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your favorite Bay Area bakeries

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Greetings, chowhounders-

I'm doing some research on bakeries in the area and would love to query *your* favorites. If there's a place that makes your mouth water just thinking about it, I want to hear about it!

Please keep locations limited to the smaller Bay area (East, South, the City and Marin) and if you can, include the address.

Thanks! In the near future, I'm thinking about putting together a roving bakery band to try places out...let me know if you'd be interested.

Thanks! am

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  1. Your club only needs to make one stop, Tartine Bakery. They serve what has to be the best pastry ever, the morning bun, orange and cinnamon tinged, rolled in granulated sugar right out of the oven, this light cinnamon roll like creation, without the goo and frosting, is phenomenal, but get there early if you want one. This place has defining versions of pain au chocolat, ham and gruyere croissants, buttery light and flaky. I love the hazelnut and chocolate tarts. The hot sandwiches are incredible, using fresh baked breads, incredible meats and cheeses. I could go on, but I'm salivating onto my keyboard.

    Tartine Bakery
    600 Guerrero St.
    (Guerrero @ 18th)
    San Francisco, CA 94110
    phone: 415.487.2600
    hours: Tuesday - Sunday (7:30 am - 7 pm)
    Monay (8 am - 2 pm)

    3 Replies
    1. re: JL

      so many wonderful suggestions, thank you. i definitely need to explore East bay offerings more...

      .and 'dough dive' coming soon, aiming for mid-April. i'll post to list and then set up a private e-mail for more plans.

      chowhound rules. thanks!

      1. re: JL

        I agree with the above - there is nothing in my world that can compare to anything fresh out of the oven at Tartine. pain au jambon, pain au chocolat, bread pudding, Chad's bread!! I am drooling right now so I must stop.

        1. re: JL

          We stopped by Tartine last week on the urging of many on the LA board who touted this place. I didn't find their croissants to my liking - far too buttery for my tastes. But the croque monsieur and bread pudding were fantastic. In fact, we thought everything we tried (aside from the croissants) were worth the visit.

          Having spent the last 10 days as a tourist from Santa Cruz through Tomales Bay in north Marin, I should also mention Bovine Bakery in Point Reyes Station, and Tomales Bakery in the little town of Tomales. Like Tartine to a smaller extent, all they do is bake and the focus is very strong at both of these places.

        2. Acme.

          The breads have been famous for years, but the pastries (which are available only at the bakeries in Berkeley and the SF Ferry Building) are wonderful. Great croissants. Cinnamon swirls. Ham and cheese croissants. Apple turnovers.

          Yummy, yummy, yummy!

          Also, Boniere Bakery on Park St. in Alameda makes some good stuff, including delicious ham and cheese biscuits (or do they call them scones?). And I'll stack up the apple struedel and the cinnamon (aka morning) bun at Sophia Bakery (also on Park St.) against anyone (I think their version is better than then much-vaunted morning bun at La Farine).

          7 Replies
          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            I would vote for La Baguette in the Stanford Shopping Center. They have the best fruit tarts and when I was in the East Coast, I had someone deliver them when they flew to CA for a job interview :)

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              Since we're updating this thread, Sophia Bakery is long gone, and Boniere has changed hands. Their pastries are only so-so, but they do have a good selection of tasty petit fours, which is a rarity in the Bay Area.

              My go-to bakery now in Alameda is Feel Good Bakery in the Alameda Marketplace. The breads are all wonderful -- my favorites are the French baguette (they make a couple of different baguettes), the wholey moley and the cranberry walnut, which is great to serve with cheese -- the croissants have been up and down but are up at the moment (except Wednesdays, which must be the regular baker's day off). I had an individual potato leek quiche today that was expensive ($5.50) but absolutely delicious. In general, I think the prices for their pastries are high, but their breads are competitively priced with other artisan bakers.

              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                Forgot the locators:

                -----
                Feel Good Bakery
                1650 Park St, Alameda, CA 94501

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  Speaking only of unflavored breads, Feel Good's are pretty good but I'd buy there only if I didn't have time to get some Acme.

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    For some reason I typed cranberry walnut -- it's actually current walnut. They do make a cranberry pumpkin seed bread, but that's a lighter bread than the dark, dense current walnut.

