Having just returned from a week long stay in San Francisco, it would seem only fitting to discuss some of the food we ate while there. The only rub is, though the food was, indeed, incredible, I have to admit that, as a person who spends an inordinately large amount of time writing about and photographing food, I have never developed a propensity of taking pictures of my own food while in public, at a restaurant, surrounded by other diners. Judging by the entirety of the internet, it might seem as though I am the only person in the world who suffers from this mental setback.
The other matter of inconvenience when it comes to documenting my food choices is that, when I am in a restaurant, enjoying my food, my thoughts do not wander over to my camera. My thoughts, predictably, are focused on my food. Also: getting that food into my mouth as efficiently as possible. So, I am sorry, but I will not be able to photographically regale you with the tales of great breakfasts taken in at Zazie. Nor will I be able to show you pictures of the coffee crunch cake and moon cakes purchased and enjoyed from Chinatown’s Eastern Bakery. But what I can show you are two unbelievable delights from the incomparable Tartine, since those treats were purchased with the explicit purpose of being eaten at home, in private, where we could devour them like animals without running the risk of offending the innocent people around us.
Do you see that coconut cream tart? No, I mean do you really see it? Do you see what’s underneath the layer of rich, heavenly cream that has been topped with perfectly browned coconut flakes? On top of the dark golden, flakey pastry?
There, I helpfully scooped out some of the cream so you could better see what I am talking about here. It’s chocolate. Topped with caramel. Dear lord.
This wonderfully dark and buttery pastry shell held within it a sea of vanilla bean flecked pastry cream. Topped with fresh, seasonal fruit, in this case bright raspberries and deliciously plump blackberries, it tasted like the most perfect summer treat imaginable.
I’ve been to Tartine many times, and I own Tartine’s pastry and cake cookbook, but I still manage to be blown away every single time I am blessed with the opportunity to enjoy their goods. I’ve read many a time that Tartine’s preferred method of baking dictates that they leave everything in the oven just a tad longer that most other bakeries, allowing their buttery pastry shells to develop a deeper taste and their gougères and breads to form a more flavorful crust. Judging from Tartine’s unparalleled results, I can only surmise that this baking technique, along with everything else they are doing, is perfect in every way.
It might seem rather dull of me to go on so rapturously about a bakery that is already so well known and well loved, but I cannot make excuses for my relationship with Tartine. My friends, I could get to that place blindfolded from any part of the city. While walking down the street after getting a cup of coffee from Ritual Roasters, I actually gave other people directions to Tartine (don’t worry–they asked me first), and I don’t even live in the Mission. Or San Francisco.
I love what I love. And, quite honestly, there is little else I can tell you about, foodwise, when it comes to our annual trip to San Francisco. Since my family hails from the Bay Area and has a lifelong love of the San Francisco Giants, I could spend some time telling you about the peanuts and french fries we ate at AT&T Park while cheering on our beloved boys of summer, but, alas, no pictures were taken of that food either. Not only because were we too busy eating it, but we were far too busy enjoying it while accompanied by the beams of sunshine that blazed down on the ballpark, the electricity of the crowd, and, of course, this: