In praise of Bette's lemon pistachio shortbread
I travel around the Bay Area by car for work, and have a tendency to stop for tea and a cookie at lots of local bakeries. After extensive 'field testing' I have no doubt that the lemon pistachio shortbread at Bette's to Go in Berkeley gets my vote for best cookie in the Bay Area.
The cookies are shaped like a little hockey puck, studded with whole pistachios and iced in a lemon glaze. The intense buttery flavor is offset perfectly by the tartness of the lemon and the richness of the pistachios.
I stop here often enough to know they can be a little inconsistent-- if there are only a few left in the case, you might want to order something else that day. But if you can get your hands on a relatively fresh batch, they have a perfectly tender crumb. Divine.
Terrific posts, tamarinda. I'd love to hear more from you.
Last fall I stopped by Bette's for the first time in ages. It was 6:30am on a Saturday, before the to-go storefront was open. I was highly amused that I could actually park right in front of this establishment that almost always has a line. Anyway, I stepped into the diner and got a morning bun for the road that was as good as I remembered. However, the scone didn't do it for me.
Bette's Oceanview Diner
1807 4th St, Berkeley, CA 94710
1807 4th St, Berkeley, CA 94710
hmmm, off the top of my head, cookies I have known and loved include:
- The excellent Alfajores sold by the Chilean woman at the Alemany Farmer's Market on Saturdays. I believe the stand is called "Sabores del Sur." Skip the coffee, but order more than one of these gems- truly decadent. Rich dulce de leche sandwich cookies with a tender crumb.
- An odd choice, but the "Health Nut Cookie" sold at Harvest Market on Market Street in the Castro. Not too wholesome-- tastes of real butter, lots of coconut, and chopped dried fruit. Nice thick cookie with a great texture.
- Almond rocher at Tartine, subtle saltiness and a delicate meringue.
- Chocolate crackles from Sweet Constructions (sold from their cookie cart and at the Thursday Mission Community Market)
- coffee macarons at Paulette's on Hayes St.
- chocolate cherry rugelach from Noe Valley Bakery on 24th
- I am not a huge fan of the over-the-top cookies from Specialty's, with one exception: the almond tea cookie is delicious (but leaves a trail of powdered sugar mess in its wake).
- Hot Cookie in the Castro may be a little gimmicky, but if you can catch a fresh batch of gingersnaps right out of the oven, they are surprisingly delicious!
- I used to love the pumpkin cookies from Sweet Inspiration on Market St., but the last one I sampled was awful-- heavy and leaden texture. Maybe it was just a fluke! This was my very first taste of San Francisco when I first moved here 15 years ago, so I'll keep trying it for nostalgic reasons.
- Sandbox Bakery on Cortland, Thorough Bread on Church and the original Bay Boulangerie on Pine (NOT the endless spin-offs around the city) have a range of good options-- I don't have one particular favorite I've tried enough to recommend, though.
407 Castro St, San Francisco, CA 94114
833 Cortland Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110
Mission Community Market
E 22nd St, Oakland, CA
Another vote for those Sabores del Sur alfajores at the Alemany farmers market. Also, it's been a while, but the chocolate cookies with chocolate chips at Katrina Rozelle in Oakland were some of my favorites. Don't know if they still have them.
5931 College Ave, Oakland, CA
Sabores del Sur
712 Bancroft Road Suite 236, Walnut Creek, CA 94596