On this nondescript corner sits my favourite bakery in San Francsico, the Tartine Bakery. I discovered it during my visit to San Francisco last summer. On this recent trip, I manged to hit Tartine Bakery three times. Tartine Bakery is located in the Mission District of San Francisco. One of the nice things about Tartine is that it is in fairly close proximity to Twin Peaks. On two of the occasions, we got our order to go and drove up to Twin Peaks to soak in the view and enjoy the baked goodies.
On the first visit, we picked up a slice of the Coconut Passion Fruit Bavarian ($5.50) and a small Chocolate Hazelnut Tart ($6.25). The Coconut Passion Fruit Bavarian is one of my favourite items at Tartine. It consists of lime-moistened genoise between layers of passion fruit Bavarian and is topped with sweetened cream and coconut. We discovered it for the first time on our trip to Tartine last summer. I would say that this slice ranks as one of the best desserts I’ve ever eaten. I love the moistness and softness of the genoise cake together with the vibrant tropical flavours of the passion fruit and coconut. To me, it’s a taste of heaven in every bite! The Chocolate Hazelnut Tart had a Valrhona chocolate filling and was topped with toasted hazelnuts. I liked that the chocolate filling was rich but not overly heavy or sweet. The toasted hazelnuts gave the tart a nice crunch and punch of nuttiness in every bite. The Chocolate Hazelnut Tart was delicious and I wouldn’t hesitate to order it any day, but when put side by side next to the Coconut Passion Fruit Bavarian, I think it is the less memorable of the two.
On our second visit, we picked up an Eclair ($4.95) and a Double Pain au Chocolat ($4.25). The Eclair was filled with pastry cream and covered in a Valrhona chocolate glaze. Normally, I’m not even a fan of eclairs but this one really wowed me. The pastry cream filling was rich yet very light. The choux pastry was perfectly light and soft and not soggy. The rich chocolate glaze was bold and contrasted nicely with the delicate flavour of the pastry cream. This Eclair has become my other favourite item at Tartine. Now I’m not sure which I like more the Eclair or the Coconut Passion Fruit Bavarian. If you are a fan of eclairs, this is a must try! Interestingly though, the Double Pain au Chocolat (chocolate croissant) is actually my least favourite item of the things that I’ve tried at Tartine. I had high hopes as there are rave reviews about it and it was featured on one of Food Network’s Best Thing I Ever Ate episodes. I liked that the croissant was very flaky and had tons and tons of layers. However, I wished the croissant was more crispy overall. I found the middle layers, though flaky and light to be too rich. I really wanted to love it but I didn’t.
On my third visit, I finally got to try the Morning Bun ($3.75). I had read about the Morning Bun a lot as it is often listed on San Francisco’s Top 100 Things to Try Before You Die. The Morning Bun is made with buttery croissant dough woven with cinnamon and orange zest and coated in sugar. Unlike the Double Pain au Chocolat, I loved the Morning Bun because it was a lot crispier but still flaky and light. I could taste both the cinnamon and orange zest in every bite. As simple as it may seem, it goes really well together with a cup of good coffee.
It’s probably a good thing that I don’t live in San Francisco. Otherwise, I’d be at Tartine all the time. The prices are a little bit on the expensive side but I do think it is well worth it as all the pastries and cakes are made with care using quality ingredients. To me, a trip to San Francisco is not complete without a visit to Tartine Bakery.
Tartine Bakery & Cafe
600 Guerrero Street
San Francisco, CA 94110