Thursday, 31 January 2013 12:00

Food Tartine Bakery, SF’s Not-so-Secret Spot

When I decided to deliciously devour my way through California, I knew I’d be guilty of some serious gluttonous behavior.  Gluttony, for lack of a better word, means excessive indulgence. And when you head to the Mission District’s Tartine Bakery, rest assured, the scrumptious sinning doesn’t stop.

I confess, I knew about this place since summer 2012. During a  weekend visit, a friend from Oakland boisterously proclaimed it to be “like, the best thing. Ever.” A while my interest was peaked, I felt, being the underground savvy woman that I am, that my time should be better spent finding hidden gems, secret spots, and local hangouts. Fast forward to the present day, Manouschka Guerrier – a bonified Bitchin’ chef and friend – asked me to check out a local SF bakery everyone raves about: Tartine Bakery.

Tartine Bakery reminds me of those little French cafe bakeries I used to visit when I was in France, with a little more pep. This pace is BUSY. From what I witnessed, there always seems to be a line and if you find a spot to sit, nab it quickly.

From croissants to coconut cream tarts, they have it all. So much so, that you’ll have trouble deciding what you’d like to try… and finally decide to try as much as your stomach can handle. For us that meant: a double pain au chocolat, pain au jambon, and a gigantic croque monsieur. Oh, and some wine.

Double pain au chocolat

In France they were called chocolatine, and judging from the size of this chocolate croissant I can see why “chocolatine” just wouldn’t do it justice. This flaky pastry is large. And awesome.  This viennoiserie sweet roll is traditionally made form the same stuff as an actual croissant – but it’s stuffed with two pieces of chocolate. Tartine’s fresh double pain au chocolat was flakey, like a puff pastry, warm and buttery. Total decadence.

Pain au jambon

Basically, it’s a croissant stuffed with ham and gruyere. Picture the airy, buttery taste of a fresh croissant, and now add ham, gooey cheese, and feeling wrong but oh-so-right to that.

Croque monsieur

Fun Fact: You’ll never want to eat a mediocre sandwich ever again after you’ve tasted a croque monsieur. Another fun fact? Tartine actual means and open face sandwich and croquet monsieur is just that  – with béchamel, Gruyere, thyme and pepper. It was also topped with smoked Niman Ranch ham and accompanied by a cute carrot. But no one was looking at the carrot. In fact, it could have rolled off the plate for all I cared. The bread is perfectly toasted, crunchy, and colossal. A meal on it’s own, I had to cut in to it with a fork a knife. The taste, similar to that of a perfectly cooked wood burning oven style pizza, is beyond addictive. I was in no way still hungry after both pains, but there I was stuffing my face like a savage koala bear.

After all those carbs, Manoush and I decided that our stomached were coated with enough carbs for an 11:56am glass of red wine. Equally as tasty. The joys of working in the food industry.

See, here’s the thing I learned about secret spots – if they’re as good as Tartine Bakery, the secret’s bound to get out.

Tartine Bakery & Cafe
600 Guerrero Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
Tel: 415 487 2600

By: Angelique Picanco