a lot Lorelle, I’ve had that song stuck in my head all night!)

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4 Comments »

  1. […] Baker’s Hours AboutDisclaimer!Coming Soon!Blog PlaylistQuotes of the Day « San Francisco Bakery Tour: Tartine Bakery & Cafe […]

    Pingback by Chinatown Photo Walk - Baker's Hours — June 2, 2009 @ 5:01 am

  2. […] Baker’s Hours AboutDisclaimer!Coming Soon!Blog PlaylistQuotes of the Day « San Francisco Bakery Tour: Tartine Bakery & Cafe […]

    Pingback by Chinatown Photo Walk - Baker's Hours — June 2, 2009 @ 5:01 am

  3. […] in the Caramel Banana Tart that I got from the Bakery the day before, the caramel was burnt. Because I got some burnt caramel from both places, I couldn’t tell if […]

    Pingback by San Francisco Foodie Tour: Bar Tartine - Baker's Hours — June 3, 2009 @ 4:55 pm

  4. […] in the Caramel Banana Tart that I got from the Bakery the day before, the caramel was burnt. Because I got some burnt caramel from both places, I couldn’t tell if […]

    Pingback by San Francisco Foodie Tour: Bar Tartine - Baker's Hours — June 3, 2009 @ 4:55 pm


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