Friday, January 13, 2012

The Perfect Chocolate Croissant

One of the great (slash dangerous) things about desserts is that they're available EVERYWHERE.  I do a fair share of traveling--which I love--because there are always fun, new dessert places for me to try, wherever I go.

One of my favorite French words: Pain Au Chocolat
I was recently in gorgeous San Francisco, and had a spare 30 minutes.  Hmmm. What to do with 30 minutes?  Find the best bakery in San Francisco, of course.

My friend Melanie used to live in SF so I asked for her best dessert recommendation.  She answered immediately: "Tartine! The chocolate croissants are the best I've ever had."  Then she added something very intriguing: "Even better than Paris."  Quite a bold claim so now I'm curious beyond belief.  Tartine it is.

I didn't have much time. Between landing, finding Tartine, and then making my way to my hotel--Go Speed Racer!-- I was a bit nervous about my challenging schedule. I was also extremely unconfident in my ability to find any of these places due to my legendary lack of direction.  So I requested a Garmin.  I'm not a huge fan of GPS systems--I hate being told that I'm supposed to take an exit 2 seconds before I pass it-- but I knew it was necessary.  And miraculously, it took me directly to Tartine...on my first try. Whoohoo! 

(Side note: holy cow does SF have a ton of freeways, highways and bridges.  And really charming place names.  For example, Treasure Island.  Obviously they'd have dessert.  For about 3 seconds, I seriously considered heading there.  But I digress).     

Banana Cream Tart is just one of many delightful specialities. 

I found the general area, despite some crazy construction, and then looked for a sign.  Of course, no sign.  However, from the crowd of people sitting at cute cafe tables to the snaking line was clear I had found Tartine.

Frangipane Cranberry Almond Tarts.  It's hard to tell from this photo
but this thing is larger than my hand and weighs about 100 pounds.
I was slightly concerned about parking.  Between the street construction and overall lack of street parking, I was prepared to leave, as sad as this made me, if I couldn't find a space in 10 minutes.  I shouldn't have worried.  I quickly found a generous parking space just one block away.  I took this as a sign.  Some things are just meant to be, right?

I literally jogged to the corner with giddy anticipation (excuse me, coming through, it's a chocolate croissant emergency!) 

As soon as I entered this baking haven, I was overwhelmend.  In a very good way. 

Chocolate spilling over buttery flakes
So. Many. Choices.  Banana Cream Tarts, Buttermilk Scones, Morning Buns, Bread Pudding!  I spent a good 5 minutes with the baking lady trying to figure out what to choose!  In the end, of course I had to go with the Pain Au Chocolat.  Soft, flaky and most importantly--BUTTERY! And chocolate oozing from the really was the Perfect Chocolate Croissant.  And Mel was right.  I dare say, it at least rivaled the Parisian Croissants I adore so much. 

I enjoyed my fabulous croissant and a lovely cup of coffee at a corner table bursting with lilies.  Gently pulling a small piece,  flakes flew everywhere. I burst out laughing. Within a minute, I was completely covered in decadent, buttery crumbs.  I wasn't alone.  This type of scene is perfectly acceptable in a cafe where everyone was gorging on decadent treats. 
It was easy to get lost in my thoughts as I imagined myself eating this little treasure at a Parisian cafe on St. Germain.  Bliss.  A quick yet delightful little discovery. And then I was off.  But not without a souvenir, of course.

I may have gotten something to go. 
It may or may not be a Frangipane Cranberry Almond Tart.

600 Guerrero Street San Francisco, CA 94110

415 487 2600


  1. Love your blog! I also love Tartine! Thank you for the wonderful cookbook you sent. Don't forget to stop by and say hello!

  2. Thanks Sarabeth! You're very welcome, please enjoy the cookbook. And don't worry, I plan to visit regularly! See you soon!