Bakery Review: b. patisserie (San Francisco, CA)


I had a perfect bite of pastry at b. patisserie recently.  I went to the shop looking forward to getting one of their kouign amman, for which they are justly famous.  I arrived at 5:15 on a Saturday afternoon, and there was a line around the counter.  I scanned the pastries on display at the counter; after a typically busy day there were only a few pastries left, including one lone kouign amman.  Please, no one take it, I thought to myself  Of course, one of the customers ahead of me snagged it, and my heart sunk in disappointment.  Then, disappointment turned to excitement as the person behind the counter announced that more will be coming in six minutes.  Six minutes, and I can taste one fresh out of the oven?  Yes please!  A freshly baked kouign amman from b. patisserie is incredible.  The crisp flaky richness of the outer layers, slightly underdone interior, and warm sweet syrup in the center were at their peak deliciousness.  Don’t get me wrong, a room temperature kouign amman baked that day is still pretty good, but one that is just a few minutes out of the oven?  Perfect.

The store is located on California at Divisidero.  The chef, Belinda Leong, trained with Pierre Herme in Paris and can usually be seen working in the open bakery.  I watched one of the chefs encase an enormous block of butter into some dough, and then use a machine with a conveyor belt to pass the laminated dough through a roller to make perfect layers.  I need one of those!  So much easier than rolling the dough out by hand with a rolling pin!

Eat Real Fest Oakland


The Eat Real Fest is an annual food festival held at Jack London Square in Oakland, CA, on the waterfront in the East Bay near the container port of Oakland.  The festival showcased many of the great food purveyors in the East Bay and the whole Bay Area.  There were prepared food stands and trucks, and everything was limited to $5 or less.  One of the highlights was The Whole Beast, which had a butchering demonstration on perfectly roasted whole lamb and sold lamb gyros and meatballs.  I tried their great lamb poutine, thick-cut seasoned fries topped with a rich gravy with lamb cheeks and cheese curds.  Whole animal butchery was also on display at the Chop Bar, which offered delicious barbecue pork and cornbread.  One of my favorites, 4505 Meats, had a ridiculously good sandwich called The Fat Bastard, which was a buttery toasted English muffin, honey mustard ranch, chicharrones, pickled jalepenos, market greens, melted aged Gruyere, juicy pork and beer sausage, and house made sauerkraut, all on one sandwich!

It was fun to see all of the local start-ups at the marketplace: there were local chocolates, tempeh, sauerkraut, southeast Asian jerky, pastas, jams, cheese, and baked goods.  Starter Bakery in Oakland had Kouign Amann, a flaky, sticky, buttery pastry with different fillings such as cherry pistachio, which sold out, necessitating a second afternoon delivery that many waited for.  I also really liked the cool t-shirt designs representing the 510 from loakal.

There were classes and demonstrations on pickling, butchering, and other topics that really fit in with the DIY culture emphasized by the Eat Real Fest.  Sour Flour had several bread-making demonstrations.  I went to the bread starter class, where they taught participants how to feed a sourdough starter.  I got a sample and can’t wait to try it to make sourdough bread at home (watch for a future post).  We’re lucky in the Bay Area to have great food events like SF Street Food and Eat Real.

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