Saturday, January 31, 2009

Tartine dreams do come true

It's been over a year since I received the Tartine cookbook as a gift and have been hoping to visit the San Francisco neighborhood bakery. I have toiled away in my studio apartment, attempting to create their Gruyere cheese gougère and fruit galette recipes, but I finally tasted the real thing last weekend.

If you're looking for Tartine, spot it from the line forming outside the door and the pigeons outside competing for the best crumbs in town. In the two hours that I spent enjoying the majesty of the greatest San Francisco treat, there was rarely a moment when the bakery wasn't crowded with its fans.

After visiting a friend in Davis, we made the drive to the bakery and plotted to order an aggressive amount of pastries, an amount fit for a proper Sunday feast. At first, a few friends thought it crazy that we were venturing into San Francisco only as a bakery detour. But if only they had sampled the greatness of Tartine's selections, they would soon discover that San Francisco is much more than a destination for clam chowder, Chinese food, and cable cars.

Among other things, we sampled the artichoke quiche, the sinfully grand bread pudding (made with bananas that day), the croque monsieur, the croissants, morning buns, scones, gougères, and the many, many cups of (free refills) coffee that is nestled in the corner of the bakery. Of course, that didn't stop us from getting meringues, frangipane tarts, hazelnut tarts, mexican wedding cookies, and more to take on the road.

Tartine is the kind of bakery that I only wish existed in Los Angeles, the kind of bakery that makes a city great. Although at one point, the weather started storming on our outside cafe table, I must state for the record that I would gladly endure eating my Tartine croissant in the rain any day, if it meant I could savor the goodness (this statement also applicable to hailstorms, blizzards, hurricanes, tsunamis, etc.).
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