A quiet walk through the outskirts of San Francisco’s Mission District will lead you to Tartine Manufactory. A spacious, industrial – dare I say chic – space, it ticks off everything on my not-so-secret list of café must-haves: cozy, bright and seriously delicious. Step inside and snag a seat in the back corner. Let the sun warm your back while you wait for your liege waffles – and don’t be afraid to stay awhile.
On a recent Sunday morning I strolled through my hood, half wandering, half following the scent of fresh baked bread (yes, really). I ended up on the steps of the 5,000 square-foot manufactory, watching stylish 20-somethings come and go with their brown boxes of pastries and artisanal toast.
Walking into the café, you’re instantly greeted with quintessential California design: natural wood and bright white walls, accented with a dose of color coming only from oversized botanicals scattered throughout the space.
After gawking at Tartine’s digs, we took a spin to the ordering counter, where we perused the pastry case and decided on an assortment of carb-filled goodies. First up: the ham and cheese danish. Sounds simple, right? Wrong. This is not your mother’s ham and cheese. Instead, it’s oozing with Swiss cheese and just the right amount of mustard, all housed inside a buttery, flaky exterior. Pro tip: while they’re typically served room temperature, if you head to Tartine around opening hours (7 a.m.) the danishes are still hot, making them even more delicious.
From muffins to scones and coffee cakes, you can’t go wrong with the pastry case (I heard some buzzing about the soft cooked egg and bacon brioche bun), so we decided to dive in for a second -- and third -- round. This time around, we went sweet.
Enter, the brioche jam bun, a pillowy-soft indulgence that’s sweet and savory all wrapped into one. A testiment to its good taste: my boyfriend, a man who thinks jam in any pastry is blasphemous, called it “shockingly delicious” and asked for another bite, while reminding me of his jam judgements.
Since we were still in prime breakfast hours, we decided to go for an egg sandwich with bacon, and a 5oz espresso and milk -- Tartine’s cappuccino. While waiting for the sandwich to arrive we took a look around. Tartine is known for its unique space, with a pastry counter, ice cream bar, coffee bar and, well, an actual bar all taking up their own special corners. Fresh bread is baked in a back bakery, making for an unbeatable smell you won’t want to leave behind. Overall, the room is crowded, but not too crowded to find a cozy space in the midst of dining friends, families, and couples -- the perfect weekend meeting spot.
The egg sandwich arrives and we let out a collective gasp. I should take this moment to note that I typically reserve “fan girling” for coffee shops and $5 cappuccinos, but this? This was something to fan girl over. Said sandwich was overflowing with delicious ingredients, like a mound of egg, crispy bacon, and fresh arugula. At $12, you’re hoping for something a bit more special than your $2 bodega sandwich, and boy did they deliver. Can a girl get seconds?
After a morning at Tartine Manufactory, I could see what all the hype (and long lines) were about. The food, the people, and the impressive space have brought me back more than once since that fateful Sunday, and will surely bring me back time and time again. In the meantime, I’ll dream of my next visit.
“I’ll take the soft cooked egg and bacon brioche bun, s'il vous plaît”
595 Alabama St., San Francisco, 94110
Phone: (415) 757-0007