Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Jan 12, 2008 01:29 PM

Sourdough near Union Square

I'll be in SF this Monday-Saturday. I'd like to be able to pick up some sourdough loaves to bring back with me.

I'll be staying about 2 blocks west of Union Square, and leaving for the airport at about 9 AM Saturday. Where's the best place to pick a couple of loaves that morning?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Acme is my preferred bread and their outpost in the Ferry Building is open at 8 AM Saturday. You could walk if you have time, or if you're taking a cab to the airport, have them stop off there. Allow a little extra time either way, since Saturday morning is the farmer's market and it can be a zoo.


    1. There is a Boudin Bakery at Macy's both in the basement and just at the entrance. The one at street level is on O'Farrell between Powell and Stockton.

      And FYI to all the gourmands reading this. I loooooove good bread, the best possible, and would consider myself a rather gourmet palate and I think their fresh loafs of sourdough are excellent. I live just off Union Square and this is where I go to get a sandwich.

      11 Replies
      1. re: laurenb

        I completely agree with laurenb. As good a bread Acme is. It ain't the same as good old fashioned San Francisco sour dough. Great bread with a crust so hard it makes you wish you did a better job flossing your teeth.

        1. re: chipman

          The word you looking for is Larraburu. Gone but not forgotten.

          1. re: wolfe

            I'll say; I have recollections of walking down Ortega to the corner market, circa 1966, for a loaf, and marching my little brother, then age 6, back up the hill by bonking him on the head with the Larraburu, which was crusty enough to be useful for this purpose. . .

          2. re: laurenb

            I fourth them. If you want the real classic San Francisco sourdough, Boudin Bakery is the best choice. The wider, and crustier the better.

              1. re: Scott_R

                If the wayback machine was working and Larraburu was available Boudin would be toast, or not.

                1. re: wolfe

                  One rumor is that Boudin bought the Larraburu starter.

                  1. re: wolfe

                    I hadn't thought about Larrabaru in a long time, but when I was a kid growing up in Berkeley it was a near daily part of life. My dad was a native San Franciscan, and I think it was probably true that families had preferences among the sourdoughs. We were definitely a Larrabaru family--once in while Toscana or Colombo. Don't think I ever had Boudin until I was an adult.

                    But what i remember about Larrabaru was being sent down to the store in the afternoon--timed for the late bake delivery. On winter afternoons when it was raining you could put the paper bag under your coat and feel the warmth of those loaves as you walked up the hill home. Like a lot of things, our memories can make things better, faster or tastier with time, but I'm pretty sure that Larrabaru was the best SF sourdough I ever had personally. And I agree that the advent of the plastic inner wrapper was a sad day for sourdough. It has to have a rind-like crust that is thick. Larrabaru was good with dungeness crab, some local cheese or abalone, a good local wine and a cloudy rainy day up on Tomales Bay or somewhere like that--Point Reyes was a Larrabaru spot. You needed a girl to share it with. God didn't make sourdough bread to last days and days. Sacrilege.

            1. Don't they sell Boudin at the airport?

              5 Replies
              1. re: rworange

                Best place to get Boudin is from their Geary factory, or the Boudin restaurant at the Wharf. They sell a lighter (less crusty, softer) bake intended for retail sale which is meant to stay on the shelves longer. For whatever reason, it doesn't taste the same.

                1. re: sugartoof

                  Geary factory? That's not Macy's (which is on Geary)? I looked at their web site and didn't see any other Geary locations.

                  1. re: Scott_R

                    No, it is the location on 10th Ave which is on the the corner of Geary and 10th. Not convenient to Union Sqaure and nothing special in terms of ambiance. Just a little counter. They just happen to bake the bread there. The Fisherman's Wharf location would be more convenient, though honestly I can't tell the diference between the bread sold in the cafes like the one at Macy's and the bakery itself.

                    1. re: rworange

                      Oh $#!/

                      Called Boudin, and you can't get bread at their Macy's location before 9 on Saturday. I have to leave for SFO around the same time--and it's a shared van, so I can't just stop by. Guess it'll have to be from the SFO airport location.

                      1. re: Scott_R

                        Might as well buy it the day before then. The stuff at the airport probably isn't going to be any fresher. The other downside with buying at the airport is price. Wherever you buy it. it's still going to be a fine sourdough.

              2. There's also a Bristol Farms Market in the San Francisco Centre on Market across from Powell..they have an in house bakery, although I have never tried their wares...


                1. If bought the day ahead when you get home moisten the bread and into a 400 degree oven for 6 to 8 minutes to refresh.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: wolfe

                    or you can freeze it in large pieces and thaw then toast when want to eat