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What's all the hoopla about with Tartine bakery

  • r

I tried out their Croissants and one of their chocolate cakes after reading a rave review about them..what a huge disapointment..the Croissants were gummy and not flakey,cake was to sweet and dence and they didn't even have any bread at 9am..what's up with that??
I'm staying with the Boulangerie..more professional,better sevice and great pastry..
and Citzen Cake for my chocolate cake fix..
if you know of any better I'd like to hear from you..

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  1. There have been several long threads about Tartine from people who love it and people who share your view.

    Most recently: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/36518...

    1. Amen. I just bought a birthday cake from Tartine last Friday in hopes that it would surpass any other store-bought cake in the city, since I ran out of time to make my own. I chose the lemon meringue, a large cake for $41, easily enough to feed 8-10. What a dissapointment!
      The cake itself was bland, the lemon flavor came across as tinny syrup, no zest to speak of and the meringue was flat tasting. It looked great, very celebratory but please, for the love of God, Tartine, embrace salt and vanilla into your desserts.
      After the obligatory first slice, a good third of the cake sat on the counter all weekend, tempting noone, not even the two year old.
      I've enjoyed things from Tartine in the past, but this experience will not compel me to buy cakes/tarts anytime soon.
      I truly do not know where to turn when I need to BUY a dessert. Just tried Citizen Cake last week as well, even more dissapointing.

      11 Replies
      1. re: rabaja

        Have you tried any cakes from Delessio?

        Tartine is famous for not having bread in the morning. They bake in the afternoon, so the bread is ready in time for people to take home for dinner. Apparently this schedule also allows the bakers to have somewhat of a more normal schedule, rather than having to be up at 3 am.

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          Delessio is justly famous on this board for great chocolate things. They may have other types but the few times I've been I didn't look past the chocolate.

        2. re: rabaja

          This is not in the City, but I've had the pleasure of eating a few pieces of birthday cake from Sweet Things Bakery in Tiburon -- the chocolate with raspberry filling, white cake with coconut frosting --- the cake was moist and delicious in both cases and I usually can't stand cake because it's dry and too sweet.

          1. re: melisky

            Is it Sweet Things that distributes cookies, banana bread, etc., to a lot of coffeehouses (Ritual, for example)?

            As for Tartine, the Passion Fruit Lime Bavarian cake is fantastic!

            The best chocolate cake I've had in SF is from Arizmendi (9th & Irving location only). They sell slices, but they will sell whole cakes as well ($24, I think).

            They have a lot of great sweets at Delessio, but there's one chocolate "cake" there I would never buy again. I don't know what it's called, but it's basically nothing but ganache, which I found pretty unappetizing.

            1. re: Atomica

              City Bakery supplies a lot of the coffee houses in the city, including Ritual. I'm not sure if Sweet Things is related to City Bakery.

              1. re: pane

                I think Sweet Things does supply several small coffee shops in the city. .

                1. re: pane


                  I came across these amazing scones at a nearby coffee shop, and they mentioned that they are supplied by city bakery. I googled city bakery and came across your posting on chowhound!

                  I was wondering if you know where it is located? Thanks!


                  1. re: prisf

                    Wholesale only.

                    City Baking Co
                    1373 Lowrie Ave S, San Francisco, CA

              2. re: melisky

                Sweet Things has an oulet inside Cal-Mart in Laurel Village in SF: http://www.sweetthings.com/retail.html

                1. re: Mari

                  I used to work near there sometimes and loved the perfect simplicity of their cupcakes. I never managed to try anything else there, I was too stuck on the cupcakes. Nothing frou-frou, just the right balance of cake and icing, and nice moist cake.

              3. re: rabaja

                My favorite bakery birthday cakes come from Schubert's Bakery on Clement:


                Their mousse cakes are fabulous and they come in lots of different flavors.

              4. I wouldn't think to order a cake from Tartine. Doesn't seem like their style.

                A gummy croissant is undercooked. I'd send it back.

                1. I loved Tartine. We had the Gougiere. Cheese and pepper in the dough and it was light and flaky with a wonderful savory taste. Truly enjoyable.

                  Loved the quiche. It's the very, very light type of quiche with a perfect crust. Only complaint is that I would have preferred it warmer than the just over room temperature it was served at.

