Location: Outer Sunset (4001 Judah St)
Hours: 9:00 AM-3:00 PM & 5:00-10:00 PM
Main Attraction: home-baked pain au levain, season-varying doughnut recipe
Atmosphere: As you walk in, you’re greeted by the scent of ground cinnamon and baking pain au levain as well as a toasty restaurant that warms your “Outer Sunset chilled-bones.” The popular restaurant hosts a variety of customers from your typical SF foodies to surfers coming back from Ocean Beach in their sandy wetsuits. Customers are seated at rustic tables surrounded by beautifully paneled wood walls — in fact, for the panelling the owners collected driftwood from the beach and salvaged wood from old fences.
Food Experience: Outerlands is worth the hour long Sunday brunch-line wait. The pastry chef, Brooke Mosley, describes her creations as “unfussy, yet still precise.” Throughout my three visits to Outerlands, I’ve chowed on five delicious pastries: cornbread with cotija cheese and cilantro, a sticky bun with fresh strawberries and walnuts, a buckwheat muffin with almonds, walnuts, and apple, a miso-glazed doughnut with asian pear, and another doughnut bite with butternut squash. All five have been outstanding. Mosley creates the perfect confection — not too sweet, the ideal spongey texture, and a twist on your classic pastries.
Bakery: Craftman & Wolves
Location: The Mission (746 Valencia St)
Hours: Monday-Friday 7:00 AM-6:00 PM & Saturday-Sunday 8:00 AM-6:00 PM
Main Attraction: The Rebel Within, chocolate sourdough
Atmosphere: Craftsman & Wolves is the ultimate hipster cafe in the Mission — bright yellow tables outside greet you as you walk in. Inside, large communal tables create a sense of community in the up-and-coming cafe. William Werner, pastry chef, describes it as a “modern pâtisserie.” During weekday mornings, the service is impeccable, the cafe tables are almost completely empty, however it can get crowded on the weekends.
Food Experience: Werner marries taste and presentation; the glass cases are filled with pastries like the pomegranate and rose geranium biscotti and the Thai scone with green curry, candied ginger, and coconut. In my two visits, I’ve tried the simple croissant and the travel cake with roasted banana and a touch of coconut. The croissant was one of the best I’ve had — flaky and warm. The travel cake, an updated version of classic banana bread, is pure bliss — the coconut coats your mouth and along with the banana, leaves a lingering tropical taste. I’m looking forward to revisiting C & W next Monday to try the famous Rebel Within, a muffin filled with asiago, sausage, green onion, and a runny egg.
Bakery: Liguria Bakery
Location: North Beach (1700 Stockton St)
Hours: Tuesday-Friday 8:00 AM-2:00 PM & Saturday 7:00 AM-2:00 PM
Main Attraction: any of their classic focaccia
Atmosphere: Liguria Bakery is a no-nonsense ancient bakery that has baked the best focaccia in the Bay Area since 1911. There’s no time for chit-chat, but there also isn’t a line, which means you can eat your mouth-watering pizza focaccia or buttery raisin focaccia all the sooner. After the bakers wrap the warm focaccia in butcher paper and tie it with string, Washington Square Park offers the ideal place to savor the snack.
Food Experience: Liguria brings back memories of school potlucks and after-school soccer snacks. My personal favorite there is the pizza focaccia – the tangy yet sweet tomato sauce and fresh green onions complete the delicious Italian snack. Another crowd favorite is the raisin focaccia. Although most of the flavors are savory, the sweet raisins and mixture of spices make for the perfect treat – nobody can resist it!
Bakery: Frog Hollow Farm Cafe
Location: Ferry Building Marketplace
Hours: Monday-Saturday 7:00 AM-7:30 PM & Sunday 9:00 AM-4:00 PM
Main Attraction: scuffins, turnovers
Atmosphere: Frog Hollow Farm Cafe is at the center of the Ferry Building Marketplace; tourists riding ferry boats as well as regular market shoppers wait in line for a seasonal, freshly-baked pastry to savor while picking up organic produce from nearby farms like Dirty Girl and Green Gulch. The farm describes this cafe as a true “farm to table” experience — in fact, during the summer months, you can buy mouthwatering fresh peaches in their stand directly outside of the cafe. Although there is seating inside and outside, it’s best to take advantage of the waterfront location and eat your pastry on the benches facing the bay.
