Tartine

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If I thought more people knew the song, I would write this post to the tune of Dolly Pardon’s “Jolene.” It would go: Tartine…tartine…tartine…tartine…I’m begging of you please don’t take away my tart. (If you don’t know the song, I think you should buy it or download it illegally. It’s fun!)

My rental car situation is tricky. Because I rented a car, I feel like I should drive everywhere but since many destinations are within walking distance of Raife’s apartment, that would be ridiculous. And frustrating, because parking here is like trying to put a camel through the eye of a needle. Wait. A needle in the eye of a camel. What expression am I thinking of?

Late Monday morning, I walked to Tartine for lunch. It wasn’t too far from the burrito place I went the day before. The weather here was crisp and beautiful and Tartine has a wonderful indoor/outdoor feel that makes it extremely popular, even on a Monday morning:

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As I cued up in line, I began to study all the sugary confections in the glass case. I don’t know what these are, but don’t you want one?

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Or a chocolate chip cookie?

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And, the most stunning, behold this killer quiche:

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Sam said she had this quiche at a party and that it was unbelievable, and seeing it here I was really tempted to get it. It looks like something Dr. Seuss might make–with that curvy, swervy crust.

But I wanted a sandwich. It was just past 11 and I was lunch-ready. So I ordered a jamon & gruyere panini with spicy mustard:

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This was enormous. And delicious. The bread was an excellent vehicle for the smoky ham, the gloppy cheese and the zingy mustard. I think they must have put butter or oil in the panini press, because it was pretty greasy. I ate 2/3rds and set the last third aside so I could eat this:

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That was the Tartine pastry I finally settled on. It was labeled “Frangipane Tart.”

“What’s in it?” I asked the woman behind the counter.

“Almonds and huckleberry,” she answered. “Have you had huckleberry before?”

“Nope, but I’ve read the book.”

What was remarkable about this tart was its lightness. I love fruity things and this had a nice mellow flavor, complemented by the soft presence of almond and embraced by a flaky curst. I wanted to only eat half but I’d say I ate 2/3rds. The place was really crowded so I was anxious to get up—also because this guy was sitting at the table next to me with his parents and they were really annoying. The mother kept whispering to her son about what I was eating, “What kind of tart do you think that is?” As if I had a horrible mole on my face and they thought I was out of earshot. The dad kept trying to dial his grandson, Max, on his cell phone but he kept getting the wrong person. “This isn’t Max’s number,” he said. “Try again,” said the woman. “Max?” he said, barking into the phone. “It’s not Max!”

I left Tartine happy to have gone there, but eager to leave. Sometimes a place can be so popular it becomes unpleasant. That was true on the Monday morning I went there, I can’t imagine what it would be like on a weekend.

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