Chinatown changes: Po Kee, Wonder Foods Bakery
I noticed today that construction is underway at Po Kee (Stockton at Vallejo), the restaurant that everybody likes to ignore, except when making a joke about "slow food." The plywood is up, and a month-long street use permit is in place, so it looks like a major renovation. No evidence yet of an ownership change.
Wonder Foods, the bakery next to Utopia Cafe has been taken over by the owners of a bakery on Taraval (not sure which one) and is getting the finishing touches of major facelift, emerging as "Blossom Bakery," with a more upscale look. It features fancy cakes (including wedding cakes) and espresso. I wondered what the attraction at Wonder Foods was, because it was always busy, but then I figured out it was full of people waiting for day work through the Chinese employment agency across the street or doing their laundry at the laundromat a couple of doors down.
I confirmed that the new owners of Wonder Foods formerly owned Sweet Passions on Taraval & 40th (across from Safeway). They sold Sweet Passions to someone else and bought out the Wonder Food owners. I sampled the sponge cake (not sweet at all, and very meringue-y tasting) and a baked pork bun. Their baked pork buns deserve to be in competition for "the best"; they are more similar to Cafe Bakery's than to the usual Chinatown version with the florescent red overly-sweet "BBQ" filling and are only 75 cents compared to CB's $1.25.
The Sweet Passions - Wonder Foods saga might be related to a partnership split -- one of the former owners of record of Sweet Passions just opened "First Cake" in the old Wirth Brothers Bakery spot on Geary & 23rd.
Are you following me?