Baker’s delight, San Francisco

As part of my trip around San Francisco, one thing that cropped up whilst doing the research was the quality of the bakeries the city has. With only a short amount of time we had to be selective and stick to a couple, ones that were in areas covered on our itinerary. One of these I’d highlighted was much lauded Tartine Bakery, but Sarah from Noisette Bakehouse also mentioned Craftsman and Wolves too. 

We first visited Tartine Bakery on the first full day of our stay, heading to the Mission district we’d already stuffed our faces with a delicious empanada and a mahoosive burrito, so when we finally got there we weren’t hungry, can you believe it!!! Just having a couple of cold drinks to quench our thirst, envious of the food everyone else was eating. A sweet treat lovers paradise, the place has a busy atmosphere with the bakery adjoined, you can see them at work from the street and inside the cafe. A landmark bakery that’s hugely popular, possesses no need for signage and regularly has a long queue wrapped around the building, something akin to what’s seen outside Bettys  Cafe Tea Rooms in Harrogate. 

On display were some beautiful cakes and tarts, such as the lemon meringue (lemon-moistened genoise layered with caramel and lemon cream, all topped with meringue peaks), passion fruit lime bavarian (lime-moistened genoise with passion fruit Bavarian, topped with sweetened cream and coconut) and chocolate hazelnut tarts, then there were the croissants…ahhh the list goes on and on…!!

Firstly apologies for the quality of the photos, many were taken in a very busy queue and most of the items were behind glass!

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We couldn’t leave San Francisco without trying again, as it worked out we’d planned to visit the Castro district on our last half day, with the Mission district being next door it worked out perfectly! But, as expected, there was a queue (shown in the photo) so we walked down the street to the other bakery on our hit list – Craftsman and Wolves.

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Craftsman and Wolves is known for being a contemporary patisserie, also found in the Mission district. I soon realised why my friend Sarah had pointed me in its direction, as it’s just full of so many inventive delights such as Yellow corn, stone fruit and basil scone or their Strawberry, banana and cornflake muffin! Their Cube Cakes were beautifully delicate and very hard to resist. Wanting to have a little something I decided on a Morning bun, whilst my friend had heard The Rebel Within was a bit special so went for that. 

The Rebel Within is a stroke a genius! I suppose we’d compare it to a scotch egg,  it was like a breakfast muffin, consisting of Asiago and Parmesan cheese, Easton’s breakfast sausage, scallion (spring onion), soft cooked Tomatero farm egg. Cooked to perfection, it was perfectly moist, the egg was runny in the middle and the white was just cooked, brilliant!

My Morning bun wasn’t as rock ‘n’ roll, but still extremely tasty made with créme fraîche, grains of paradise, muscovado morning bun. I had no idea what grains of paradise were, but a quick nosey on the web said it was a spice with a peppery and citrusy flavour. Also possessing properties which help with digestion.

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OK, so back to Tartine bakery, we joined the queue and had our fingers crossed there’d be a couple of free seats, so we could eat and devour some more sweet treats. Luckily, I managed to literally nab two as a couple were leaving, meaning my friend had to call out to me the choices. Now I’m not really a fan of nuts, too much chocolate and banana, but I love sharp fruit so she selected a tart topped with raspberries. Sounded like a winner!

The photos don’t do them justice as they both looked so lovely and delicate. The sweet pastry cases were mega thin and utterly perfect. Mine had a delicate cream topped with fresh raspberries and blackberries and was stunning. Whilst Lucy’s went for a Lemon Cream Tart, with a sweet pastry case filled with lemon cream and topped with unsweetened cream. Heavenly!

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Those San Franciscans are very lucky people having these bakeries!! For those of you who’d like to find the best sweet treats in Leeds and the West Yorkshire area, you’d be very hard pushed to find better than at Sarah Mather’s Madeleine Express, her bakes have had people, including me on the verge of a head-spin for a while, they are so good!! She’s currently trading at Trinity Kitchen, Leeds till the end of August!

Tartine Bakery & Cafe – 600 Guerrero Street, San Francisco, CA 94110 
Craftsman and Wolves – 746 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110 

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