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Best East Bay Bakery

j
jenikap Apr 19, 2012 10:38 AM

What's your favorite East Bay Bakery?

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  1. wolfe Apr 19, 2012 10:43 AM

    Crixa Cakes for cakes.
    Acme for bread.
    http://www.crixacakes.com/

    1. majordanby Apr 19, 2012 11:03 AM

      Acme bakery - I live a few blocks from the Berkeley location. Even if I wasnt that close, I would still buy from them - consistently good.

      La Farine - Morning bun, croissants, hot cross buns, challah, sourdough baguettes. I go to their Solano store when im nearby.

      Cheeseboard/Arizmendi - I think they're hit or miss. But, I live nearby and they have several good breads/pastries.

      Vital Vittles - I really like three of their breads - seed/nut, sesame millet, and their apple/nut. They also make this banana/chocolate cake that is deadly but delicious.

      I put hopkins street bakery, virginia bakery, octoberfeast (whose bakery is located in SF, but they sell their breads at their Univ store), feel good bakery (get their focaccia), the bread workshop, semi freddies (i like their challah and cinnamon bread), and the bread garden a tier below (but, they have certain items i do like). im fortunate enough to live within walking/biking distance to all these bakeries except feel good in alameda...and i still can get most of their breads and pastries from their stand at the JLS farmers market on Sunday.

      I guess my main answer is that if i want sliced bread, i go to vital vittles. if i want baguettes/whole loaves/artisan breads, i go to acme. pastries i go to farine and arizmendi/cheeseboard. and i go to the others if 1.) im nearby and/or 2.) im dying for one of their specialty items.

      1 Reply
      1. re: majordanby
        Robert Lauriston Apr 19, 2012 11:29 AM

        I live three miles from Acme, but usually go there to buy bread since it's the freshest.

        I believe Vital Vittles makes only two doughs, whole wheat and sourdough rye. The variations are just adding extra things. The millet adds a nice crunch. I find their cakes leaden and gummy.

      2. m
        milklady Apr 19, 2012 11:35 AM

        Bread: Acme

        Desserts, depending on desire/need: Masse's for cakes, cookies and very special treats; Crixa for some kinds of pie, chocolate mousse, rugelach and other selected treats, La Farine for morning buns and chocolate croissants, and perhaps Katrina Rozelle for reliably good cakes that can be decorated however you'd like (with a long lead time and high price).

        13 Replies
        1. re: milklady
          Robert Lauriston Apr 19, 2012 11:38 AM

          La Farine also makes first-rate French-style fruit tarts.

          La Bedaine is good at most of the same things La Farine is.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston
            m
            milklady Apr 19, 2012 11:47 AM

            Good reminder about Le Bedaine. It is always worth sampling what they have available.

            I sometimes like La Farine's fruit tarts, but they're often made with underripe, out of season fruits, so I am careful with what I order there.

            1. re: milklady
              m
              meellerbee Oct 8, 2012 01:44 PM

              I am a huge fan of Le Farine. I'll have to try Le Bedaine, but to me, Le Farine is right up there with Amandine for top bakeries on the West Coast.

              1. re: meellerbee
                j
                jaiko Oct 8, 2012 04:28 PM

                We just tried several items from Le Bedaine - apple tarts, fig tarts, chocolate tart, plain and chocolate croissants, palmiers, financiers. We were very disappointed. Low quality butter with little flavor, dry texture on both tart pastry and croissants. Palmiers also low quality butter - we greatly mourn the passing of Philippe's Patisserie/SF, who made stunningly great palmiers. Financiers are super-sweet, but a decent orange flavor.

                Overall, croissants are vastly inferior to Parker-Lusseau/Monterey. Their fruit tarts and chocolate tarts are also inferior to the new Borgo Italia/Oakland.

                1. re: jaiko
                  c
                  chocolatetartguy Oct 9, 2012 03:46 PM

                  Yes, Philippe's made the best palmier. I am thinking that his successor, Bonjour Patisserie (crappy name), is using his recipes, but things don't seem quite the same. The pear frangipane are still good and I like the Russian teacakes.

                  I was underwhelmed by La Bedaine's fig tart, but the quiche and the madeleines were quite good.

                  You might try Greens-to-go's pastries. They do wonderful things with chocolate: brownies and pudding-like chocolate crunch cookies. They do a nice fruit crisp too, but no bread.

                  1. re: chocolatetartguy
                    mocha Jan 4, 2014 07:24 PM

                    Phillipe is back in business, www.patisserie.com, but mostly wholesale. In the "find us" tab, there's a Richmond cafe location listed as carrying Philippe's creations. I know this list is not complete, at least for the San Francisco side. The other half and I gobbled through a pack of mini palmiers this weekend at an SF cafe. Divine.

                    1. re: mocha
                      Melanie Wong Jan 5, 2014 01:24 PM

                      Here's the correct link for "find us",
                      http://www.patisseriephilippe.com/fin...

                      And the listing for the East Bay cafe:

                      Cafe Pascal
                      2181 Meeker Avenue
                      Richmond, CA 94804
                      Hours: 6:00am - 8:00pm daily

                      1. re: Melanie Wong
                        mocha Jan 5, 2014 03:13 PM

                        Oops! Thanks for the correction.

