Sweet Start for the New Year at San Fran’s Tartine

Clockwise from left: Banana cream pie, Bread Pudding of the Day and Lemon Tart

My New Year’s resolution?  Eat more pastries. 

Let me be clear:  this is not the Tartine in Vancouver.  Yes, the first week of the New Decade finds me exploring the culinary delights of our neighbouring city south of the border.  San Francisco mirrors our own city in so many ways, most especially in its wide variety of culinary fare.  Exploring the treats that await me around every corner, from gooey grilled cheese to pulled pork sandwiches, has indeed been a delicious adventure.

Tartine is a small neighbourhood café in downtown SF that is immediately recognizable from the long line of patrons that stretches out the door.  Other than that it has no other distinguishing features, including signage.  Let’s face it, when you’re this well-known, why pay extra for a sign?  (Or for menus for that matter).  Tartine is a true culinary adventure because one never knows what one will get when one walks through the door.  Its freshly baked organic levain bread comes out of the oven at 5:00 pm each day, but what they have on stock varies from hour to hour.  When we were there, it happened to be gooey and rich varieties of croque monsieur served on their wonderful bread in addition to their amazing pastries. 

Tartine is basically the French equivalent of an open-faced sandwich, but nowadays the term connotes any type of French sandwich.  In this café, they serve their tartine in the form of croque monsieur or their hot-pressed sandwiches.  Croque monsieur comes in four varieties: turkey, ham, wild mushroom and fromage blanc.  My favourite was hands-down the wild mushroom with its woody mushrooms, creamy béchamel and Gruyere cheese melting atop the freshly baked bread.  Hot-pressed sandwiches are also popular at Tartine, so popular in fact that it is not uncommon for them to be sold out by early afternoon. The wide variety of sandwiches offered at this café are enticing precisely because of their playful combination of tastes and flavours.  Some examples include sheep cheese and almond or fromage blanc and banana. 

Although their tartine were fantastic, without a doubt, the pastries at Tartine were the highlight for me.  I can honestly say that their pastry crusts were some of the best that I’ve sampled: soft, flaky and crumbly to the touch.  If you visit this place, as a personal favour to me, please don’t leave without trying their banana cream pie.  Imagine cool and creamy banana filling topped by a cloud of whipped cream with thin sheaves of chocolate balanced delicately on top.  Also admirable—their lemon tarts and their bread pudding.  

One of the best starts to the New Year I’ve ever had.  Hello 2010!

 

Tartine Specs and Website:

Where

600 Guerrerro St.

Tel. 415 487 2600

When

Monday 8am - 7pm Monday

Tuesday and Wednesday 7:30am - 7pm

Thursday and Friday 7:30am - 8pm

Saturday 8am - 8pm

Sunday 9am - 8pm

 

5:00 pm is when their fresh sourdough loaves come out of the oven

Hot-pressed sandwiches are available until they run out (early afternoon—around 2 pm) and then that’s when they start making their croque monsieur

What

Anything on their menu!  However, cookies at a place like this might be considered as a waste.  Get their pastries. 

 

More in Milk Fish and Garlic Rice

Seriously serious pie in Seattle

This weekend found my best friend and I roadtrippin’ down to Seattle for a little art.  SAM (Seattle Art Museum) was hosting works from the Musée National Picasso in Paris.  What ensued was...

Christmas bread in Vancouver

After living in North America for most of my life, I moved to a hot climate where every single day was about 30 degrees.   While living in warm weather definitely had its advantages, the...

Japanese yatai at Bridgeport: mobile food at its best

What is it about mobile food that is so intriguing?  From snacks on road trips, to running for the ice cream truck, there’s something about food on wheels that simply gets the stomach growling....
Speak up about this article on Facebook or Twitter. Do this by liking Vancouver Observer on Facebook or following us @Vanobserver on Twitter. We'd love to hear from you.