This post marks the new direction that my blog may take. I am no longer backpacking through Asia, and am instead exploring San Diego, SoCal (Southern California) and America in general. And I find the thing I am most interested in taking photos of is food.
Lets face it, my world mostly revolves around food. I visit a new city, and even if I don’t plan ahead what sights we will see or what tours we will take, I know where to get a good coffee and where to go for an amazing meal. And this weekend was no exception. Mom and I visited San Francisco. Thanks to the Labor Day holiday, and the prior plans of my Friday class’ lecturer, I had 4 days off school. And when we decided on going to San Francisco for the long weekend, I just knew I had to hunt down one place in particular. And that place is a bakery, cutely named Tartine, down in the Mission.
Locals will all know of this bakery, their infamous morning buns, and the long line that forms outside even before they open their doors. I only knew about it through a fellow blogger, Natasha, who has a fabulous baking blog. I am so lucky I found her blog because not only do I identify with her love of baked goods and baking, but the first blog post I looked at post-Asia was her post on Brown Butter Lemon Bars. I LOVE lemon flavored anything, and so I was immediately sold. I then read on, and learned about Tartine and their amazing lemon bars.
So, this brings us to Sunday morning, 7:30am, waking up so that Mom and I can go stand in line at a bakery, 20 minutes before they open. In most people’s minds this is insane. Standing in line for a bakery!? Before they open? But in San Francisco, it is all about the lines. If it has a line, you want to go there. You should be there, in line. If it doesn’t have a line, don’t waste your time. Bakeries have lines, restaurants have lines, and clubs have lines. Even the shops have longer lines than they do anywhere else. I waited behind 12 people today in Forever 21 just to try on clothes. But that is besides the point. We arrived at 8:40, 20 minutes before they opened, and were number 8 and 9 in the line. 5 minutes later, 10 more people joined the line. By the time they opened, there were over 30 people in line. But even my Mom, who said she would never stand in line like that just for food, enjoyed it. You meet nice people, make conversation, and learn new things. And when the doors open, you smell the coffee and the bread baked fresh that morning, and rush in trying to peer over people’s shoulders in order to see what is on offer. It is just so exciting.
I had read about (and been told by Natasha) that I just had to try their morning buns. And a woman in front of me in line told me the same thing. And because I love lemon, I wanted their lemon bar too. Lucky for me, they had one lone lemon bar sitting in the counter, just waiting for me. They also had the most amazing looking tarts, cakes and breads. Far too much choice. When it was finally my turn to order, I looked in the counter and all the morning buns were gone!!!
Not to fear though, they brought over a new tray right away, and I got to choose the one I wanted.
I then went a bit overboard, and we ended up with two morning buns, one almond croissant, one lemon bar, one banana cream pie and one walnut brownie. Of course we only ate one morning bun and one almond croissant there with our coffees, with the idea to save the others to eat over the next few days, but we have already devoured the banana cream pie and I am currently eating the lemon bar. The guy behind the counter was so friendly and helpful, and the barista at the coffee bar even knew what a flat white was!! And did it just right! So I was very happy this morning, with my perfectly done flat white and my soft morning bun.
There doesn’t appear to be any official recipe available for the morning buns, but according to this site it is a cross between a cinnamon bun and a croissant. And I would have to agree. The outer part of it is crunchy and flaky, but then once you get through that outer layer you have soft fluffy dough swirled around like a cinnamon roll. It is orange in flavor with sugar sprinkled on top. In a nutshell, it has this combination of orange zest with sugary cinnamon sweet stickiness, partly crunchy and flaky but also soft and fluffy. It is just everything you want in a baked good, rolled into one. And I was very glad I got more than one, so I can savor the flavor again tomorrow morning.
And oh my gosh the lemon square is just mindblowingly delicious. I initially thought it was too sour and lemony, and was a bit meh. But I have already eaten half of it and keep wanting to eat more. It is very ‘moreish’. It has a top layer of thick and sticky sour lemon, with a base of shortbread crust. It had icing sugar sprinkled on top, though by the time I took a picture it had been in the car for a few hours and so the icing sugar melted into the lemon. Still tastes amazing though. And something that I will definitely make back in San Diego. Can’t say it will be good for my waistline, especially without flatmates to share it with, but I am going to be craving that lemon bar.