Having lived in the Bay Area for most of my life (San Mateo to Berkeley to SF), I’ve seen the transformation of pastry over the years. In the 90s, there was an emphasis on Americanized desserts – large, billowy creations channeling Cheesecake Factory proportions. That segued into the dieting fad, where all things sugar were taboo and desserts took a back seat to most menus.
I’m stoked to see that pastry is back in the game – SF Chronicle’s Rising Star Chefs this year are all pastry chefs for the first time ever, and more and more people are clamoring to get a taste of creations that resemble those of Europe and Japan – small portions with bursts of contrasting flavors using high quality ingredients. These other countries figured it out years ago, so it’s about time that we in the Bay Area followed suit.
Further proof of the rise in pastry is the Chronicle’s recent list of the staff’s favorite desserts in the Bay Area. Some of the choices I’m in full agreement with, while others could use some tweaking, so I created my own list for y’all to share! My list changes constantly due to seasonal menus, new chef creations, and more, but some things I keep going back to. Check out what make the cut (or slice, or scoop), and write in the comments what some of your favorite desserts are in the Bay!
Having just returned from Prague, all the desserts at this Hayes Valley café send me right back to the gorgeous city. The honey cake, with its layers of flavorful pastry cream, take the…well, you know.
Whenever I need a knife and fork to eat a croissant (which I actually didn’t use here and until I realized I had chocolate tripping down my arm), that croissant has won my heart over.
Cookie dough + chocolate chips + pretzels take me straight back to childhood. Add some whipped cream for good measure.
I would wake up at 8am on a Saturday morning to eat one of these for breakfast – oh wait, I’ve already done that.
I keep coming back here on a monthly basis just to see what Chef William Werner will come up with. This is one his latest creations and it combines everything I love into one, beautiful dessert.
If you can’t make it over to the bakery, Sightglass Coffee and The Mill carry NB’s goods, including this killer croissant of the knife and fork variety.
How is this even possible? I don’t know, but Dandelion figured it out and it’s amazing.
I used to drive straight here after personal training, buy a croissant, and promptly eat it, basically annihilating any progress made at the gym. I regret nothing.
I’m lucky enough to live walking distance from the Divisadero location, and you best believe I go there once a week for a pre-dinner (yes, that’s correct) treat.
If made incorrectly, scones are dry and crumbly and need jam or butter to create flavor. Chef Belinda Leong’s scones are the exact opposite – super moist with epic bites of banana and dark chocolate that make for a perfect breakfast on the go.