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Thorough Bread and Pastry

Last week, the former Just Desserts space on Church Street near Market became home to Thorough Bread and Pastry (248 Church St., 415-558-0690), an artisan bakery operated by the San Francisco Baking Institute, where its students get a taste of experience while the rest of us get a taste of heaven.



I was lured through the front door by a quote painted onto the stone floor, and what a piece of wisdom it was: "There is no love sincerer than the love of food." The playwright George Bernard Shaw said that, and who could really argue with it? Of course, the croissants, tarts, cakes, napoleons, madeleines, scones, galettes and baguettes were a big part of the lure as well: all so beautifully golden and perfectly shaped that it was like stumbling upon a foodie fantasy. I half-expected the sky to start raining macaroons. Everything tasted as good as it looked, and in this case, that's saying a lot.



Behind the counter, serious-looking men with French accents ascertained the goods and discussed business. The head of the Baking Institute, Michel Saus, who's authored such tomes as Advanced Bread and Pastry, asked me to wait a month before "reviewing" the bakery, which also serves sandwiches and soup throughout the day. But there's really no need to wait. First off, I'm not a reviewer, and secondly, even if I was, I'd have nothing but one word to say to this buttery Gallic adventure: Yes.