Food Experience: The fruit-filled turnovers, tostadas, and galettes make Frog Hollow Cafe into a pastry destination. My personal favorite, the market peach turnover, is perfection. The flaky, golden, and cane sugar coated exterior makes for the perfect bite along with the overflowing peach filling. The pastry fillings vary seasonally – in the fall, you will find cinnamon apple and in the summer they typically sell cherry, blueberry, and peach. Another favorite of mine is the strawberry rhubarb crostada — the tart fruit filling is a rare treat. One of their signature baked-goods, the scuffin, is a twist on the classic scone and muffin. The outside is spongey and sweet, but the inside is filled with a tart fruit puree.
Location: The Mission (600 Guerrero St)
Hours: Monday 8:00 AM-7:00 PM & Tuesday-Wednesday 7:30 AM-7:00 PM & Thursday-Friday 7:30 AM-8:00 PM & Saturday 8:00 AM-8:00 PM & Sunday 9:00 AM-8:00 PM
Main Attraction: morning buns, bread, brioche pudding
Atmosphere: Amelia Levin-Sheffield ’17 loves Tartine, “a busy bakery with a mix of people — tourists that have heard of the bakery as well as locals who know how delicious the bread and pastries are.” This eclectic place has become a legendary San Franciso bakery. Even though it is arguably the most well-known bakery in San Francisco, the staff is still down to earth and welcoming — they want you to experience their love of baking. Tartine has indoor and outdoor seating — the interior of the bakery is jam-packed with wooden tables, often filled.
Food Experience: Tartine’s bread is the best bread I’ve eaten in the United States. At the bakery’s partnering restaurant, Bar Tartine, I tried the porridge bread with homemade kefir butter and it was divine. The bread is spongey, sour, and tears apart so perfectly — their house-made butter just added another layer of creaminess and saltiness. They also offer rye, walnut, sesame, or olive bread. Along with their bread, Tartine is well-known for their pastries. One of their most popular is the brioche rice-pudding (in fact, it’s Levin-Sheffield’s favorite) made with fresh, seasonal fruit sautéed in butter along with spices. Depending on the season, they caramelize either peaches, pears, berries, or apples. Most pastry enthusiasts visit Tartine with the intention of devouring one of their famous, enormous croissants — each flaky and buttery layer gives way to another perfect bite that’s neither gummy nor overpoweringly sweet.
Bakery: Mr. Holme’s Bakehouse
Location: Lower Nob Hill (1042 Larkin St)
Hours: Monday-Friday 7:00 AM-2:30 PM & Saturday-Sunday 8:00 AM-3:30 PM
Main Attraction: cruffin, croissants
Atmosphere: Although this Nob Hill bakery is tiny and doesn’t offer much seating (they have limited milk-crate seating), the line never fails to wrap around the block. Foodies flock from all around the Bay Area to try their famous cruffin – a combination of a classic croissant and a muffin. On weekends, these popular pastries sell out immediately and each person can only purchase two. The interior of the storefront is bright and trendy; photos of white tiled floors and a hot-pink “I was baked in San Francisco” sign have surely popped up on your Instagram feed. Once you’ve ordered your goodies, I’ve found it easiest to devour them on-the-go.
Food Experience: Mr. Holme’s Bakehouse offers an eclectic array of pastries — both classic and unique, California-inspired goodies. In fact, they’re so delicious that someone broke in to steal the recipes! I would recommend sampling options like the pear and blue cheese Danish or the California Croissant, with salmon, nori, wasabi, ginger, and of course, a packet of soy sauce. If you make it in time, the cruffin is their world-famous confection — even newspapers in Italy and Japan have raved about it. It truly is a scrumptious treat; the first layer is light and flaky (exactly what a croissant should be) and the filling is sweet and creamy (but not over-powering) which completes the bite. Mr. Holme’s has delicious daily flavors, like PB&J, chocolate and passionfruit, Four Barrel coffee, cherry orange, strawberry banana with a homemade sour patch kid, matcha green tea, and pumpkin spice. Although the cruffin is renown, I recommend buying a box of assorted pastries; the thai brioche bun with coconut and the blood orange beignet are not to be missed.
