Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Parked for a Day (A Pastry and A Walk - Tartine Bakery)

“Sort-of-Sabbatical” Day Eleven, Wednesday June 13

Today is a designated quiet day, hanging with my friend, and making the most of having both internet access and a big table on which to lay out maps.  The Ducati is going to remain parked for the first time since I left Tucson and when I’m not using said internet and coffee table to plot the next section of my journey, I’ll be using two legs instead of two wheels.  Which that seems just fine.  Because my two legs are going to get me to the famous Tartine Bakery, which, like Lucca, also happens to lie within dangerously close range to the apartment I’m staying in.

Lots of bakeries make pastries that look delicious.  Some of them make pastries that look delicious and even taste… pretty good.  And with a little trial and error,  one can usually find the occasional excellent croissant without too much trouble.  But Tartine is the exceptional exception.  They make beautiful pastries, every sort imaginable (and some that are not), and each one is a three star work of art to all the senses.  They’re not stale, not dried out, not bland, not anything except dead on perfect.

My god, how do we choose?

Tartine Bakery
I wish I had taken the time to get a really good photo of the display cases.  This photo shows perhaps a third of our options, and not very well . But I always feel I’m being rude, taking extra time with the camera, while my dining companion’s coffee gets cold.

My friend has some experience to draw upon, which is handy in these sorts of difficult situations.

Tartine Bakery (1)

The bread pudding is deadly rich and fully loaded with uncommonly ripe zingy berries and nectarines.  The “morning bun” - so seductively simple! - is elevated far beyond the mundane with its sprinkling of not just sugar,  not just cinnamon sugar, but cinnamon orange sugar.  Why haven’t I thought of that?  And the frangipane croissant is a perfect execution of a classic.  Flaky and buttery almondy-rich.  I don’t buy many cookbooks any more, but I’m considering one from Tartine when I get home.  Let me tell you, that is saying a lot.

After a breakfast like that, continuing on two legs is a good idea.  Plus, this guy would like a walk.

Birch the Dog

We pass by countless interesting things, and I’m in full on tourist mode, snapping photos here and there.

Flynn Elementary Spirit of Mankind Mural
"Spirit of Mankind" mural, Flynn Elementary School

Up to Bernal Hill we go, and I am enamored with the exercise, the view…

Bernal Hill Walk (1)

… and the fog!

Bernal Hill Walk
The fog here really does seem like a living thing.  Watching it approach was absolutely fascinating.  Not much of that in Tucson!


Claudia from Idiot's Kitchen said...

Okay, Orange Sugar is a genius idea and yes, I want that cookbook too. But mostly I have to say, Biiiirrrrrch! Looks like you've been having a fantastic trip!

PhilB said...

That bread pudding with fruit looks stunningly supercalifragilistic-expialodocious! Next time I'm in that city, that's on my to-do list!


Paula said...

Yup. Like I said, the exceptional exception.