Early Morning Exploration: The Sublime Arsicault Bakery, Tartine Bakery and B. Patisserie [Review + Pics]

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My last trip to Tartine has convinced me to focus on their tarts in all future visits. The first time I went a few months ago the Chocolate Banana Cream tart was indeed the best item, and last time (about a week ago) both their Chocolate Hazelnut and Blueberry tarts really knocked it out of the park.

I am very much not a tart person, so I feel it must truly be a quality difference between that and their other items - the other stuff I’ve had there ranged from good to great, but nothing as amazing as the tarts. Next time I visit, I plan on doing a horizontal tart tasting :smile:

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Another epic post, @Chowseeker1999!

I’m sorry if I’ve given the impression that I’ve actually been to Tartine. I have not. What I have done is bake the Tartine bread recipe from the NYT several times. Sorry for the miscommunication. :frowning:

Shocked to hear the toast was dry! Did you see if they sliced the loaf in front of you? The dough (at least the home version) is very, VERY wet, and the loaves I’ve cooked have always had a delightful crumb (except for one time, which I assume was a user – me – error). Wonder if they preslice hrs ahead of time and then just let leave it out (bleh).

I just found the Ken Forkish recipe for the “overnight country blonde” loaf on-line a few mos ago. Very similar to the Tartine recipe, but a bit of a deeper taste and a bit easier to make, IMHO.

The black sesame latte looks HEAVENLY. :smiley:

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Hi @paranoidgarliclover,

Oh no worries. :slight_smile: After you and others here mentioned Tartine’s Bread, I started noticing other sources also talking about it, so it must be something normally great.

I would agree with you about the pre-slicing: That’s the one thing that makes the most sense. Either this is leftover loaves / half-loaf from the previous day and they just serve it as Toast the next morning (instead of throwing it out), or it’s pre-sliced ahead of time and will just dry out that way.

I hope I have enough luggage space next time to just buy a whole loaf and see what that’s like. :wink:

But yes, the Black Sesame Latte was so good. :slight_smile:

Thanks @T3t. So glad to hear you also liked their Chocolate Banana Cream Tart. I’m still dreaming about that, and like you, I’m not a tart person! :sweat_smile:

I’ll keep an eye out for their Chocolate Hazelnut and Blueberry one for next time. :slight_smile:

Next time you are there, try Neighbor Bakehouse. Ginger Pull Apart is great and they open at 6:30. It fits perfectly for your early morning exploration. :wink:

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Is there anything open still in LA that can even come close to what all those bakery items look like?

Can’t speak for others but I really like Proof Bakery and République.

Plain Croissant? Chaumont in Beverly Hills. Some wonderful pastries as well.

Republique has some great items as well, but not for their Croissants

Thanks. Still haven’t been to either but Maison Giraud was, for me, the best croissant. I will try those two soon for the pastries.

Thanks, Be there soon.

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La Tropézienne

La Chouquette

Mixed Company, while not a pure bakery per se, it still does very fine pastries in the morning hours.

Thank you. Looks great.

Update 2:

On the last day of our trip, we attempted a quad x bang. (What a terrible idea in the end!) :sweat_smile: :stuck_out_tongue: :cry:

Tartine Bakery (Revisit)

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Even though we arrived a few minutes after they opened, they had very few items for sale, which seemed odd. We really enjoyed the Almond Croissant from our last visit, but like our first visit’s plain Croissant, this time, the entire batch of Almond Croissants was partially burnt(!). :grimacing: (As in black char on top.)

We asked the server about that (they had just opened), and he looked down, as if noticing them for the first time. He blurted out, “Oh yah… they do look burnt. Sorry, that’s all we have right now.” :frowning:

So we skipped that and went on to…

Croissant:
Time from Oven: 15 minutes.

