San Francisco Mission District Bakery Crawl

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2013/03/22 12:57:58 (permalink)

San Francisco Mission District Bakery Crawl

It's a tough job, but someone has to do it!  A baking buddy of mine and I headed for San Francisco's Mission District to check out as many of the bakeries there as possible.  Although we soon discovered that our stomachs were no match for our eyes, we were grateful that baked goods are easy to take home.
First up was Tartine, a bakery/cafe that has become a San Francisco icon.
One must be willing to stand in line for this place.  Thankfully, for us it was only 20 minutes.  Their bread pudding, which varies from day to day, is legendary.  I'm sure if we'd sat in cafe instead of getting it to go, it would have been much better to look at.  Still, it's not bad...

This is made with their house-made bread, and, as you can see, is more of a soft-type of bread pudding--very sensuous.  The brightly flavored berries and creamy pudding were a lovely contrast--a total winner!
We also tried their frangipane tart:

And a ham and cheese croissant that was almost the size of my head:

It was one of the flakiest, most buttery croissants I've ever had.
Just around the corner and down the street is Bi-Rite Creamery (okay--not a bakery, but forgive us for straying!).
They had some of the best ice cream in very fun, creative flavors.   After all the samples, I got a scoop of the brown sugar-candied ginger, and the salted caramel.  Amazing flavors, but not much to look at:

One very cool thing about this place is that if you are interested in a particular sundae but don't know if you'll love it, they'll put all of the components into a spoon and let you try it!  I love this place.
Fully equipped for a bakery crawl, we made our way to Arizmendi Bakery.

Arizmendi is a worker-owned cooperative and is more of a bread-based bakery than desserts, although they certainly have a few of those, too.
Their baked goods were simple--some great, some average, but very "California" with global influences. For instance, here's a vegan curry focaccia:

And a vegetarian pizza with basil pesto, roasted tomatoes, and arugula (I loved this):

We also got a sticky bun:

A bialy:

and a cornmeal cherry scone:

Isn't that enough? 
Nope.  We headed for Dianda's Italian-American Pastry:
It turns out that neither of us loved this place, but I think it has to do with maybe not appreciating Italian pastries in general, though, as this place is very popular!  We skipped all the pastries that had brightly colored frosting on them, and opted for a cannoli and some cookies.


We did notice what we perceived as somewhat "rude" looking pastries (after all this is San Francisco...)

After Dianda's we stumbled upon Mission Pie!  Yes, I'm embarrassed to admit I hadn't mapped this one.
It's a warm, community gathering place with both savory and sweet pies, salads, and sandwiches.  We instantly felt comfy here, and they had free coffee, too.  (Not sure if that's all the time, but it was when we visited.)
We got a potato, fennel, and caramelized leeks tart:

A fig galette:

And a plum frangipane tart:

I loved their beautiful, rustic pastries!
We were ready to pop, so started back to the train station but got lost.  Maybe it was Providence, however, as we ran into another San Francisco icon, and in spite of ourselves, had to stop at Humphry Slocumbe.  There's always room for ice cream, right?
These guys have some very edgy flavors, and after trying several I ended up with:

Yep, it's vanilla ice cream with bourbon and cornflakes in it!  Now, I'm not thinking it's REAL bourbon, but by association, I felt like I was getting tipsy from it.   Very fun and one of their most popular flavors.
So concludes this brief bakery crawl.  We did a lot, but of course, there are many more places and neighborhoods in San Francisco to visit.  And I'd really like to have more people along, so we can try more stuff!  Being as SF is just 25 miles away from me, I'll plan to do more "investigating" in the future.  Bye for now!
post edited by love2bake - 2013/03/22 13:04:42

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