Tartine Bakery & Cafe, in San Francisco’s Mission district, has 5,600 Yelp reviews and counting. So it doesn’t need any help from me. Still, that many people can’t be wrong, and a Canadian coffee roaster I respect suggested it as the one place I should visit on my road trip down the U.S. west coast.
The line, in mid-morning, is short and fast moving, and I scarcely have time to decide whether to get a buttermilk currant scone or a decadent brioche bread pudding brimming with fresh fruit. Instead, I go with a gorgeous gougere, the light, flaky pastry encasing a soft, croissant-like filling of Gruyere cheese.
I might have to add a 5,601th review.
Tartine co-owner and baker extraordinaire Chad Robertson also has a restaurant, Bar Tartine, and is opening a second bakery, The Manufactory, in the exquisite, historic Heath Ceramic building in San Francisco’s Mission district. It will go well with the funky Blue Bottle coffee kiosk in the same space.
Tartine Bakery & Cafe
600 Guerrero Street, San Francisco
Opens at 7:30 am Tuesday to Friday, 8 am Monday and Saturday, 9 am Sunday. Closes at 7 or 8 pm, depending on whether the moon is full and the mood strikes them. Restaurateurs of the world, can you please think of your poor customers and simplify your hours? Is that too much to ask?
Befitting San Francisco’s socially conscious nature, Arizmendi Bakery is a cooperative. Not content just to produce good scones, muffins and breads (try the cheddar jalapeño breadsticks), Arizmendi, a loose affiliation of various local bakeries under the same name, has a mandate to create a positive workforce and develop skills.
I’m here for the $2.50 slice of the day’s thin-crust lunchtime pizza, which today comprises just three toppings: house-made tomato sauce, tangy goat cheese and fresh basil. There may be fancier creations of chef-driven pizza palaces in San Francisco, but this humble pie hits the spot, and does a world of good.
1286 Valencia Street (and several other area locations)
Weekdays 7 am-7 pm (except closed Tuesday), weekends 8 am-7 pm