Double Pain Au Chocolat -- Tartine Bakery, San Francisco, CASan Francisco eating scene is beginning with a rush -- a sugar rush. By pure geographic coincidence, almost every one of the city's dessert-type items featured on Best Thing I Ever Ate is located in or around the Mission District. This happenstance means that we are beginning our day in yet another out-the-door line, only this time it is for the sake of baked goods rather than over-hyped coffee.
|Bring on the Carb-Loading|
Indeed, by 8:45am, Tartine Bakery is packed to the max, and a line stretches the length of the store down Guerrero Street. Similar to Blue Bottle Coffee, this line is moving SLOWLY -- we are lucky if we do forward one step per minute. Is there no sense of urgency in this city?!
|WE HAVE SIX MORE PLACES TO GET TODAY, PEOPLE|
As we stand in line -- without speaking, mind you -- we proceed to make snap judgments about the patrons in back of us: two girls who are clearly not "actually good friends" because they are having the MOST BORING CONVERSATION EVER. In sum, the talk mostly consists of them moaning about how good the bakery smells, and how they can't wait to eat what's inside. "Ooh, we're almost there!" "Mmm, do you smell that?" "Wow, that looks so good."
|It's a Bakery. Of Course It Smells Good. Now Shut Your Mouths|
"Ugh, they're so dull," Vodka mumbles, and Ginger nods in agreement. "They clearly have NOTHING interesting to discuss with each other."
"Says the two people standing in silence," Ginger points out. It seems the longer we are forced to stand in line, without even the promise of an alcoholic beverage at the end, the more hostile we become toward the outside world.
|At the Very Least, Give Us a Cookie to Talk Us Off a Ledge|
Eventually, we reach the front of the line and order one morning bun and one double pain au chocolat, as recommended by David Myers on the SWEET TOOTH episode of Best Thing I Ever Ate. In truth, Vodka deigns to place the order only after smacking Ginger, who is standing in front of her in line, when the Tartine worker looks at Ginger expectantly. In our world, the measure of good friendship apparently consists of physical violence in the face of ordering food.
|Vodka Has Suddenly Gone Mute|
We bring our pastries to the window counter to consume them, and Vodka fetches more napkins for us to use than all of San Francisco combined.
|Take THAT, "Compost Can"|
The pain au chocolat is flaky to the touch -- even flakier than most croissants -- and the first bite reveals it to be just about the lightest, softest, most buttery creation we have ever tasted.
Rather than being hit by sweetness, in the center we find the taste of bitter dark chocolate, which is the perfect flavor to complement the layers of dough.
|The Inner Workings of a Masterpiece|
"Well, that is excellent," Ginger says with much less enthusiasm than she means. For once in our lives, it seems that we have found something that is worth an endless line -- well, almost.
|Meaning It Was Worth the Line TODAY ONLY|
We concur that if we actually lived in San Francisco, we would most likely never come to Tartine, what with our dislike of such "nonsense" and all.
|We Like to CAUSE Nonsense, but Not the Other Way Around|
The morning bun does little more than confirm that the pain au chocolat is the stand-out on the morning pastry menu.
|Bun of Steel|
Like a cinnamon bun without the stickiness, it is good as far as such things go, but it doesn't taste much more special than the morning bun that can be found in the Starbucks display case.
|Do You Enjoy How Often Our Bastion of Good Taste = Starbucks?|
If there is any food at Tartine that could actually stand up to the pain au chocolat, we believe it is the grilled cheese, which we have both had on previous visits to the bakery. But today is dessert day, and there is no time for grilled cheese on this itinerary.
|Would You Mind Slathering Some Cheddar on These Buns?|
And with that, we force our way through the crowds and out of Tartine, Vodka punching notes into her phone. "I keep asking you what you want to say about the croissant and you're not answering me," she grumbles to Ginger (again, solid display of "good friendship").
|Presumably, the Two Conversationalists Are Now Consuming Their Purchases By Stating "Mmmm" Over and Over|
"It was a croissant. It was good. It was chocolatey. What do you want to know?" Ginger retorts. And with such commentary, we indisputably prove why this blog will never be a mecca for true foodies.
The best we can hope for is to win over the people who just like to eat a lot.
Tartine Bakery's Double Pain Au Chocolat: 5 stars*
*Certifiable Best Thing We Ever Ate