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Monday, September 6, 2010

Tartine Bakery

600 Guerrero St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 487-2600

I first heard about Tartine on the Food Network where they were showcasing their Double Pain au Chocolat. I read about the husband and wife team of Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt and was impressed by their extensive experience, not to mention the natural intrigue of their training in France.

(line about 30 minutes after opening time)

We arrived a few minutes after opening time and there was already a line out the door, albeit a steadily moving one. Our original plan was to try three or four pastries. I’m not sure what happened to that plan. Either impulse set in with the smell and sight of the pastries in full view teasing for a new home or maybe we grew hungry waiting for almost 10 minutes to get to the front of the line. As expected the seating was limited; by the time we ordered the only area available was the standing counter in clear view of the passing line outside. We placed our six pastries, each a meal in itself, on the counter knowing we still had two savory treats coming from the kitchen. I must say our gluttony may have stirred a little bit of awkwardness. One can only imagine the conversations being had outside, “Hey Becky, come look at what this fat ass ordered!”

The rundown

$3.50 Gougere (6)
Although it looked grand and had a decent flavor. I find that the smaller counterparts have a more intense cheese distribution.

$3.75 Morning Buns (4)
I'm not sure why we choose this one. It's made with their croissant dough, but the light sugary topping was not pronounced enough to compliment the dough.

$4.95 Eclair (10)
Pure heaven. Just look at how much vanilla custard filling is inside this thing. It's finished with a glaze of Valrhona chocolate.

$4.25 Frangipane Croissant (7)
Tartine's take on frangipane, or almond pastry. While this one was very good, I can't say I crave it.

$3.50 Small Bread Pudding (8)
Great quality bread pudding. Fairly simple with fresh ingredients. That seems to be the theme at Tartine.

$4.25 Double Pain au Chocolat (6)
I had high expectations for this pastry since it was the first one that attracted us to the bakery. While the croissant was light and flaky, I didn't find that the chocolate melted well enough into the buttery croissant.I would have preferred a plain version to the Pain au Chocolat.

$4.75 Ham & Cheese Quiche (8)
Quiche has its limitations, but this one shined through with quality ingredients. It was heightened with Niman smoked ham and crème fraiche.

$9.75 Croque Monsieur (10)
Open face sandwich with béchamel, gruyere, thyme and pepper topped with smoked Niman Ranch ham. What an ending to the meal, it's the simple comfort food that we seem to remember most. Just bread, béchamel, cheese, and ham, but the quality of the components were excellent and came together beautifully. The best croque monsieur I have had to date.

I got a copy of the Tartine Bakery cookbook when we got back to Los Angeles and can’t wait to try a few of the pastries we had, maybe this holiday season. I only wish they had their recipe for the croque monsieur in there.


  1. I didn't see a plain croissant mentioned above. You should definitely try the plain croissant at Cafe Besalu on your upcoming trip to Seattle. You can try other pastries as well, but for the ultimate test, the plain croissant can't be missed.

    According to your blog, your home city is Hollywood, California. Is this correct? I’m a Los Angeles area native, moved to the Seattle area in 1972 and happily stayed there for 21 years. I returned to the Los Angeles area in 1993, living in San Pedro and working in Hollywood, until I retired in 2008. In the very early days of Chowhound, shortly after it was launched in the late 1990s, Jonathan Gold and I were the two of the most prolific contributors to Chowhound’s Los Angeles board. My Chowhound posts now come in spurts, one of which coincided with your post on Chowhound about your trip to Seattle. There’s much I miss about the food scene in Los Angeles. See “I miss Los Angeles” at

    Tom Armitage

  2. I tried it on the way back from a recent Napa trip. I don't really post much on this blog. Unfortunately, I have a job and that takes precedence.

    Yeah, Hollywood. LA has a wealth of great and diverse food options. As much as I love to travel and try food in other cities, I still appreciate all places in LA. I lot of small names and big names and great Mexican food. I do find our Asian food overrated or maybe it just needs a more acquired taste.