Bakery: b. Patisserie
Location: Pacific Heights (2821 California St)
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 8:00 AM-6:00 PM
Main Attraction: kouign amman, seasonal macarons,
Atmosphere: b. Patisserie is reminiscent of a Parisian bakery – the marble tulip tables, yellow chairs, and glass cases create a modern, yet classic environment. Belinda Leong, co-owner, says that she doesn’t want people to be intimated by the French bakery atmosphere and attempts to make it approachable through quirky pastries like the Snickers macaron. Even though the bakery is crowded on weekends, you are still able to pick up your pastries within ten minutes and the servers behind the counter are extremely helpful. I recommend visiting b. Patisserie during the week if you would like to sit at one of their chic tables and enjoy some tea or coffee.
Food Experience: b. Patisserie’s kouign amman lives up to its reputation. Each bite has so many levels; the first layer is flaky and crunchy which leads into the smooth and buttery inside. I tried the “Nature” kouign amman, which is the classic, plain flavor, but they do bake chocolate and pumpkin flavors in the fall as well as mixed fruit in the spring. Although the bakery is best known for this delicious pastry, the passion fruit bostock was equally mouth-watering. The caramelized buttery outside is the perfect opening to the moist and light filling that has a hint of tropical passion fruit. From the outside, the small almond covered cake seemed dense, but after taking a bite the fruit added a freshness that completed the confection. Finally, I tried one of their seasonal macarons – one of the best I’ve had in San Francisco. The crisp outside was perfectly baked and the cold and foamy inside had a subtle hint of pear and chestnut. Thoroughly delicious.
Location: The Mission (1268 Valencia St) and Sunset (1331 9th Ave)
Hours: Tuesday-Friday 7:00 AM-7:00 PM & Saturday-Sunday 7:30 AM-6:00 PM
Main Attraction: vegetarian pizza of the day, fresh scones, ginger molasses cookie
Atmosphere: Arizmendi has a bustling environment with a line outside the door. Filled with local families and neighbors, Arizmendi builds a sense of community — whether you’re sitting at the wooden tables inside or lounging by the outside parklet, you’re sure to meet someone raving about the pastries. Along with the customers, the bakers are always friendly and welcoming; Arizmendi is a true co-op.
Food Experience: If you live in San Francisco, you surely know about Arizmendi’s daily vegetarian pizzas made with fresh, seasonal, and organic vegetables. No matter the flavor, the delicious sourdough crust is sublime. Some of their most notable flavors are: marinated artichoke hearts, spinach, and lemon-thyme oil as well as caramelized onions, mushrooms, smoked gouda, and garlic oil — there’s a menu available online with the daily pizza. Along with their pizzas, Arizmendi is well known for their scones. Their cornmeal-cherry scone is a crumbly mess of perfection. Arizmendi also bakes delicious bread; one of my favorite loaves is the Wolverine which is a classic loaf with dried fruit like cherries and apricots along with walnuts. The best part of a visit to Arizmendi is buying a bag of freshly-baked cookies to take home and snack on throughout the week (or finish in a day)!
Bakery: Neighbor Bakehouse
Location: Dogpatch (2343 3rd St)
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday 6:30 AM-12:00 PM
Main Attraction: croissants, ginger pull-aparts, chocolate claws
Atmosphere: Greg Mindel supplied lots of SF coffee shops, like Four Barrel and Sightglass, with his delicious croissants and has finally established a storefront in Dogpatch. Neighbor Bakehouse is a true commuter bakery. Since it is relatively new, there is no fuss – the pastries are displayed on racks and there is a small coffee stand, but that’s about it. Once you taste the pastries, the lack of decor is irrelevant. Mindel aims to “make food that is commuter-friendly, that has value, and isn’t too precious.” Make sure to stop by NB early in the morning; otherwise the delicious kimchi buns or ginger pull-aparts might be sold out.