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This time, the plain Croissant wasn’t burnt on top (they seem so inconsistent), and it had a light crispness and some good butteriness. This was probably the best rendition of Croissant we’ve had at Tartine to date. :slight_smile:

Lemon Poppy Tea Cake:

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Their Lemon Poppy Tea Cake was wonderful. Moist, yet crumbly, dense enough to be like a good Pound Cake, but with some delicate Lemony sweetness. :slight_smile:

Tartine Bakery
600 Guerrero St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
Tel: (415) 487-2600

http://www.tartinebakery.com/

Arsicault Bakery

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We arrived at Arsicault next, home of our favorite Croissant in SF. :slight_smile: We couldn’t wait to try it again (and there was a line out the door).

Croissant:
Time from Oven: 15 minutes.

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Flaky, crisp, so airy inside, with a deep Butter flavor. It still remains our favorite Croissant in San Francisco! :heart:

SO GOOD! :blush:

We bumped into Baker-Owner Armando Lacayo who was chatting it up with all the customers. He seemed so jovial and friendly. :slight_smile:

He mentioned he was going to try opening up a Sandwich shop (baking their own Bread(!)) soon, which sounds like an awesome place to visit on our next trip. Hopefully it’s as good to Sandwiches as Arsicault is to Croissants. :wink:

Thank you again @ipsedixit for the great rec!

Arsicault Bakery
397 Arguello Blvd.
San Francisco, CA 94118
Tel: (415) 750-9460

https://www.facebook.com/Arsicault-Bakery-1583125701910341/

This was a great start to our morning already. But our quad x bang continued on… (next thread)

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Update 2:

This trip up north could be subtitled “The Redemption” in some ways, given how some previous disappointing issues seemed to have turned around on this visit.

Arsicault Bakery (Revisit)

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Now on our 4th visit, we can really see why @ipsedixit likes this place so much: Arsicault has been consistently great with their amazing Croissants. :slight_smile:

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Croissant:
Time from Oven: 20 minutes.

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A feather-like crispness on the outside, yielding to a distinct, fragrant buttery and fluffy interior! SO GOOD! :heart:

It remains our favorite Croissant in the Bay Area. :blush:

Kouign Amann:

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On a previous visit, Arsicault’s Kouign Amann was too sugary and a touch too dense for me. But we wanted to give it another try, especially since they just finished up a batch as we arrived early in the morning. :wink:

Taking a bite, it was still sugary and definitely on the sweet side, but it had a beautiful buttery taste that just coalesced together. I think Sycamore Kitchen’s Kouign Amann is the style I prefer more, lighter, more airy, but Arsicault’s is very good in a more dense, compressed style.

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Morning Bun:

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Their Morning Bun is an interesting Pastry: A cross between a Sugar Donut and something more dense. The initial bite tastes like you’re biting into a Sugar-Coated Donut, but it’s a touch crunchy as well, but then you get this amazing Orange Zest, real fragrant citrusy notes, as well as some Marzipan. :slight_smile:

Even on a rainy day, there was a line out the door first thing in the morning, and with good reason: Arsicault Bakery remains a stellar little corner Bakery, in a quiet residential neighborhood, that happens to be creating some of the best Croissants I’ve ever had. :slight_smile:

Arsicault Bakery
397 Arguello Blvd.
San Francisco, CA 94118
Tel: (415) 750-9460

https://www.facebook.com/Arsicault-Bakery-1583125701910341/

B. Patisserie (Revisit)

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Our initial visit to B. Patisserie on our previous trip was a slight disappointment, because one of their most famous items, the Kouign Amann, was stale(!). But we enjoyed some of the other offerings (like @BradFord’s recommended Passion Fruit Bostock), so we wanted to give them another try.

Kouign-Amann:

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We arrived shortly after opening. The Kouign Amann looked gorgeous, a beautiful golden hue similar to @PorkyBelly’s pics. Taking a bite…

Delicious! :blush:

It wasn’t stale (like last time), but instead tasted fresh-baked, with a nice crispy exterior and a real, big Butter hit on the palate. It was also lighter and less sugary than Arsicault’s, but really both styles were great on this trip. :slight_smile: Thanks @PorkyBelly!

