If there was only one thing I could choose to do on my recent trip to San Francisco, it would be a visit to TARTINE BAKERY & CAFÉ in the Mission District. After a turbulent, longer-than-expected flight into SFO Saturday night, the hassle of renting a car and driving in the pouring rain at 2 a.m., and finally reaching the hotel and crawling into bed at 3:00 in the morning, TARTINE was still the first thing on my mind Sunday morning.
When approaching the bakery, located at 600 Guerrero Street, what I immediately noticed (besides the line of people out the door and down the street) is that TARTINE has absolutely no signage on the building; a strong testament to what awaits you inside.
I had a long time to peer into the kitchen and bakery-café while waiting outdoors.
I'm certain the clientele would have preferred to eat their breakfast without a camera lens pointing through the window at their dishes, but I couldn't resist.
And you would think that with all the time I had to view the sweet and savory pastries that passed by me, read the menus stacked by the front door, and stand in front of the display case for what seemed an eternity, I would know exactly what I wanted to order... but, I didn't. My first impulse was to ask for one of everything!
In addition to a chocolate croissant and a bag full of small sweets to take with us, my daughter and I chose to share this chocolate and banana cream tart with a thin layer of caramel. That was a mistake; I could have eaten it all by myself. I'm still thinking about the rich flavors and textures. In addition to the pastry, I also had a cappuccino. What I immediately thought on that first sip was... it's rare to get both pastry and espresso at the same place that are so good. My experience has been, it's usually one or the other. I was totally hooked! That first visit to TARTINE forced me to insist that my husband take me back one more time when we returned to San Francisco for a day at the end of our weeklong visit to northern California. That second time, I didn't expect to see a line of people again, out the door and down the street at 2 o'clock in the afternoon; but there was, and I happily stood alongside, excited to be there again so soon.
TAKE a LOOK: