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Golden Gate Bakery - Pastry maker passed away

I don't know if this is breaking news, but I heard it from my brother's MIL last night that GGB's pastry maker recently passed away. According to her, the don tats are no longer worth getting as the pastry is no longer flaky. Unfortunately, I have no other info because of the language barrier between us. I don't know what other pastries have been affected either. Has anyone been there very recently?

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  1. v bad news, if true. unfortunately, i haven't been there recently so can't comment.

    the next best ones i ever had in the bay area were made at harbor village but of course that place is gone. for a brief period he was at hong kong east ocean in emeryville but after a short period he decamped for elsewhere. if anyone has a clue, fill me in.

    1 Reply
    1. re: choctastic

      My favorite egg tart is from Lung Fung Bakery on Clement between 19th Ave & 20th Ave, especially when it comes right out of the oven. They sell out fast, so if you come in the afternoon, you will not get any.

    2. That's exactly the same news that I heard from my mom's friends a while back and I think I may have mentioned this upwards of 2 months ago on this board somewhere. It is a big shame if so.

      1 Reply
      1. re: K K

        Oh, I must have missed it (I tried searching too). So the question is - where do we get our tats now?

      2. I was there a week or so ago and I would have to agree that the daan taat pastry is no longer the same - based on the two that I ate. The filling is still good and it's still served warm but the pastry is not as flaky as before. Not even close. :~ (

        1. I noticed the other day that GGB is closed "for vacation" **again** until Oct. 27 and wondered what was up. I don't know if it's a mourning period (was the pastry maker a family member?) or simply for regrouping. Hopefully it's nothing more portentous. I'm not a big pastry fan, but it's a cherished institution, after all.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Xiao Yang

            Since 97 to 02 of the numerous times I've been to GGB, they've always closed for vacation in August. Them shutting down in October is unusual.

            But to the others, other than the egg tarts, anything else affected? Are the sponge cakes still good? Or the various baked buns?

          2. Just had an egg custard tart from GG. Wow, what a difference. Unless this is an aberration, the pastry is definitely tougher than it was before, though it is still flaky. Also, the crust isn't cut as nicely as before, so you don't see the pretty layers. Also, today my custard filling was watery. i've never had watery custard there before. Pale and somewhat thin, yes, but not watery. I'll keep trying egg custard tarts from here to see if this was just an aberration.

            Don't get me wrong, they're still pretty good but now the quality difference between GG and the cheap East Bay places (Super Napoleon and Ruby King) isn't as much and the east bay custard tarts are half the price.

            16 Replies
            1. re: choctastic

              Still bad. Tough pastry, custard not so watery, but not great either.

              I won't be back. Hurts me to say that, but there's no point anymore.

              1. re: choctastic

                I had a great custard tart with a flakey crust a couple weeks ago. I'm a johnny come lately to this place so maybe I missed out on the glory days, but if these are "still bad" then who makes them better and fresher in the city?

                1. re: sugartoof

                  I've been to GG a bunch of times in the last year. Pains me. The layers used to flake in sheets. Now, they're all mushed up. The pastry itself is tougher than it used to be. The custard was always a tad watery, imho, but most everyone disagrees with me.

                  Actually, I've had decent ones at the Dublin branch of Kee Wah, which I've always thought was the best branch of the chain.

                  To get to your question, I have no idea. There are some dim sum joints in LA that do a very nice dan tat, but that's based on old data. Last year, I had good ones at Elite, for instance. I dunno about now.

                  1. re: choctastic

                    Was there recently and the dan tat was creamy and the shell was good. It was golden and flaky, but maybe not as super flaky as it used to be, but negligible difference. Everything was pretty damn good honestly.

                    1. re: choctastic

                      I, too, was disappointed by the changes at GGB and suffered through soggy crusts. But recently the size has decreased, as well as the price, and I think that produces a more consistent product. Here's my post from August,
                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5498...

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                      Golden Gate Bakery
                      1029 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        hmm, i have been there since that posting and suffered through a tough crust and watery filling. i think they just don't like me or something. it seems like a crap shoot and i have poor aim...

                      2. re: choctastic

                        Interesting to read. I can see the custard being a little more loose than ideal but I have nothing to compare it with. Mine wasn't watery at least. The crust flaked. If it was any less tough, I'd think it would be hard to eat. I guess I'll never know what I missed out on, but it's the best I can ever recall eating in my adult life. In fact, I stopped ordering them a long time ago, but GGB has revived my love for them.

                        1. re: sugartoof

                          Golden Gate does NOT use a coagulator like cornstarch to harden/thicken their custard...it is a light pure egg custard...but if one is used to a thickened custard this may not be to your liking...I personally prefer a pure egg custard, and feel that the egg should be the only binder holding together the custard..it is lighter and in my opinion has a lighter eggier taste and texture.

                          1. re: ChowFun_derek

                            Any other places you know of that serve a pure custard? If it's common, it may just be that I never noticed once they had sat in a case for a day or two.

                            1. re: ChowFun_derek

                              Just because the custard part may be thicker doesn't automatically mean it's been thickened with cornstarch. A purely egg thickened custard will cut cleanly whereas one that's bound with some cornstarch will be more puddinglike, sort of creamyish. I think most places I've been to are egg custards, no cornstarch. That said, I still think GG's tastes watery. To me it tastes like they thin out the custard part as much as they can get away with. That's just my 2 cents.

                              1. re: choctastic

                                often gelatin is used as well..and as a tart becomes slightly more 'aged; the "artificially" thickened custard becomes more 'rubberlike' like to me...a purely egg thickened custard will be lighter and more 'quivery' ...as always it is a matter of personal taste...more thickener, whether cornstarch or gelatin..less egg...for me Golden Gates even 'age' better and are good the next day...while the others desiccate somewhat and pull away from their pastry shells...

                                1. re: ChowFun_derek

                                  while the others desiccate somewhat and pull away from their pastry shells...
                                  Does this make them so unpalatable that you wouldn't give them to your dog?
                                  In short are they are too old to mutt the custard?

                                  1. re: wolfe

                                    For me... and please remember I speak only for myself, you are entitled to your tastes and opinion.....when the thickened custards desiccate and pull from the sides of the pastry shell that "custard" becomes more rubbery or gelatinous.... remember I said "I" do not care for this texture...you may think this is when it is at its' culinary best, and that is fine... sometimes this occurs later in the day when the tarts have been sitting too long in their display case..."I" personally would not purchase these (usually the flakiness of the shell has been compromised as well) so no, I would not purchase these, not even for my dog.
                                    You might LOVE them this way and that is fine for you...and your 'wolfe'.

                                    1. re: ChowFun_derek

                                      I found the separation between the filling and the crust in this case came more from it being a thinner filling that's still warm.

                                      I love the thought that there's an even better tart out there though. Who and where!? Lemme' at it.

                                      1. re: ChowFun_derek

                                        Here's the egg tart at Millbrae's Zen Peninsula that might make you switch teams.
                                        http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3185/2...
                                        And my post here, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/568400

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                                        Zen Peninsula
                                        1180 El Camino Real, Millbrae, CA 94030

                                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                                          Wow, that looks beautiful. Me want. Sorry about responding to an old post, but that photo is still up and it is still beeyootiful.