Tartine

April 18, 2007 | By | COMMENTS

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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.

Categories: California, Restaurant Reviews, San Francisco

  • christina

    That tartine looks delicious. Mmmm.

  • Patty

    I think you were right on the first try – a camel to go through an eye of a needle :)

    Your post has inspired me to make a grilled ham and gruyere sandwich for lunch right now.

  • http://www.gastronomie-sf.com Fatemeh

    That first picture? The one of the things that look like an edible Michelin Man baby?

    Those are macaroons. They are amazing. They make ‘em all different sorts of ways, but my favorites have cocoa nibs. They are crispity-crunchity outside, but tender and gooey inside.

  • http://becksposhnosh.blogspot.com/ sam

    The first picture – they are the ‘Rochers’ – meringue like thingies – only 40 cents a piece which means everyone buys one sooner or later. I don’t like the cocoa nib ones, but I love the almond ones.

    You didn’t mention the pickled carrots – don’t you just love the pickled carrots?

    I also don’t like hanging out in Tartine too much, buying to go from there suits me far better.

    What excuse do you think I should make up in order to drop by Tartine for a piece of that quiche?

  • lena

    I used to go to Tartine after playing tennis at Dolores Park a couple of times a week, and have never been disappointed by anything I’ve ordered there. Their hot chocolate is great, and their bread pudding is amazing.

    And yes, it’s insanely busy and crowded on the weekends. The line goes out the door and wraps around the building.

  • http://slambo.blogspot.com Brandon

    The thought of this post being written to the tune of “Jolene” cracks me up. Of course, now the song is stuck in my head.

  • AuntJone

    You have to finish the words to your song and sing it to the tune of “Jolene”. Then you have to post it for us to hear. YOU HAVE TO.

    All the food looked phenom, btw. Especially the meringue ‘mountains’. I don’t care much for raw meringue on a pie, but bake it then slather it with all manners of frostings and fillings and oh my…….

  • sweetandsavory1

    I second that about the bread pudding. You gotta get into that sometime. It is to dieeee for! I can’t bear to have anyone else’s.

  • http://www.tiffanyastone.com Tiffany

    I almost never get excited over pastries, because most aren’t worth the calories. Luckily, Tartine isn’t in my city. Every pastry I tried there was too good. The bread pudding and the morning roll were my favorites.

  • http://www.twobrowngirls.blogspot.com p

    I grew up around the corner and remember being i think the 5th customer or something in there… It used to be this really fun retro cake shop before, but tartine is soooo much better. Now that I’m in university a million miles away I find myself reading the cookbook obsessively and dreaming of their croque monsieur every night. mmmm. SO good.