                  2. re: Ruth Lafler

                    Ruth: Well, I have to confess my sin of gluttony earlier this week. I was only going stop by Acme to pick up a Pain Epi and a Seeded Wheat, but noooooo
                    ooooooooooo! I just couldn't stop myself from getting a ham and cheese turnover. I ate it in the car with a $50 cafe au lait from Cafe Fanny. Okay, it's not $50, but it is really overpriced for such a small cup.

                    Glad also to hear of a place for good morning buns. I truly love La Farine's version when they are cooked through. However, I've found that too often they're almost raw dough in the center. Yuck.

                    I admit that I only get them 3 or 4 times a year, but still. Glad to hear about Sophia Bakery.

                    1. re: oakjoan

                      That post was from 2004 -- Sophia is, unfortunately, long gone, as noted in another post above. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/2846... and Boniere changed hands as well and no longer makes those yummy ham and cheese biscuits.

                      Glad you enjoyed the ham and cheese turnover from Acme, though.

                  3. Four favorites in Berkeley(sort of in order of preference):

                    Crixa, on Adeline, catty-corner from the Berkeley Bowl--dense, not overly sweet, East-European-ish pastries--an amazing apple pie, small buttery pastries filled w/ prune or poppy seed (kufli?), wonderful ginger cake, great individual Boston cream pies, terrific coffees and teas, and a very pleasant room in which to sit

                    Lola's, on Solano, mid-way (on the block w/ Barney's)--sweet and savory pastries--I love their jammers (a large and light and buttery cookie topped w/ jam)--crostadas, cakes, pies (also a great Boston cream, but they vary the selection, so that may not be there when you visit)--they also do "real" food (recently named one of the top 5 or 10 roasted chickens in the entire Bay Area by the SF Chronicle)--take-out only

                    Cafe Fanny--not technically a bakery (next to the Acme Bakery)--San Pablo and Cedar--but they have super baked stuff--to-die-for millet muffins in the AM (this is Alice Waters' place, and the muffins are apparently her mother's or grandmother's recipe), exceptional cakes and other sweets in the afternoon--they sometimes do something called a Belgian sugar cake that takes a few days to make, w/ pastry layers and custard--perfection. Also other non-bakery fare (great eggs in the AM, sandwiches and the like later in the day).

                    Cheeseboard Collective, Shattuck and Vine--obviously known for its extraordinary selection of cheeses, but, as is evidenced in their new cookbook, wonderful breakfast pastries and fabulous baguettes and other breads as well--one of my favorite breakfasts is one of their baguette pieces w/ jam and sweet butter, accompanied by a latte from the original Peets, just up the road

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: susabelle

                      Specific Cheeseboard favorites:

                      Pecan rolls
                      Scones
                      Cheese rolls
                      and especially when they are warm out of the oven - Chocolate things - so good!

                      Arizmendi on Lakeshore has the same offerings, but they do not seem quite as good, the pastries and rolls often seem too dry.

                      Grand Bakery at 3264 Grand Avenue is a kosher bakery with excellent challah, macaroons, etc.

                      I also like cinnamon twists from Na Bolom in Berkeley, 2708 Russell St, right off College in Elmwood.

                      1. re: piegirl

                        Nabolom is fantastic. Their morning buns and cinnamom twists are buttery and rich. They also make the greatest cheese danishes I have ever had.

                        2708 Russell St Berkeley

                        1. re: piegirl

                          a friend just told me that Grand Bakery, Oakland makes the Best challah around.

                          -----
                          Grand Bakery
                          3264 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94610

                          1. re: hhc

                            There have been several whole topics on the best challah since that 2004 post:

                            http://www.chow.com/search?search%5Bq...

                      2. c
                        Cyrus J. Farivar

                        The Bread Garden on Domingo (next door to Peet's, across from the Claremont Hotel) in Berkeley has been a longtime family favorite. Their ginger cookies, pesto bread, and pastries are always a hit.

                        I also like La Farine on College Ave. in north Oakland, south of the Elmwood district, just across from Safeway at College/Claremont. Croissants are superb.

                        1. in a sleightly different vein from the afore mentioned - Golden Gate Bakery on Grant Ave. in SF Chinatown makes the perfect egg custard tart....many of their other offerings are also beloved by others. Across town - Cafe Bakery 1345 Noriega St. SF 94122 makes my favorite baked BBQ pork bun.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: gordon wing

                            love golden gate bakery, it worth the drive from south bay to Chinatown