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Chocolate Caramel Toffee Mousse:

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They had an item we didn’t see last time, a Chocolate Caramel Toffee Mousse, and it was wonderful! The cross section above shows off the strata of delicious flavors: I loved the Dark Chocolate shell combined with the Caramel and the Chocolate Mousse, as well as the nice heart of Toffee inside. :slight_smile:

Black Sesame Latte (with Almond Milk):

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I fell in love with their Black Sesame Latte the last time we visited, so it was a must order again! :slight_smile: And…

Seriously this has to be one of the best Black Sesame Desserts we’ve ever tried! :blush: @paranoidgarliclover this is for you (again)! :grin:

It’s so enticingly aromatic, with each sip tasting like you’re sipping light, airy Black Sesame in liquid form, but it’s not as thick as the Chinese Black Sesame Puree Dessert. The touch of Almond Milk enhanced the nuttiness, and it was a nice warming cup of joy during the chilly morning. :heart:

Ultimately, both of these Bakeries on this visit redeemed themselves on the Kouign Amann and this was a fantastic start to our trip. :slight_smile:

B. Patisserie
2821 California St.
San Francisco, CA 94115
Tel: (415) 440-1700

http://bpatisserie.com/

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Glad you got a better batch of KAs this time. If you like that less dense muffin style try the DKAs at dominique ansel.

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Hit two of the three today (Dec 9th, 2017). But have been to Tartine at least 10 times. Arsicault was first and the croissant was good. Flakey with a slight crunch on the outside, soft and moist on the inside, and a nice buttery flavor. The last Kouign Amann was sold just as we got to the counter, but we opted to wait for the next batch to come out in 20 minutes. Hot and fresh when we got it, but we were disappointed with the style. More like a cinnamon roll. If it had a different name, we would have liked it a lot, but it is not what we have come to expect in a KA. However… The chocolate/almond croissant was one of the best pastries we have ever eaten. It was everything you could want in a pastry. It was crisp, soft, chewy, perfect almond paste and chocolate was awesome. They did it in a way that you can enjoy the flavors separately or together. SO GOOD. The Ham and Cheese was also very good, but not one of “the best I’ve ever had.” Wouldn’t kick it out of bed though… Next we walked (2 miles or so) to B Pattisierre. The croissant was so so, but the KA was a knock out. Crisp on the outside, but not overwhelmingly saturated with hardened sugar like Buchon (which we also like for its uniqueness). The inside was soft, buttery, and even had a slightly gooey something that was spectacular. Great KA. For me, Tartine still has the best ham and cheese croissant. They are known for a long bake and I like the super crunchy and flakey outside. The interior is light and buttery. The plain croissant is also a winner for me. Not sure why Chowseeker has had so many misses with these places, especially Tartine. In LA we do like Republique and are sad to see Buchon close. However, while LA is getting better with the bakeries, it is not SF. Full disclosure… We live in LA near Robertson and Pico, but grew up in/near
SF.

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Hi @dsw5000,

Nice report back. Thanks. :slight_smile: I’d say the “misses” I had might’ve been just off-days, but even after 4 visits, Tartine’s plain croissant has ranged from (awful to good to very good (on one visit)). I didn’t like the burnt aspect on 2 of the visits (one time it was severely dark).

Definitely agree with you about B. Patisserie’s plain croissant (bad), but I’m glad the kouign amann was great the 2nd time we went (same as your experience my @PorkyBelly’s).

I’ll have to try the ham and cheese croissant next time, thanks for the rec. :slight_smile:

No.

Save the calories for their French Flan Tart.

Like a Portuguese Egg Custard with a bit of je ne sais quoi flair.

Weekends only.

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HI @ipsedixit,

Ooh! Why didn’t you tell me about this before? :cry: :wink: I don’t think I’ve seen it offered in my visits there, but we usually go early in the morning. Thanks.