Tag Archives: Restaurant Review

Another Reason to Love this City: Tartine Bakery

I always mean to do more reviews, so finally I have one to share.

I went for lunch with some friends (my “San Francisco parents”) at Tartine Bakery & Cafe about a month ago. And the verdict?

Fantastic sandwiches: crusty toasted bread, fresh and well-paired filling ingredients, and lots of oozy, ripe cheese.

As for dessert: not so OMG wow, but good. Perhaps I am a bit of a snob when it comes to sweets. It’s not about size for me, it’s about flavor and aesthetics. I want dessert to be small and elegant; a few generous spoonfuls bursting with the freshest tastes and textures. Not a gigantic portion of which after four bites you get bored with.

Here’s what we had:

The Spicy Turkey (peppered turkey breast, broccoli rabe pesto, and provolone, which we asked to switch out with gruyere)

Prosciutto & Provolone (San Daniele Prosciutto with dressed arugula)

Croque Monsieur (Open-faced sandwich with béchamel, gruyere, thyme and pepper. Topped with smoked Niman Ranch ham.)

 

And for dessert, which I forgot to take pictures of, we had the brioche bread pudding, tres leches cake with coconut milk, an eclair, and of course, lattes and espresso from the coffee bar.

Anyway, I’ll definitely go back, especially for their sandwiches and lattes! I have to admit disappointment with the desserts, but it’s not a Tartine thing, it’s an American thing. Tartine still has one of the best selections around, including some seasonal offerings. So yes, I will be back!

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North Beach Boho Bar: Mario’s Bohemian Cigar Store Cafe

I’ve been to Mario’s  a few times. I suppose it’s not really for either drinks or food that I frequent this place; it’s the whole neighborhood bar feel that keeps me coming back.

Décor: Simple bar-around-the corner décor is what you’ll find here; nothing sleek and modern about it. What you have instead is earthy, warm and worn (in a good way): earthy from the solid standing bar to the hardwood floors and tables, warm from the sun shining in through the bay windows, and worn—well—everything. And I mean this in the best sense possible. When you come here, you know you’re going to be able to sit back, have a pleasant chat (or not) with the staff and enjoy your beer and bite in peace.

Vibe: Despite being located in the heart of Tourist-Town (at Columbus and Union), Mario’s still manages to maintain a neighborhood cafe/bar feel. A steady flow of tourists flock here during the day (actually, they’re pretty much always there—but I like it; they’re the cool kind); After work and on weekend mornings, you’ll see a more local crowd, sitting outside enjoying views of Washington Park and the foot traffic on Columbus.

Drinks: Decent selection of beers, wines and coffees. The espresso is strong but supposedly worth a try. (This is a foodblog; I don’t have that much to say about beverages…sorry.) (-_-)

Eats: As already mentioned, I don’t come here for the food. It’s not bad, just not Mario’s particular area of expertise. The “thing” here is hot sandwiches, as in focaccias and paninis. And apparently, they fix a mean meatball sammy. I’ve never had it, but I have tried the eggplant panini. Though there wasn’t anything stand-out about it, it was still pretty tasty. I do think if they used fresh instead of dried basil, it would add a nice flavor kick.

Great for: reasonably priced after-work drinks, slow weekend mornings, quick, on-the-cheaper-side bites and good conversation.