Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tartine--je t'aime.

San Francisco Food Review
Their desserts...they could be called crack.  I love Tartine.  It makes all cares vanish, if only for the few minutes it takes to finish one of its desserts. 
Lemon meringue cake.  The bouffant topping has hints of burnt caramel.  
Besides producing eats with illicit drug-like, hallucinatory side effects, here are some other perks about this bakery-nirvana:
  • It's in the Mission
  • It's next to Delfina (out-of-this-world thin-crust pizza)
  • It's a stone's throw from Bi-Rite
  • It's unpretentious and approachable, with a gritty edge
  • It's hybrid French-California (everything is made with tons of butter and cream but with mostly organic and local ingredients!)
  • The chocolate in their pain au chocolat is super dark and superfine
  • Their yogurt is made from whole milk (this is not optimal for health, of course, but it is for taste buds)
  • Their muesli is chunky and chewy and wholesome
  • Everything is SO FRESH
Some selections tried today on this Bay-to-Breakers Sunday:
Meringue. This is light as a feather.  It doesn't break off since it is fresh, so you have to pull it gently to get a piece of it,  and when you do, it crumbles a little.  With slivered almonds and tiny chocolate nibs.
Chocolate croissant (or pain au chocolat). In my review of Tartine two years ago, I raved about this king of croissants.   Superflakey, super buttery, with hundreds of layers and dark, dark chocolate. This is perfection.  Plus, it's beautiful to look at.
And here it is, broken apart.  
Bread pudding - like flan in bread form!
The bread pudding has hunks of strawberries and is topped with a light caramel syrup which ends up getting divinely absorbed by the bread.  It really tastes like flan with a slightly firmer texture! This stuff is impossible to eat this without wearing an expression of glee, or Zen-like calm.  

Confession: I would not order the lemon meringue cake again.  While lemony and gorgeous, it was a bit cloying.  However, any of these other treats mentioned I would order again and again, and expect I would say the same of the other dozens of offerings from Tartine that I have not yet tried.

The "problem" with Tartine of course, is that it can be habit-forming...and if you eat too many of their breads and pastries as I did on this day, you will start to resemble like them.  Whatever. This place is a blessing. 

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