Monday, January 17, 2011

Sweet or Savory?

600 Guerrero Street San Francisco, CA 94110 (MAP) t. 415 487 2600
Monday 8-7 | Tuesday, Wednesday 730-7 | Thursday, Friday 730-8 | Saturday 8-8 | Sunday 9-8

Tartine Bakery and Cafe, located in San Francisco, is featured in this months Martha Stewart Living magazine( on page 112).  I had to go.  Always looking for a reason to visit the city, we were packed and ready to leave the house before 8am.

I felt like a kid again because I was going on a field trip!  It wasn’t just any field trip though; it was a food related field trip.  To me, that was even sweeter.From the time I was a very young child, I have always been able to appreciate a good, quality bakery.  Having a native San Franciscan as a father (and a former hippie), I have memories of hanging out in various cafes, while he read the paper.  Those are fond memories to me, and I enjoy looking back on them.  I still remember hearing the roaring coffee machines as they were drawing out the perfect shot of espresso.
Upon our arrival, we were greeted by a long line of Tartine customers that trailed a ways outside of the bakery. I’m sure the line wouldn’t bother most city dwellers, but with two very active children It was something to think about.  Briefly, I thought about skipping out.  Then, the more sensible side jumped right in line with everyone else.  Up and down the line, the soon-to-be customers were smiling; making small talk about electric cars, converting gas to electric, and some were listening to music to help pass the time.  Nobody seemed to mind the wait.

Here's Ben in line holding Sarah Elizabeth

A few people seemed amused at how Gabriel and Sarah were sitting on the ground and pulling up every rock from under the tree out front.  I was a little shocked myself, but I knew that I couldn’t expect much more of them.  We adults can be pretty boring so they needed something to entertain them.

The glass windows surrounding the cafe are what make the wait all the more fun.  Peering through the window, I can see sifters, colanders, holders of sorts and more.  I am amazed and feel in my element.  Instantly, I picture people hustling around the kitchen whipping up souffles and tarts while using their serious looking equipment.

Just before I enter the café, I draw in a deep, relaxing breath into my lungs and I’m reminded of one of the reasons why I love this city so much.  Within the breath lies rich moisture, covered with tones of espresso and notes of savory butter.  Right about now, I am in heaven.

My heart races, as I finally step foot into the café.  I noticed that Tartine hardly has ample seating room. I begin to worry that we won’t be able to find a place to sit with the children.  Now, at the long display case showcasing what looks like fine jewelry to me, I am overwhelmed by the beauty. To me, it’s bakery bling.  Before I know It, a very trendy and bakery savvy woman is ready to take my order.  Uhhhhhh……I freeze. Briefly, I felt like saying that I’d take a croissant because I knew they’d have those.  Thankfully I didn't and I decided to asked her for some help.  She was very knowledgeable and after collaborating with her I decided to order the coconut cream tart.  For the kids, we ordered the chocolate hazelnut tart.


Before we completed our order, I knew that I’d have to try their coffee.  I ordered a soy cappuccino.  The excellence of this cappuccino lies both in the high quality barista and in their top notch machines.  Loved the cap!

Soy Cappuccino

 Sure enough, the café was too full for us to sit.  With two small children in our arms, and now a bag full of pastries (and a coffee too), we were looking for a place to sit while we indulged in our decadent desserts.  After a few little hiccups along the way, we found Dolores Park.  In the Mission District of San Francisco, this cute little park had a wonderful playground for the kids.  After the long drive and the long wait at the bakery, this was a great way for the kids to let loose.

As the kids played next to us, I opened my bag of pastries. The coconut cream tart (although turned upside) was exquisite.  The fluffy, cloud-like texture of the whipped cream was perfectly sweetened.  The tart shells were beautifully dipped into chocolate and had another caramel layer below that.  Tiny pieces of shaved coconut filled my mouth and I smiled.  For $6.50 I had just purchased my little piece of heaven.

Photo Gallery: Rise and shine: Trip to Tartine Bakery in SF

Sarah and Gabriel are ready to go!
Thanks Ben for driving safely.
Bay Bridge toll
Crossing the Bay Bridge
Gabriel is not too sure about bridges
Getting ready to exit
Navigating our way through the city to find Tartine
Tartine Bakery partial kitchen picture
The bakery bling!
Thanks for visiting Tartine Bakery and Cafe!
Mission District street art
Dolores Park
Back on the road.  Thanks Tartine and bye fog city!
Bon voyage!


The Green Mama said...

Exquisite bakery! I must mention here though that the bakery was not very family friendly. We arrived at 9:45am, just 45min after they opened and there was a looong line and no available seats. Children 5 and up could wait comfortably in line, but before then, hire a baby sitter. Trust me!

Anonymous said...

What a lovely field trip to SF. I hope that Tartine and Dolores Park were not your only destinations in the city.

So it seems that Tartine lived up to its recommendation in Martha Stewart's mag. I dearly love good pastry, as you know, and I was in vicarious heaven looking at the pics inside the place.

Just an aside, The Cafe Mediterraneum on Telegraph Avenue, in Berkeley, with its Italian pastries and real Milanese espresso was the place you referred to in the text above. You always had hot bitter-sweet -chocolate with steamed milk, and a biscotti di Pratto or a cannoli.