A warm, sunny and clear day devoid of fog is a rarity in San Francisco. That means when the fog disappears and the temperature rises above 60 degrees, everyone takes full advantage and gets the heck outside. Faced with a beautiful day in the city and an afternoon free, I did what many San Franciscans do and made my way to the Mission to soak up some sun.
Because I have lived in the west side of San Francisco for the nearly four years I’ve been here, I rarely venture to the Mission. Instead of dining at Pizzeria Delfina, spending my Fridays at Mission Bowling Club, or standing in line for fresh-baked morning pastries at Tartine Bakery, I merely read about those experiences on food and local news blogs and imagine what my life would be if I lived in the hipster capital of, uh, Northern California. (I think that’s right, isn’t Portland the hipster capital of the world? I don’t even know)
Hoping to change that, and because I was craving something sweet, I spent my sunny afternoon finding Tartine Bakery, a San Francisco-famous pastry and sandwich shop and cafe at the corner of 18th and Guerrero. The space was small, but the pastry case was big and full of too many tempting treats for me to pick something. Feeling the pressure of a growing line, I went with the first pastry that caught my eye and that remembered was highly recommended on Foursquare, the chocolate eclair.
After stopping at Bi-Rite Market, another San Francisco institution, for a water bottle, I climbed the hills at Dolores Park to take in a view while taking in the eclair, passing a guy peddling pot cookies. Thanks man, but today this French pastry is all I need. After finding my spot in the grass, I promptly took a huge bite and ended up wearing a blob of vanilla cream filling. I didn’t care because Tartine had lived up to its hype; my eclair was really, really good. It also validated in my mind that these Mission establishments are really as good as everyone says they are.
I already knew that Dolores Park was a nice place to spend a warm afternoon. Now I also know that it’s worth getting out of the Outer Sunset to find some great food in the Mission and in other parts of the city to which I never bother to venture — especially on those rare San Francisco sunny days.