About that visit to Tartine Bakery and Cafe in San Francisco’s Mission/D0lores District, a friend asked, “Was it worth the wait?”
“Without a doubt, 100% yes.”
This is one of those places that gets attention for its immaculately prepared food. Such great attention to detail and expert execution of some of the best pastries and breads in San Francisco (I would argue the West Coast), draws people to the corner of 18th and Guerrero every day. (600 Guerrero Street San Francisco, CA 94110 if you want to map it) every day. It’s been featured in almost every local foodie column or publication of note as well as the New York Times, USA Today and GQ.
You have to try ti when in the Bay Area. If you go, here are five things to know in advance:
It could be 20 minutes or two hours. But, expect a line. During my visit, we arrived about 15 minutes before opening the day after Christmas. There were already 21 people in line ahead of us. No problem though. We expected it and came bundled up to wait in the 50-degree morning temps. Only a certain number of people are allowed through the doors at one time. I happened to be the final person in the first group allowed in after opening on this day.
DECIDE EARLY TO STAY OR GO
Tartine’s is an excellent corner shop. But by my count, it seats about 20-24 inside with a few tables and chair outside. Everyone seemed to do a quick headcount to see if there were enough chairs and tables for the people in front of you. Like hunters scouting the best location, we split up. I snagged a table. My friend went to the line. Luckily, as people filed past the counter or then pay, more than of those ahead of us snagged their goodies in a bag and headed out.
FIRST TIMERS – GET A SAMPLING
Let there be no shame in your game if this is your first trip to Tartine’s. Order multiple items. Share with your friends. Taste as much as you can. Worry about the calories later in the day. Afterall, you wouldn’t want to leave one of the most sought after bakeries in San Francisco and think, “I wish I would have tried that.” Seize the moment…and the pastry!
DEFINITELY, TRY THE PAIN AU CHOCOLAT
I have made these in a cooking school in Paris and have made them at home. Pain au cholocat is no easy task. Layers and layers are fluffy buttery dough is the goal that so often fails by way of a “it’s pretty good” attempt. But these, these are something. The outer crust is so brown and flaky is falls off at the touch. The layers of dough are spread apart as if clouds meandering through your pastry with buttery goodness seeming to ooze from every bite. The perfectly melted chocolate is a wonderful payoff. If you can’t tell, I really like these. 🙂
CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF
As a newbie to a city (or even a tourist), sometimes you never know the protocol. In this place, you’re expected to wipe down your table of all of those flakes from the pastries you just inhaled and return your plates to the bin tucked on a back shelf. Don’t be rude. Do what your momma taught you anyway. Clean up your mess.
THE “EXPERIENCE REVIEW” SLIDESHOW
By Jeff Parsons – Food blogger, photographer and editorial content manager.
WHAT ARE “EXPERIENCE REVIEWS” The goal of our posts is to offer you insight into what you may see, hear and experience when visiting an eatery. We’ll never question how the food was prepared. Great chefs know their foods well and know how they want it prepared. We’ll only ever comment on our reaction to the tastes and flavor if at all. Our goal is to create the “experience” for you before you book a table or stop by.
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