Tartine Bakery: Sweet, Savory + Buttery Trappings of Success

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Bakery San Francisco

Tartine Bakery has never had a sign, but still draws lines.

The James Beard Foundation recently confirmed what San Franciscans already knew. Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson, who co-own Tartine Bakery in the Mission District, are the most Outstanding Pastry Chefs in the nation.

The duo’s green hued bakery doesn’t have a sign, but that doesn’t stop perpetual lines from forming. Luckily, the line moves fast. Even if the line were molasses slow, it would still be worth the wait.

Bakery San Francisco

Every swath of display case has the power to seduce, including chocolate chip cookies, lemon bars with brown butter crusts, friands topped with ganache and Mexican wedding cookies. Tartine also displays a dazzling array of cakes and tarts.

Many customers order a scoop of brioche bread pudding with fresh fruit and caramel. The top shelf also holds scones, fresh fruit tarts and Tartine’s famous morning buns.

Tartine’s pastries are incredible, no doubt, but we were most looking forward to their pressed sandwiches, which are only available after noon. We arrived after 2 PM, so there shouldn’t have been a problem, but there was. The counterwoman said the sandwich maker was overwhelmed and was freezing orders for 30 minutes. That’s unacceptable. Tartine Bakery has been open for years and it’s perpetually crowded. They should be able to handle a rush at this point.

Bakery San Francisco

We settled for a Croque Monsieur ($9.25) an open-faced sandwich made on a thick slice of Tartine’s country bread, topped with béchamel, caramelized onions, Gruyere and sliced tomato.

The monsieur is available with either smoked ham, fromage blanc, shiitake mushrooms or spicy turkey. We opted for smoked ham. It was a very good sandwich, but when the counterwoman reheated our Monsieur, she burnt the edges of the bread so it wasn’t quite as soft as it could have been.

Bakery San Francisco

Tartine’s Morning Bun ($2.75), flavored with orange and cinnamon, is caramelized on outside, with flaky pastry and a sweet core.

Many other Bay Area bakeries have imitated Tartine’s morning bun, but none have achieved such pastry perfection.

Croissant San Francisco

Tartine was sold out of their famous chocolate croissants, but the “plain” Croissant ($2.75) was still stellar, crispy outside, buttery and moist inside.

Bakery San Francisco

Tartine sold slabs of several breads, including lemon poppy seed and this moist zucchini bread with walnuts and tart candied kumquats.

Tartine Bakery is so successful that they usually sell out of something terrific. Unlike lesser bakeries, they’re always ready with options that are nearly as tempting. Sure we didn’t get our sandwiches or chocolate croissant, but what we did buy was still excellent.


Joshua Lurie

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

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[…] of foodie sailors traversing the world of the gourmet. This week I swoon my turn to the world of Tartine in SF, whose tasty morsels of baked chocolate croissants and blackberry tarts make the mouth water. […]

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