No bakery fans can ever leave San Francisco without a visit to the esteemed Tartine Bakery. We arrived at 5:15pm and though that wasn't considered prime time for a visit to a bakery, people were standing in line to purchase Tartine Bakery's freshly baked goods. Surely there was a reason why this place won the coveted James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef. Any pastry chef today who owns their own other bakery take pride in having previously worked at Tartine Bakery.
Tartine Bakery specializes in freshly baked bread ranging from rye, sesame, sourdoug, etc. Since it was the weekend of Halloween, pumpkin bread was also available. These breads were sold in big loaves and people were buying them whole to bring home. Surely this would be our go-to place for fresh loaves of bread if we lived in San Francisco.
Tartine Bakery also offers a great selection of tarts, pies, scones, cookies, and croissants. As we stood in line and were inching closer to the counter to place our order, we no doubt got a little excited and couldn't decide what we should order. The friendliest gentleman, Thomas, in front of us most probably heard our discussion and proceeded to ask if we had been to Tartine Bakery (it was our first time), and then proceeded to recommend us the bread pudding. When he told us that he and his wife drive all the way from Oakland every weekend just to get the bread pudding, we were sold on getting that. After we paid and stepped out of the bakery, we had a long chat with Thomas and his wife and instantly got a long list of dining recommendations from them. It did not take us long to realize that they were foodies like us, as well. T and I had just flew in to San Francisco that day and meeting locals like them on our first day was the perfect way to set off the tone of our trip.
As much we would have love to dive into the bread pudding right away, we saved it for breakfast the next morning as we promptly headed to our dinner reservation at Saison that evening. It did not matter that we ate the bread pudding the next morning. It was absolutely perfect and really the best bread pudding I have ever eaten. I am generally not a fan of bread pudding and it would not be my top choice in ordering it but I trusted Thomas' recommendation when I realized he was a foodie himself. He was right. Topped with raspberries, the bread pudding was soft and fluffy, unlike any of the dense and heavy ones I have had before. Tartine Bakery changed my impression on bread pudding.
The brioche bread with orange liqueur and frangipane cream and topped with almonds was another of our favorite.
Tartine Bakery made us a little jealous that Chicago does not have a stronger bakery culture. The next time we are flying out to San Francisco, Tartine Bakery will find us there again.
600 Guerrero Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
2008 James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef
2007 James Beard Nominee for Outstanding Pastry Chef
2006 James Beard Nominee for Outstanding Pastry Chef