Baker & Banker Bakery [CLOSED]

Pastry San Francisco


Given the track record of the bygone Pacific Heights apothecary, we probably should have visited Baker & Banker Bakery sooner. The one-time home to The Meetinghouse and Quince now houses Lori Baker and Jeff Banker’s two-pronged establishment. On Octavia Street, they run a lauded, upscale restaurant, and around the corner on Bush Street, the pastry chef, with the apropos name of Baker, helms a bakery, which supports the restaurant with bread and desserts, and delivers some of the best pastries in San Francisco.

Enter the tiny, bustling space and find a blackboard to the door of the walk-in. They list the panini of the day, which during our first visit consisted of smoked turkey with Gruyere, whole grain and mustard; and fig jam with white cheddar and arugula. They also bake breads, which might include poppyseed challah, baguette and French country.


On our first visit, the counterwoman suggested the cinnamon roll, saying, “That icing is really a spiritual experience and not to be missed.” She was right about the roll ($4.50), which had supple, pull-apart coils, cascading brown butter icing, and nearly had us seeing stars.


This might be sacrilege to say in a city that also houses Tartine Bakery, but we actually prefer Baker & Banker Bakery’s Morning Bun ($3.50), which skipped the citrus entirely and leaned more on the flaky, sugar-lined crust, which wasn’t dry in the least.


Pizza Foccacia ($4.50) sported thin, crisp discs of pepperoni, molten mozzarella and zesty tomato sauce. The airy slab had a crisp, fairly greasy bottom that was a good contrast.

On our second visit, we were hoping to snag another cinnamon roll, but you have to be an early riser to pull off that feat. Instead, we more than made due with remaining pastries, snagged the only sidewalk table, and rested plates on marble in the sun.


Almond Brioche Toast ($2.75) was nice and buttery, with a shiny, marzipan-crusted cap lined with almond scales and sides that were browned and crisp.


Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie incorporated more of Baker’s secret ingredient – brown butter – and had a welcome hit of sea salt. The texture was near ideal, not too soft or crispy.


Peanut Butter Bar ($3.50) was the only pastry we questioned. The thick hearty slab had a thick base with a drier, halvah-like texture that supported a generous layer of chocolate.


Four Barrel is one of our favorite coffee roasters in San Francisco, and they brew Four Barrel in vac pots at Baker & Banker, but we got unlucky with our pour of El Salvador Metapan la Luna ($1.50). We clearly got the dregs based on our muddy cup. To increase your odds at caffeinated success, it might be a good idea to ask when they brewed the vac pot, or to order an espresso drink instead on their two-group La Marzocco.

Even after two visits, we still craved more baked goods from the glass case, including Lori’s Killer Banana Bread Pudding with caramel, and of course those tempting sandwiches and breads. Next time, we’ll be sure to load up for the road.

Address: 1701 Octavia Street, San Francisco, CA 94109
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Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

#bamfest
Went here on your recommendation, while on a walking tour. Got a triple chocolate cake, so good, three layers, choc cake, ganache, and flourless cholcolate cake. Fantastic

You captured some of the highlights of this gem of a bakery. Everything is amazing. And, I thought the peanut chocolate bar was scrumptious but I love that combo! Nice review!

Jane,

It was tempting to buy a tube of cookie dough and eat it bit by bit on the drive between San Francisco and L.A. Great bakery. Have you eaten at the Baker & Banker restaurant before? If so, is it just as good?

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