                        1. re: mocha
                          Melanie Wong Jan 5, 2014 03:14 PM

                          Do you recall the name of the cafe in San Francisco you visited this weekend that's not listed?

                          1. re: Melanie Wong
                            mocha Jan 5, 2014 03:24 PM

                            It's across the street and down a bit from Japantown.

                            Yakini Q cafe
                            1640 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94115
                            (415) 441-9292

                            It's a great, quiet space with jazz softly playing, tables along the walls and cushy furniture in the middle. The counter guy we talked to was a big fan of Phillipe's. He had macarons, croissants, diamante cookies and a bunch of other stuff.

                        2. re: Melanie Wong
                          j
                          jaiko Jan 5, 2014 07:56 PM

                          Thank you, Melanie - this Richmond cafe is so going on our list of places to try! I will call before going to see if they carry Philippe's palmiers, though. Nobody else's even comes close, LOL.

                          1. re: jaiko
                            Melanie Wong Jan 5, 2014 08:33 PM

                            We await your research findings!

                            1. re: Melanie Wong
                              hhc Jan 6, 2014 06:23 PM

                              I called YakiniQ cafe and they do sell Phillipe's Diamant cookies $6.50/bag & Mini Palmiers $6.50/bag, I took a pic back in Sept 2013. They have a $10 minimum to use credit cards! I like getting Nutella Latte $3.95 there. If there's other places that have Nutella Latte hope others share.

                               
                               
          2. Glencora Sep 9, 2012 12:33 PM

            I went into the Hopkins Street bakery for the first time in a few years (since I "got over" their jelly donuts). The prices seemed lower than I remembered. I bought a loaf of bread that seemed homemade, in a good way: very yeasty, rustically shaped, with a thin, light crust. It actually reminded me of the bread my grandmother used to make. Not at all like Acme, but nice for a change.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Glencora
              nicedragonboy Oct 11, 2012 12:53 PM

              I had heard that Hopkins was under new ownership fairly recently. As a result a few new items are showing up now. Can anyone verify?

            2. s
              sundeck sue Oct 9, 2012 01:35 PM

              Hopkins Bakery's Pain au Lait is the reason to go there (perhaps that's the one you got that reminded you of your grandmother's)--the rest, not so special. The service consistently lousy.

              Crixa for cakes and pies (when it gets to be fall, I start dreaming about their pumpkin)--and just being there makes me happy.

              Cheeseboard for Sunday Bread and baguette, esp. when the latter is still warm

              Acme for Pain Epi, Upstairs Bread, levain

              Masse's and Katrina Rozelle's cakes are beautiful for special occasions--lots of people are wild about Masse's chocolate cake w/ shards of hardened chocolate architecturally arrayed; and I find that glam, but not esp. tasty

              On the fruit tart debate: I agree re La Farine's use of out-of-season fruit--resulting in the fact that while they are always beautiful, sometimes their tarts are tasty, sometimes more pretty than tasty, always a good crust--and coincidentally just had Le Bedaine fruit tarts for the first time this weekend @ a party--the fig was delicious, figgy and custardy, w/ a nice crust--the apple, blah.

              1. Stephanie Wong Oct 9, 2012 02:33 PM

                La Farine: rustica baguette, morning bun, kalamata olive bread (I tend to avoid the Piedmont Avenue location due to the store staff's indifference to service)

                Taste of Denmark: apple /apricot turnovers, Swedish rolls, dream of cream cake, custard Danish

                Semifreddi: sweet batard

                1. f
                  foodeye Oct 9, 2012 05:12 PM

                  Another one not yet mentioned is Starter Bakery, who makes a really great palmier in addition to the best kouign amann. Find them various places, including Temescal Sunday Farmer's Mkt.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: foodeye
                    e
                    Eatingforme Oct 10, 2012 07:45 PM

                    Sweet Adeline makes amazing cakes. They made my wedding cake and everyone talked about how delicious and beautiful it was! My Berkeley office always orders their cakes for special occasions and each one is better than the last. They are also extremely affordable, the best price for wedding cake I found in the area.

                  2. m
                    meellerbee Oct 18, 2012 10:23 AM

                    Just went to Borgo Italia today after hearing about it on this thread. The food is wonderful (especially the pastries and espresso for breakfast). Franco (the owner/manager) is an absolutely great guy. Go their early and often.

                    Borgo Italia
                    499 9th St.
                    Oakland, CA 94607
                    Tel: (510) 251-1008
                    http://www.borgoitaliaoakland.com
                    2 blocks from the 12th St./Oakland City Center BART station

                    1. t
                      Torina Jan 29, 2014 10:30 PM

                      We go to La Farine with regularity; love the baguettes, the laminated dough treats (frangipane croissant!), cakes. I got a delicious princess cake there.

                      Starter Bakery Kouign Amann, but they're almost too buttery.

                      Feel Good (Alameda) bakery epis. Bonus, they are all organic.

                      Anyone a fan of Fournee? http://www.fourneebakery.com/#!menu/c5a2
                      A friend likes it, but La Farine is our habit.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Torina
                        f
                        foodeye Jan 30, 2014 08:48 AM

                        I have been impressed with the few items I have tried from Fournee (a pan integrale, which they will sell in 1/2 or 1/4 loaves and will slice, too), a savory muffin, an eclair....the Paris-brest was calling me, too, but I resisted.

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