Food Experience: Mindel’s croissant easily rivals that of San Francisco’s famous Tartine. Not only does NB bake a light and flaky plain croissant in addition to chocolate, but they also offer unique flavors, like twice baked pistachio and blackberry and “everything.” Another one of their famous pastries, the ginger pull-apart, was recommended to me by a close foodie friend. It’s everything a pastry should be and more. The additional ginger flavor perfectly complements the buttery and sweet pastry. Their savory treats are also delicious — the sauerkraut and cheddar tart as well as the kimchi bun are a few crowd favorites.
Bakery: Josey Baker Bread
Location: (736 Divisadero St)
Hours: Monday 7:00 AM-9:00 PM & Tuesday-Sunday 7:00 AM-7:00 PM
Main Attraction: toast, loaves
Atmosphere: Although Josey Baker Bread started out in a small apartment in the Mission, it is now based in the popular cafe, The Mill on Divisadero. The large windows and open counter add to the airy atmosphere. The twisted rope decor, wood details, and shelves with coffee beans and mason jars adds a rustic feel to the cafe as well. The Mill is the perfect place to sit down and pass the day reading a novel. However, people have discovered the secret of Josey Baker Bread and I recommend coming early to skip the line and grab a seat!
Food Experience: Josey Baker Bread is the créme de la créme. Although the cafe does offer other food options, their bread makes this a destination spot. It is spongey, freshly baked, has a perfect crust and crunch, and if you come at the right time, still warm. If you choose to eat at The Mill, they offer delicious toast options that you can munch on alongside a Four Barrel espresso. One of their most popular is a thick slice of their Dark Mountain Rye bread with cream cheese, salt, and freshly ground pepper. You can also get your toast with apple butter, Riverview Orchard almond butter, cinnamon and sugar, seasonal jams (like plum and raspberry), or house-made “nutella.” The best part about Josey Baker is the option to buy a fresh loaf to take home. Some of my favorites are the Country loaf (their spin on sourdough) and although I haven’t tried it, I’ve heard amazing things about the Fall Spectacular loaf, with apples and sea salt.
Peach Ginger Pie:
Recipe by Betty Marcon ‘79 (Mother of Loic Marcon ‘17)
2 cups All purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup vegetable shortening or lard
1/2 cup shortening and 4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup ice water
Measure the flour and salt into a bowl. It’s best if the shortening or butter is really cold. Cut into small 1/2 inch pieces and add to flour. Using two knives or a pastry cutter, cut the shortening with the flour to create mealy mixture with pea sizes pieces. You want to keep the shortening like small pieces surrounded with flour so the crust is flakey. This step can also be done in a food processor.
Add the half cup water and stir with a fork until it all comes together in a ball. If it is a little dry, add a little water, a tablespoon at a time. This step is easier in a food processor. Just pour the water through the top and the dough comes together nicely.
Press dough into a small thick disc and wrap to store in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon minute tapioca
1 tablespoon chopped crystallized ginger
1/2 teaspoon rose water
Take five medium peaches and blanch them in boiling water to remove skins. This is done by boiling them until they rise to the top of the water. Remove from water to an ice bath. When you can handle them, remove the skin, which should come off easier.
Cut, take out pit and slice into 1/2 inch pieces and put in a bowl. Combine the sugar and tapioca in a bowl to combine well and mix into peaches. Add ginger and rose water and mix. Let sit while rolling out the dough.
2 tablespoons butter
1 egg beaten with a tablespoon of water
Turn the oven on to 425.
Take the dough out of the refrigerator. Cut it in half. Using a rolling pin and flour to prevent sticking, roll out one piece for the bottom of the pie plate. You should use a 9 inch pie plate for this. I like Pyrex plates because you can see the bottom to make sure it’s baking.
Place the rolled out dough in the plate, helping it into the corners with your fingers and heel of your hand. Create a nice rim and trim extra.
Pour the peaches into pan, dot the top with pieces of butter (cut the butter into small pieces). Brush the rim with egg wash, roll out the second piece of dough and place on top, pressing slightly over the top and fitting it around the edges.
Crimp the top and bottom crusts together at the edges and create a rope design around it using thumb and forefinger. You can also use a fork to crimp it. Make sure to slit holes in the top for steam to escape. Brush with egg wash.
Place in hot oven for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 375 and continue for another 40 minutes. The crust should be nicely brown and you should see bubbling up from the filling from the hole.
Remove and let cool before serving.