Whenever I go on a trip, I make maps. Tons and tons of maps. On it is the name and phone number of the place I am going to, how to get to and from the hotel, and most importantly, the hours. I am a crazy planner. In addition to sightseeing, I also map out every confectionery store in the vicinity that is deemed worthy.
Since this was a family trip, I couldn't exactly commandeer the group and force them to go to a bunch of bakeries...or could I? Instead I was smart. I secretly made the itinerary around
the bakeries. "Cable car museum? Sure...guess what, there's a cookie factory down the street..." Me=smart.
First, the Ferry Building. The amount of sweet options were numerous. I spent most of my time at Miette
. Known for their sweets, they had homemade meringues, macarons and marshmallows just to name a few. Their pastry case was full and I ended up choosing a Caramel Pot de Creme
that was out of this world, that I must try and make someday. I also bought two cupcakes for the boys.
The cupcakes were good, moist - the frosting was just ok but the meringue frosting on the chocolate one was HEAVENLY. Yes, and I mean that. I could have eaten a few of these but sadly it was the Baby's and it was hard to wrestle just a bite from him as it was.
One of my main reasons for going to the Ferry Building was to go to Boulette's Larder
. They have some of the most amazing cooking prep items and a lovely restaurant. But I was on the hunt for vanilla sea salt for a very special super secret baking project, and I knew they one of the few places that carried it. I could make my own, but I simply don't have the time. At $12/2oz
., next time I will think ahead. Yikes.
Since the kids wanted to go to Ghirardelli for ice cream, I got a chance to stop by Kara's Cupcakes. I was impressed by the design, but the actual cupcakes left me flat. The cake was just ok and the frosting was definitely not my speed. Too greasy. But due to their prime location, I'm sure every day is a sellout.
Back to Ghirardelli, even though they've gone global, the chocolate here is still superb. Free samples only help business because that day they were giving away their new chocolate peanut butter square. Good lord. It was better than a Reese's cup and I love those things. Since it was chocolate AND peanut butter the Kid was kept far away. The last thing we needed was a hospital visit while on vacation.
Finally, to cap off this dessert tour of San Francisco, my mom was insistent that I find the city's best scones. As a dutiful daughter I set out to accomplish my task, and I definitely found them. Tartine is known for their scones, but they should be known for ALL their baked goods. The pastries are simply amazing. If you don't believe me, ask the 20 people who were standing in line
in the freezing cold before it even opened. I wish this place would get a bigger space with more tables, especially since 45 degrees PLUS a wind chill factor does not make for fun eating outdoors, especially with kids.
Still, look at this pastry display. Unbelievable. And since there were so many of us we tried EVERYTHING. The croissants were perfect (you know how I am about those
), the scones were up to the hype - fantastic. Light, and buttery, not too dry. We also ordered the open face Croque Monsieur, also great but my favorite of all was the morning bun. Sugary and sticky with cinnamon I could eat these everyday, my fat ass be damned. I recommend this place to anyone who goes to San Francisco, but beware, the parking and the seating is god awful. Still, don't be deterred, it's totally worth it.
This is how I travel. Whoever draws the unfortunate short straw of travelling with me is usually forced to come with me on these culinary adventures. I am currently booking foodie tours for 2009. Any takers? Pack your fat pants.
Labels: bakeries, sweets