                  The killer was the passion fruit/lime bavarian cake. Got that recommendation off of Chowhound and so very glad I got a piece of it. I don't even like coconut, but am a big passion fruit fan. Have never had a cake filling so incredibly creamy without being too sweet. Wish LA was closer for just that cake alone.

                  Very frustrating as after waiting in line (about 45 minutes) would have loved to get some more items to go after we finished our breakfast. We were told we'd have to wait in that line again (which had grown even longer). Seems they might have been able to sell us a 'to go' bag at that stage. . . . . Oh well. Didn't need the calories anyway.

                  1. I do love Tartine, but have had some things that are less than stellar. What I do think they do that is amazing (and both my brother and I get for our birthdays every year) is their Banana Cream Pie Tart. The crust is perfect, layered with caramel and chocolate, their filling is unctious and creamy and banana-y, and they cover it with fresh bananas and chocolate curlicues and it is delicious!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Doodleboomer

                      I think there's too much going on in that tart, and it's really hard to cut through or get your fork through the bottom crust. Not enough banana cream.

                      1. re: Atomica

                        I agree - the one I bought actually had no filling at all, other than a few slices of banana: crust, banana slices, whipped cream was all there was. It tasted okay, but not worth the $ nor the wait. The bread was wonderful, though.

                    2. I've had great pastries at Tartine. Their almond croissant is everything an almond croissant should be- flaky, moist almond filling and dusted with powdered sugar and toasted almonds and somehow not too sweet! I agree with Atomica about Delessio's chocolate cake- too much ganache to cake ratio- but very impressive to look at. The canaliers at Boulangerie are good but their bread was underwhelming considering the wait and the price. I was also not impressed with the passionfruit cake from Citizen Cake.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: jbsirkin

                        Tartine is great if you order the right things such as the morning bun or the bread pudding with fruit. Croissants are grossly oversized and I've never had one that was gummy on the inside. Agree with the contributor who prefers the croissant from Bay Bread.

                        1. re: jbsirkin

                          I guess bread pudding isn't really my thing, but I went through a phase of ordering it because it's unctuous and fattening and my toddler was not the best eater for a while. She did like morning bread pudding though. Even the bread pudding at Liberty Bakery, whose output I despise for the most part, is better than Tartine's. But I think that's just because I'm not a fruity bread pudding person. It looks extremely gross to me.

                          The cupcakes at Citizen Cake are just bad too. My husband and I recently split a vanilla cupcake and a chocolate cupcake. He thought the vanilla one was horrible and I though the frosting on the chocolate one was horrible. Then I made my own at home, which were fantastic, and I am certainly no Elizabeth Falkner. They have beautiful stuff there in the case, but a lot of it doesn't taste good and it's FAR too expensive. I recently tasted some of their beet ice cream, which had no taste of beet but plenty of "old refrigerator" taste.

                          The desserts served in the restaurant are really good, though.

                          I'm glad you like the Bay Breads cannele. There have been mixed reports, but I've bought them probably 20 times and they're usually quite good. I'm gearing up to make my own, though.

                          1. re: Atomica

                            You're right -- most of Citizen Cake's stuff is pallid at best. Tartine is better, and yes, the passioinfruit cake is awesome. But for my money the best bakery in the Bay Area is still La Farine in Rockridge. They invented the morning bun, and their almond tea cakes are extraordinary, as are their tarts.

                            1. re: soyarra

                              I look forward to trying La Farine.

                              1. re: soyarra

                                While not everything at Citizen Cake is amazing they have some good stuff. They have the best pate de fruit. I like the mendiants too. Here's a Chow recipe for mendiants.

                                For me the ice cream has been more hit than miss. They are generous with samples so you can taste before buying.

                          2. La Farine is indeed awesome! Citizen Cake has phenomenal desserts, albeit expensive, for special occasions. I have never tried anything 'to go'. I'm surprised to hear all the bad reviews of Tartine... I have always heard that they were good. As with all these places, it seems it just depends on what you're looking for.

                            1. I've only been to the La Farine on Solano, but boy were their morning buns to die for.

                              In the city, Petite Patisserie on 18th and Connecticut has been getting a lot of favorable mentions. I've bought a few small cakes there that were all quite grand.

                              1. interesting..I don't see how anyone can't like Citizen Cake's chocolate cake..so much buttery decadence..