Wednesday, March 07, 2007

In Line at Tartine Bakery

I'm surprised that while I was living in San Francisco, I never went to the Tartine Bakery. I guess maybe it was because it's on Guerrero Street, which to me is like in between the Mission and Castro and no where near the bus line. But when I saw the beautiful cookbook that came out around Christmastime, my interest was piqued to find out what this bakery had to offer.

So this past Saturday, I went over to the Mission to visit this popular bakery. I arrived to see a line snaking out around the entrance of the tiny bakery. OK, really. Do I have to stand in line for just a slice of passion fruit lime bavarian cake!? Since I didn't have anything better to do and I caught the BART all the way to the city from Rockridge, stand in line I did. Below is my recap of how I spent 25 minutes of my life this past Saturday at the Tartine Bakery.

By the way, I got a slice of the bavarian cake (pictured above) along with a slice of the almond lemon pound cake, and yes, it was soooo worth standing in line for 25 minutes. The passion fruit cake was so moist and gave this slightly tart kick that was so original, it was amazing. (I could have done without the coconut flakes on the exterior, though. I just don't get it.) And the almond pound cake was soooo almond-tasting I felt like I was eating a Chinese almond cookie, but in a flaky bread form. So luscious. Tartine Bakery is definitely a place to visit, MUNI lines be damned!

12:55 p.m.-- I arrive at Tartine Bakery and Cafe to find this line already forming outside. What? Is everyone having a late lunch?

1 p.m. -- This is when I finally inch toward the front sign where I can now find out that, yes, the bakery is open. Also, they make their bread Wednesdays through Sundays but they don't come out of the oven until after 5 p.m. Hmmm, I guess no bread for me.

Who's Carl? I saw this right at the entrance. I wonder if there used to be a diner here before the bakery named Carl's Diner? I like how they've kept up the past decor.

1:05 p.m.-- Yes, I finally get inside the cafe and bakery, where there are just a few tables of people enjoying lunch and baked goods. Cool art.

1:08 p.m. -- I reach the counter where I can begin to contemplate what I want to purchase. The first thing I see are these Scharffen Berger Chocolate puddings. Everyone loves to cook with Scharffen Berger chocolate, huh?

These "rochers" are meringues with coco ribs. They're only 40 cents each. Not bad pricing, but I have to admit they look a bit odd. Like droppings, if you know what I mean.

More from the glass counter, these are the refrigerated items like lemon tarts and coconut creme tarts. I have to decide soon!
The cafe sells pressed sandwiches that looked de-leee-cious! They were grilled and pressed and panini-style that was so tempting. Unfortunately, I already ate lunch before I got to the bakery so...

1:11 p.m. -- I put in my order for my passion fruit lime bavarian cake (just a slice because I'm the single guy) and I go for a slice of almond lemon pound cake. No cookies for me.

1:14 p.m. -- I reach the register and pay about $7 for my two items. Where's the tip jar?

1:16 p.m. -- It takes me a good two minutes just to weave myself through the maze of customers inside to finally get outside with my slice of cake (one boxed and one packaged). It's off to the BART for me and home where I can enjoy these treats sitting down. The line disappeared while I was standing in it, but then a second wave came around by the time I left. Everyone wants their Tartine treats!


Passionate Eater said...

Wow, 25 minutes is dedicated, but it appears that it was worth it!

Chef Ben said...

Yes, it was worth it. Now, 45 minutes would have been another story. ;-)

Eric said...

Chef Ben, thanks for the detailed minute-by-minute photo description. Oddly enough, my experience at Tartine on a weekend afternoon was almost identical :)

I was sort of confused by your comment about Tartine being inaccessible by Muni, though. There are several lines (14, 22, 26, 33, 49, and the J-Church) that put you within 2 blocks of the bakery.

Chef Ben said...

Yes, Eric. I was spoiled living in San Francisco. Where I lived, I had several buses that stopped in front of my building. It was super convenient. So I guess in my mind I never ventured out to Tartine because the lines never connected easily toward Guerrero and in my mind two blocks were too way out of the way! But yes, this past Saturday I caught the J-Church and walked to the bakery. I should note that there are other "destination" food things near Tartine, including Delfina and Bi-Rite, so it's not like you can't check out other fun food things after standing 25 minutes in line. :)

Eric said...

It's true, that block is a bit of a foodie block, isn't it?

Ahhh.... OK, that makes more sense then, the bit about Muni. After all, Muni is so slow, who could blame you for not having the patience to take more than one bus to get there? :)

Anonymous said...

Love the photo essay style of this entry...would love to see more of this kind of's like I was with you at the bakery! -- David

Passionate Eater said...

Thanks for your inspiration with this post, I just visited Tartine Bakery today and snuck into Pizzeria Delfina and Bi-Rite too. You gotta try the ice cream at Bi-Rite's creamery across the street! It goes well with the dessert at Tartine. Also, although I've been quiet with the commenting I've been reading your site religiously. Delicious posts Chef Ben!

Chef Ben said...

Yes, I was tempted by Bi-Rite's creamery a few yards away when I last visited Tartine. But I'm going to wait till the weather gets a bit warmer. I don't know how people eat ice cream on cold days. I'm glad these posts are getting you out to try things!

bea at La tartine gourmande said...

I love my time there! I wish I had one close to where I live too.