Tartine Bakery, San Francisco

If you live in San Francisco, you probably heard about an amazing little bakery in the Mission district, always packed with lines out the door. And if you are like me (doesn’t like standing in line for a croissant), you may have ignored it so far. I did, until the day I watched Mark Bittman award Tartine the title of “best scone in the world”. It was time to face the crowds.

One morning I took a detour in my commute to stop at the bakery. It was about 7:35am when I gave up finding street parking and decided to partly block a driveway with my parking lights on (the official sign of I’ll be back in a sec). I ran a block towards the corner store to find about 12 people already standing in line. I thought “What a heck, I came all the way here, I’ll wait”. Twelve minutes later, I was still in line and thinking to myself “What a heck am I doing here?” When it finally came my turn to order, I was quick to say “One scone to go” and I was out of there, running back to my car annoyed that I had waited 15 minutes for a damn scone. This was the first and last time. So I thought.

I got in the car, closed the door and drove away. And then I felt it. An irresistible smell of freshly baked buttery pastry. Deliciously intoxicating. “What’s that?” It took me a couple of seconds to realize it was coming from the small paper bag on my dashboard. It all started to make sense. The lines, the wait, the best scone in the world. Next day, I was there again, promptly in line 7:30am. And every day ever since.

Behind the counter

Every morning, Tartine displays a selection of just out-of-the-oven pastries, tarts and desserts. Beautifully baked morning buns, croissants, quiches, cakes and, of course, scones. All carefully made with local organic ingredients.

I haven’t tried everything yet (working on that) but the Buttermilk Scone with Currants is definitely my favorite so far. It’s not your average Starbucks scone. It’s buttery and surprisingly light (or at least it tastes that way).

The Morning Bun is also delicious. Requires a sweeter tooth though. It’s crunchy on the outside layer and soft inside. Perfect as it comes, warm just out of the oven.

The Pain au Chocolat With Valrhona Chocolate is good, but not on the light side. The dough is heavier than the classic, flaky French croissant. Definitely fulfilling.

Another thing to die for is the Chocolate Pudding. It’s rich and creamy like a dark chocolate mousse. Comes topped with a dollop of whipped cream and chocolate. You may think it is big enough to share but only until you have your first spoonful.

Tartine also serves coffee from Mr. Espresso, carefully made by the well-trained barista.

In short

If you have a sweet tooth and dieting is nowhere near your radar, you won’t want to miss this place. You can’t get better pastries in San Francisco, not to mention their amazing bread. Stop there in the morning, get something to go. Forget about the line, the wait. All will be worth it the moment you have your first scone.

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