The city is positively en fuego right now with the number of new bakers and pastry chefs out to get us carbo-loaded and amped on sugar. When you aren’t busy chasing down a Rebel Within at Craftsman & Wolves, or a tart at Tout Sweet, here’s a shortlist of even more new places and people making tasty baked treats that will take you to your happy place.
Numerous local lovers of dessert had Michelle Polzine’s creations on their short list while she was the pastry chef at Range. Now the city is eagerly anticipating the opening of her bakery and café in Hayes Valley (coming to 198 Gough St.), which has the Danube region (Budapest, Vienna, and Prague) as the inspiration. She just wrapped up a series of Sunday pop-ups at State Bird Provisions, where we got a sneak peek of her sublime knishes, rugelach, tortes, turnovers, and tarts. Follow the café on Twitter and Facebook for updates on the opening (which is currently looking like May, hallelujah), and perhaps another pop-up.
Not to add to the hype that has already taken this Lower Pac Heights place by storm, but Belinda Leong’s pastries really are a thing of beauty. Whether your palate is happiest with a lemon tart or chocolate-caramel-toffee mousse, or your eyes cannot resist the temptation of the pretty grande macaron, you’ll find plenty in the case (well, if you get there early enough—the place has been very, very popular). A selection of viennoiserie, like her kouign-amann and croissants, plus macarons, savory cheese sticks, and scones, are all available, plus open-face tartines on special levain made by her business partner, Michel Suas (the founder of the San Francisco Baking Institute and Thorough Bread Bakery).
Here’s yet another locally adored pastry chef who comes from the restaurant world, Amy Brown. She wowed us with her sopaipillas, bagels, French toast, scones, and other baked marvels while at Nopa. She is currently running a pop-up with her fiancé, Joe Wolf, and making appearances at Firehouse 8/Wrecking Ball Coffee on Sundays from 11:30 am to 4 pm, and once a month at Dear Mom on Saturdays. You’ll find a rotating array of dishes, like panettone bread pudding with almond cream, meat pies, buckwheat crepes, or a Mr. Croque with smoked ham, cheddar cheese, and stonefruit mostarda on her whole wheat levain–you can take some bread or English muffins home with you, too. You can also find her baked goods at the Marla Bakery stand at the weekly Mission Community Market on Thursdays.
Have you had a chance to check out this spacious new café on the Divisadero Corridor from Jeremy Tooker (Four Barrel Coffee) and Josey Baker? While it may seem twee to talk about the sublime toast they serve, well, once you sink your choppers into one of the thick cut and golden pieces of toast slathered in some buttery topping, you’ll start preaching the gospel. There are usually three to four kinds of beautiful, house-baked bread and combinations available each day, like butter and strawberry preserves on seeded bread, or cinnamon, or housemade almond butter with sea salt. There’s also a rack of loaves of fresh-out-of-the-oven bread you can take home (hello, dark mountain rye), and the pastry case displays cookies, granola, coffee cake, corn bread, and some vegan and gluten-free options as well. You a home baker? Look for Josey to start selling his own house-milled, whole-grain flour soon.
A couple other brand-new spots to keep an eye on:
Opening tomorrow March 21st, La Cocina alum Elvia Buendia is opening La Luna Cupcakes in the Crocker Galleria. She offers sweet cupcakes, but she’s also making savory ones with flavors like bacon and eggs, and beef with cheese and salsa.
And opening soon in the Richmond (at 1408 Clement St.) is Heartbaker from pastry chef Sybil Johnson (Aqua, Kokkari). She’ll offer a range of breakfast items (scones, muffins), cookies and cupcakes, bomboloni, and more.