Thursday Three | Bakery bonanza

Happy Thanksgiving, you guys!

The most glorious sunshine is falling over this beautiful city and this may be our warmest Thanksgiving here yet. Yet, there is a crispness to the air. I love autumn sun. It is golden and warm and spills out all slanted at an angle, totally keeping in line with the pumpkin-yellow-orange Thanksgiving theme.  Each and every one of the white and beige buildings opposite ours are gilded and warm. Don’t you just love it when nature decides to get all colour-coordinated? We’re off to enjoy the day but before we do, we wanted to wish anyone who stopped by to visit here today. Also, to bring you three wonderful San Francisco creators of baked goods.

I am always incredibly excited about new bakeries, far more so than any new restaurant. Back home, the Irani restaurants with their bun maska and delicious mutton and vegetable pattices were cool and inviting, fascinating to the child I was. Here, I get that from bakeries.  There is always an element of excitement walking into a bakery, perusing what is on offer and then making your choice. And if I’m in luck and the bakery knows what it is doing, what is on offer is wonderful. It can make my entire day.

There are some famous bakeries out here in the Bay area. But everywhere you look there are wonderful small ones that are nourishing bodies and satisfying souls in their neighbourhood. These three that I’m going to tell you about here are exceptional.

Cassava Bakery + Café is small on size but big on heart. This utterly delightful cafe serves up some of the most wonderful things despite its small footprint. I remember coming across it one morning on my walk to the beach and bakeries being like crack to me, I had to go in. Of course, these guys make it very easy for you. The cute little tables outside are so inviting. The staff and owners are super pleasant and welcome you as if it were their home.

They have, hands down, the best quiche I have tasted in a bakery. The fabulous crust, delicate and flavourful, holds an incredible just-set custard, still slightly wobbly. It is filled with ever-changing fillings like spinach, mushroom, and bacon and they sprinkle some cheese on top. This is quiche perfection, and at just the right size. So very good! They also have incredible cookies, tarts, and a light and sweet morning bun that will send you out into your day with a big smile on your face. Complemented with fresh squeezed juice and great coffee, this is a bakery to linger around. I’m so glad they decided to open in Outer Richmond – which has a serious dearth of nuanced food like this – instead of an over-inflated neighbourhood like the Mission.

In addition to their bakery, Cassava does breakfast and lunch most days and brunch on weekends. They also do Friday night dinners, which we haven’t been able to try yet. But with the attention they put into their bakery items, I cannot imagine it being anything but great. They also have on offer some of the best macarons in the city. A crisp, slightly chewy meringue with the most wonderful flavourings, not too sweet, just perfect. Given that the last place that made perfect meringues in the city, Patisserie Phillipe, shut down, we were thrilled to discover that there was this bakery with near perfect macarons.**

This is a must-try place, worth a trek out to Outer Richmond. I’m so glad it’s just a walk away for us.

You have to try the chocolate crackle cookies at Baker and Banker’s Bakery. This cookie is a chocaholic’s dream come true. Rich with chocolate, cocoa, cinnamon and sugar, this cookie yields to the slightest pressure and is such an incredible treat. But that goodness is just the tip of the iceberg with this bakery. They make amazing bread, wonderful unique loaves such as their apple and fennel country loaf (this household’s current obsession) and buttermilk poppyseed.

Their sandwiches are a study in perfecting the bread to filling ratio. Also, don’t miss their scones. They make both sweet and savoury kinds and we loved everything we’ve tried over the years. They also have this amazing bread pudding which is incredibly rich and tasty, and not too eggy. You can never go wrong with that here.

The trick to getting things is to get here before lunchtime. They are popular and can be sold out of things around lunchtime. They also make cakes and cupcakes to order.

The beach vibe is very evident in the breezy Devil’s Teeth Baking Company. With that name, I was intrigued about this bakery even before I got here. It is absolutely the place you want to go for a lazy Saturday morning breakfast. They have generous (read: more to share) portions of their wonderful brownies and cakes and a stellar as-big-as-your-palm chocolate chip cookie. There is a little parklet outside where you can sit and enjoy the view to the sea and the sunshine on days like today. You can say hello to all the lively dogs and their owners passing by. Or you can sit inside and leaf through the shelf of books they have on offer and for sale, each for $5.

They make some great sandwiches for lunch (we love the curried chicken) and rich, deep pies, that can also be made to order. They have beignets on offer (I believe it is on Sundays only, but check the website to be sure) which are like doughnuts, but somehow nicer. Dusted with icing sugar, they are a great way to round off your meal there, or a meal by themselves.

** The lovely owners of Cassava wrote to tell me that their macarons are actually provided by Chef Phillipe, formerly of Patisserie Phillipe. Apparently, he provides them to a few cafes around the city. So glad he is still here. We thought that might be it when he shut down his patisserie. Seriously people, best.macarons.ever!

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