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Boo Boo Boulange


Yes, it's a chain.

I have some friends who absolutely love chain restaurants. They feel most at home when they are settled into a big banquette, faced with a laminated menu filled with reliable, predictable choices. I’m exactly the opposite. I’d take a hole-in-the-wall over a Burger King any day. But I have to admit that there is one SF-based micro-chain that I find pretty irresistible: La Boulange. Pascal Rigo’s frencified cafés (which now number six, scattered throughout San Francisco and Mill Valley) appeal to me for a whole host of reasons: good coffee (Equator brand, 100% organic, brewed strong), cello bags of vanilla-rich miniature madeleines, flaky viennoisserie, and good, simple sandwiches like the French ham and butter on a length of baguette, dead simple and my kind of sandwich, not mucked up with too many ingredients.

The latest outpost of the empire is in Hayes Valley, on the corner of Hayes and Octavia. This little neighborhood feels very French-y already, what with Absinthe and Miette, so the new addition fits right in (and sticks right out—holy green façade!) I felt a strong sense of victory this morning when I convinced my girlfriend that we should start the day there, before heading to work. We got our treats and coffee (and lingered just long enough for me to capture this picture) then went our separate ways. I walked to work in Union Square and watched the city wake up, past the Heart of the City farmers’ market, already in full swing, past the line-cooks flipping eggs at some no-name on Market Street, coffee and pastry in hand. It was a good morning.