Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Apr 21, 2011 03:22 PM

Good baked goods AND good coffee, Southbay-- impossible?

I actually returned a donut the other day.

I was at the Starbucks near Good Sam in Los Gatos. I know many people hate the Starbucks ... well, everything, but I am fine with their lattes. The old fashioned donut however, made me gag. It was soggy. The cake part was infused with a grease taste and was stale and oil soaked at the same time. I went back in line and said the donut was "stale" (as that was the nicest word I could say about it )and I'd like to exchange it for a fresh pastry. The cashier noted that ALL the pastries were fresh today, but she kindly gave me a pumpkin scone (like orange colored styrofoam with sugar icing) and sent me on my way.

I've had this problem before of not being able to get a decent baked good and coffee in the same place and have resolved it by making two trips. One to Great Bear Coffee in Los Gatos (vegan pastries) and the another to Fleur de Cocoa (burns their espresso) for croissants. One to Bell Tower (weak coffee) for apricot danish and the other to Starbucks next door. One to Peet's and then to Happy Donuts in Cupertino. However, I'd really like one stop preferable in Cupertino, Los Gatos, Saratoga or thereabouts.

Red Rock Coffee in Mountain View has pretty good pastries and good coffee and Flower Flour in San Jose has better pastry than coffee but both are good. I don't like the coffee or pastries at Panera. Haven't found any pastries of note at Whole Foods. Do you have any suggestions for one place that has both?

Happy Donut
100 Bush St # 101, San Francisco, CA

20807 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino, CA 95014

Great Bear Coffee
19 N Santa Cruz Ave Ste Frnt, Los Gatos, CA 95030

Bell Tower
20490 Saratoga Los Gatos Rd, Saratoga, CA 95070

Red Rock Coffee
201 Castro St, Mountain View, CA 94041

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Hi. It's in Palo Alto, but the Mayfield Bakery is really good.

    Mayfield Bakery & Cafe
    855 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94301

    2 Replies
    1. re: kbengler

      I'll give the coffee there a try. The only non problem with Mayfield is that I love Kara's cupcakes and would find the car driving over there instead.

      1. re: Tumkers

        Good point Tumkers! Even the gluten free cupcakes at Kara are delish.

    2. I hear your pain, Tumkers. The only place I know for certain that is safe and all good is Barefoot. They have exceptionally good coffees and very good croissants + other baked goods.

      I've been to Red Berry for Coffee only. Haven't tried the baked goods but as they are very dedicated to quality coffees, I expect them to also have very good baked goods.

      Top Nosh is on my list of places to try because they're now serving ECCO Caffe. Maybe someone has been recently and can report?

      Barefoot Coffee Roasters
      5237 Stevens Creek Blvd, Santa Clara, CA 95051

      Top Nosh Cafe
      1167 Lincoln Ave, San Jose, CA 95125

      8 Replies
      1. re: scarmoza

        Here's a little something I found about Starter Bakery. It might be the current pastry supplier to Barefoot.

        1. re: scarmoza

          Satura Cakes is a supplier, too - I've gotten their Kouign Amann there.

          Satura Cakes
          199 E Campbell Ave, Campbell, CA

          1. re: Claudette

            That's good to know. It was sad to see Satura close in Downtown Campbell.

          2. re: scarmoza

            Yup, you're right. Barefoot Coffee does carry our pastries, including our Kouign Amann in traditional and chocolate. You can find out more about us from the folks in the cafe.

            1. re: starterbakery

              Thanks for confirming that, starterbakery! The piece in SF weekly/SFoodie looks divine.


            2. re: scarmoza

              Tumkers, you really do need to try the Kouign Amann (from Starter Bakery, sold at Barefoot). What lovely butteriness, sweetness, and texture! Also, the plain croissants are buttery, flaky flowers that you'll want to eat petal-layer by petal-layer. If there are better croissants in the South Bay, I'd like to know where.

            3. re: scarmoza

              Barefoot is making some of the best coffee in the bay area: under Local 123 and BlueBottle's syphon, but that's about it . I think it's a touch above Red Rock's hand-made cups. And, it's actually in your request area.

              Red Rock Cafe
              1010 Lincoln Ave, Napa, CA 94558

              Local 123
              2049 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94702

              1. re: bbulkow

                I need to give it another try. I've had an espresso there and a croissant late in the day and it was a wee --uh, dry-- to be expected after 5 PM. BB may be wasted on me. I am a middle of the road, recreational coffee drinker.

            4. Second the Palo Alto Town&Country pastry places mentioned (Mayfield + that unique cupcakes place) and there are other notable unique _general_ eateries there (Calafia, Howie's Artisan Pizza) so I would expect to find good coffee _somewhere_ within short walk.

              But what about Sugar Butter Flour? The western-Sunnyvale location off ECR was going strong when I last checked, it had quite decent coffee and superlative creative pastries, and we touched on that in a previous discussion you contributed to, Tumkers:


              Sugar Butter Flour
              669 S Bernardo Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94087

              855 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA

              Howie's Artisan Pizza
              855 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94301

              3 Replies
              1. re: eatzalot

                Town and Country has Peet's.

                I've only gone to the SBF in the Pruneyard in Campbell. I haven't hit the right pastry there, I think. I am under-wowed. But clearly in the minority, since everyone I know raves about it. I will slowly make my way through their line up until I find the magic!

                1. re: Tumkers

                  I'm with you, Tumkers, on SBF: I've tried most of their things in both locations and so far think only the croissants are exceptional.

                2. Have you tried Flower Flour in Willow Glen? Tiny place, serious about pastry and as I recall the coffee was good.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: emi50

                    Love the morning buns there ---and the atmosphere.

                    1. re: Tumkers

                      Oh my, yes, the morning buns. Does the coffee satisfy?

                  2. maybe it's too out of the way, but have you tried the bakery/coffee at Hannah?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: ankimo

                      Have you ever been to Tootsie's? Again, in Palo Alto at the Stanford Barn (next to the hospital), but homemade pastries and Italian coffee are my kind of breakfast...

                      Tootsie's at the Stanford Barn
                      700 Welch Rd Ste 118, Palo Alto, CA

                      1. re: VanessaItalyinSF

                        Besides being obviously stale, what is Italian coffee?

                        1. re: poser

                          You know, a cappuccino that has the right proportion of coffee and milk, an espresso done right instead of being bitter like most of the espressos you get around, a stovetop coffee pot like you would drink in an Italian house... things like that.