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

I can’t reveal all my secrets. Then you would have no reason to visit …

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Update 3:

Tartine Bakery (Revisit)


For this morning’s bang x bang with Plow, I really wanted to go back to my favorite Croissant in SF at Arsicault, but I had promised one of my best friends to buy her some Tea Cakes from Tartine (Arsicault sadly doesn’t have any), so we ended up at here.

We’re starting to find out after more and more visits that Tartine’s strengths are more in their Desserts & Sweets instead of their Pastries.

Time from Oven: 1 hour 30 minutes.

We had to order their plain Croissant again, just for comparison and to see how consistent they were. Sadly, this was just like our 1st visit: The Croissant was barely crisp, kind of soft, dryish and pretty average. :frowning: It seems Tartine’s Croissants don’t hold up well at all over time, so get them when they make a new batch / first thing in the morning only. Arsicault’s are so much better (as are Chaumont’s).

Eclair (Valrhona Chocolate Glaze, Pastry Cream):

I love a good Eclair, so I try to order one of these whenever I see one. :slight_smile: Tartine’s Eclair is wonderful: A beautiful Valrhona Chocolate Glaze and nice Pastry bite, giving way to this amazing Pastry Cream that is more like a super smooth, silky Custard! :heart:

Banana Cream Tart (Dark Chocolate Coated Flaky Pastry, Caramel, Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream):

Finally! On this 5th visit we finally saw the Banana Cream Tart again. :slight_smile: Taking a bite…

Impossibly light, clouds of super fresh, lightly sweet Cream, then bits of Bananas and this decadent Custard. But it’s the hard Dark Chocolate Shell (hard to see in the cross-section) that holds the Custard and some of the fragrant, toasted outer crust that just elevates this to pure JOY! :heart:

This is SUCH a good Dessert! :blush: (@PorkyBelly @TheCookie @Bookwich @BradFord @ipsedixit @T3t and others!)

I don’t even like Banana Desserts usually, but this Dessert is outstanding!

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


Update 4:
Finishing up our wonderful SF trip, we stopped by this morning to go out with a bang at our favorite Croissant in the city…

Arsicault Bakery (Revisit)

Getting there right as they opened, there were already 4 people ahead of us.

Time from Oven: 15 minutes.

Taking a bite… there is the same crispiness, airiness, but something is wrong. The deep, fragrant, wonderful Butter flavor is gone! Arsicault used to use a combination of French and Irish Butters and while not as deeply, stunningly buttery in a way that only certain French Butters can be (at Chaumont), but today, it was just plain and very muted! :sob:

We quickly went over and asked the manager, and she told us Arsicault has now switched over to an American Butter! :sob: Noooo! :cry:

This is a huge downgrade in flavor (the ironic part is that she told us, “We decided to try the cheaper American Butter and felt there was no difference, so we switched.” :expressionless: Wow.

Major Downhill Alert. (@ipsedixit @PorkyBelly @BradFord @beefnoguy @Bookwich @T3t @Ns1 @attran99 and others)

So for a very good, but muted Butter flavored Croissant, Arsicault will still scratch that itch, but we’ll be saving our calories for Chaumont (and if in the area when they come out of the oven early, Konbi). A sad day. :frowning:

Almond Croissant:

Their Almond Croissant has a nice crunch, not overly sweet, and I love their Almond Paste filling (not overly synthetic tasting like some versions we’ve tried). However, it is not as good as @Ns1’s Lou, The French on the Block, nor Chaumont, but it’s very good. :slight_smile:

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

B. Patisserie (Revisit)

We had some improved Pastries the last time we revisited B. Patisserie, from Pastry Chef Belinda Leong (former Pastry Chef of Manresa in Los Gatos, CA (Michelin 2 Star)) and Michel Suas (Pastry Chef at Restaurant Barrier (Paris, France) (Michelin 3 Star)), so we were hoping it would continue to improve since our last visit. :slight_smile:

Almond Croissant:

This was a touch too sweet for me. It wasn’t bad, but Arsicault’s was definitely better, as was Tartine Bakery (SF)'s Almond Croissant the last 2 times we tried it. Definitely a step below Lou’s and Chamount’s, but if you like your Almond Croissants more sweet, this is the version to get.

Kouign Amann:

Now this is more like it! :blush: Crisp-crunch outer shell, nice buttery inside, this was delicious! By far the best version we’ve tried now at B. Patisserie (1st time was stale (terrible), 2nd time was better, now this). Having just had Pastry Chef Karen Hatfield’s Buttercup at Sycamore Kitchen in recent memory, we like her version a touch more (and it’s also been more consistent (3 times, all consistently well-made)). But this is outstanding now, and hopefully the norm. We’d be glad to stop by and get more of these next time. :heart:

Black Sesame Latte (with Almond Milk):

Oh yah! For Black Sesame Lovers out there (@paranoidgarliclover), definitely a unique morning alternative to Coffee and Mocha Latte’s etc., I love B. Patisserie’s Black Sesame Latte (w/ Almond Milk)! :blush: It is nutty, aromatic, and has a beautiful Black Sesame flavor, while still warming you up like a Coffee or Tea in the chilly morning, just differently. Must order for Black Sesame Lovers! :heart:

At this point we had one more stop before it was time to fly home later today…

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


What nut job has the balls to say that there’s no difference between French and American butter?


That would be Bob, from Accounting.


Bob should be shot. Or bludgeoned.
What a travesty.



Oh well, after all that press in Bon Appetite magazine and those raves. Thanks for the downhill croissant report there! Waiting for the InstaBook stories and selfies outside the shop that say “yeah gotta get my American butter croissant fix on with my hipster coffee!!!”

“we decided to use California roll imitation crab and felt there was no difference from Hokkaido hairy crab”…


A quote, from the Book of Bob (from Accounting)…


You misspelled krab. :smiley:


I love that black sesame latte with a KA!

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