tartine | san francisco, california

tartine bakery is a seriously legit bakery in the heart of san francisco’s uber cool & artsy mission district.  led up by CIA trained chef-owners who also happen to be a hubby & wife duo, tartine bakery serves up top-notch breads, classic french pastries, & american-influenced baked treats alike.  tartine does baked goods so well that locals & tourists alike will wait over 30 minutes in a long line that winds down past the side of the building & down the street…but the glorious pastry perfection waiting at the end of the line is totally worth the wait.  
tartine cafe, san francisco, ca | playswellwithbutter tartine cafe, san francisco, ca | playswellwithbutter
tartine cafe, san francisco, ca | playswellwithbutter

my travel philosophy is simple: find good food & eat it wherever you go.

lolz, just kidding, there’s definitely more to my travel philosophy than just the food element.

…but honestly, for me, much of the excitement of traveling & exploring new places is tethered to the endless possibilities of fun & delicious new food to try. 

i’m lucky that chris, my husband & favorite travel partner, will go along with most of the foodie adventures that i drag him on without any complaints.  there’s always the promise of really damn good food waiting at the end of whatever shenanigans i get us into & that always helps. 

like the time when we were in san francisco about a month back & i got wind of a must-try bakery where they do baked goods so well that locals & tourists alike will wait over 30 minutes in a long line that winds down past the side of the building & down the street.

enter tartine bakery: a seriously legit bakery in the heart of san francisco’s uber cool & artsy mission district. tartine cafe, san francisco, ca | playswellwithbutter

led up by CIA trained chef-owners who also happen to be a hubby & wife duo, tartine bakery serves up top-notch breads, classic french pastries, & american-influenced baked treats alike.  tartine has tons of really great buzz amongst food publications, blogs, restaurant review sites, so it’s a sure bet that whenever you go there will be quite a wait.

we took our chances at 9:30 on a sunday morning & headed to tartine.  it was about a 15 minute drive from our hotel in SoMa to the Mission District.  it’s a totally walkable distance, but i’d would recommend either driving or grabbing an uber since it goes straight through some of the seedier parts of san francisco. 

inconspicuously located at the intersection of guerrero & 18th streets, tartine’s storefront blends right into its surrounding neighborhood.  if not for the long line of anxiously hungry foodies winding down the side of the building, you’d never guess that the building houses some of the best pastries san francisco has to offer. tartine cafe, san francisco, ca | playswellwithbutter

but tartine is totally worth the wait.  just ask this guy. tartine cafe, san francisco, ca | playswellwithbutter

chris & i hopped in line & waited patiently as we watched the people in front of us finally get their turn, disappearing through the doors to the left into the cafe.  while you wait, you’re surrounded by the most mouthwateringly delicious wafts of doughy & sugary air coming through the vents from the kitchen & out into the street.  at certain locations in the line you can peek through the windows into the kitchen, where there is ample baking equipment & tartine sugar-fairy worker bees making pastry magic happen. tartine cafe, san francisco, ca | playswellwithbutter tartine cafe, san francisco, ca | playswellwithbutter

once we made our way up into the cafe, i fell in love instantly. 

the 18th street side of the cafe has large windows that spill in the glorious morning light.  as you scan the room you see busy baristas calling out orders as they set espressos & lattes down on the coffee bar along the back wall of tartine.  along the adjacent side of the cafe you see long glass cases filled with pastry perfection, & past that wall is a doorway where you can get a peek into the back-of-house operation at tartine. tartine cafe, san francisco, ca | playswellwithbutter tartine cafe, san francisco, ca | playswellwithbuttertartine cafe, san francisco, ca | playswellwithbutter tartine cafe, san francisco, ca | playswellwithbutter

with counter-style service, the line works its way past the pastry cases to the cash register, where you order & grab a number before seating yourself at any open table you can find. 

chris & i stuck with our classic breakfast go-tos: a croissant au chocolate & cold press for me, tartine’s savory scone (with bacon & gruyere) & a big frothy cafe au lait for him, & the croque monsieur to share.  (oh, & maybe a double chocolate cookie to go.)  the next time we’re in san francisco i definitely want to head back to tartine after 11:30 to try out their hot pressed sandwiches. tartine cafe, san francisco, ca | playswellwithbutter

everything hit the mark spot on.  my croissant was perfectly delicate & flaky.  the dark chocolate pieces folded in its center had just the right amount of bitterness & just barely melting .  chris’ scone was certainly savory. rich & buttery, just what you want out of any good biscuit or scone, it was also loaded with the bacony cheesiness it promised.   tartine cafe, san francisco, ca | playswellwithbutter

the croque monsieur was the real dark horse, though.  with a base of their amazing house-baked, crusty country bread, tartine’s croque monsieur was topped with a layer of gooey bechamel (i.e. fancy-ass french cheese sauce), salty ham, & a sprinkle of grated gruyere.  tartine cafe, san francisco, ca | playswellwithbutter tartine cafe, san francisco, ca | playswellwithbutter

chris & i took turns devouring it in alternating bites.  

& after we threw our napkins in, with the kind of caffeine buzz that really good strong coffee gives you & with the kind of happy full bellies that really amazing french pastries give you, & headed off to seize our next san francisco adventure…like lunch.  tartine cafe, san francisco, ca | playswellwithbutter

what are the best local gems you’ve discovered in your travels?  how did you find them?  let me know in the comment below – i’d love to chat!

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