Tartine Bakery, Bi-rite Creamery, Monument and Omnivore Books

June 06th, 2012  | Category: Ice Cream & Sorbet, Restaurants, Travel

Tartine Bakery Kruvasan

One rushed afternoon in San Francisco, I took a bite of this croissant at Tartine Bakery, leaned back in my chair and thought: “How wonderful the world would be if there was a Tartine in every city.” Of course, we would then need to clone Chad Robertson. Multiple times. An even more wonderful world.

A somewhat selfish but definitely more reasonable version would be: “How wonderful my world would be if there was a Tartine in Istanbul, preferably on the corner of my street.” I’d come home every day with a sourdough loaf under my arm, stop by every morning for a croissant and probably have brunch there every Sunday for the rest of my life.

I knew I’d feel this way, so when I started looking for a place to stay, I did my best to find a decent one within walking distance of Tartine. The area has changed a lot since I last visited, but one thing remained the same: Not a single decent B&B within my price range. I wanted nothing more than to have breakfast there every day, but I can’t even bear the thought of spending 20 minutes on a bus in the morning. Not before my third coffee.

Sadly, I visited Tartine only once. And I ate all I could.

Tartine Bakery Brownie

The sourdough croissant was amazing. So was the brownie.

Tartine Bakery Kruvasan Brownie

I’ve never tried a sourdough croissant at home, but both are things I can bake with very satisfying results.

I was there for the bread.

Tartine Bakery Croque Monsieur 2

Even though I had a soft-serve ice cream at Bi-rite Creamery on my way on top of a light lunch an hour ago, I also ordered a Croque Monsieur and a Jambon Royale & Gruyère.

Tartine Bakery Sandviç

Both were exceptional.

Tartine Bakery Croque Monsieur

Here’s the menu. Choose if you can.

Tartine Bakery

600 Guerrero St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 487-2600

561 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 487-1600

Right next to Tartine Bakery is Pizzeria Delfina. The best pizza I’ve ever eaten. And they serve one of my most favorite drinks in the world – Dublin Dr. Pepper. I’m so glad I drank two bottles and brought one back home as it no longer exists. I’ll write more about Delfina in a separate post.


Bi-rite Creamery 2

Actually, right after I hopped out of the bus, my first mission was to try as many flavors as I can at Bi-rite Creamery.

Bi-rite Creamery

Instead of tubs of ice cream bursting with seasonal fruit, I was greeted by a huge line. We had so many things planned for the day, so I had to settle on a soft-serve, which was sold from a separate window with only a few people in line.

Bi-rite Creamery Soft Serve

The ice cream gods must love me. Because right after our second lunch at Tartine and a few stops here and there, guess what we didn’t see as we were walking towards the bus stop?

Bi-rite Creamery Menü

A line.

Bi-rite Creamery Roasted Banana

Guess what I did.

Bi-rite Creamery Dondurma

Roasted banana ice cream with fudge sauce and almond toffee. Want the recipe? Their book came out last month. Also, take a look at their video. They make a lot of ice cream.

3692 18th St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 626-5600

3639 18th St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 241-9760


Humphry Slocombe

Speaking of lines, this was the scene after a 20-minute walk, before which I had to spend another 20 minutes trying to convince my diabetic friend that we absolutely had to have ice cream at Humprhy Slocombe, too.

It didn’t happen. Arghh! The things I’ll eat on my next trip… By the way, their book just came out!*

* Ice cream gods must really really love me, because while I was editing this post, the door bell rang and there stood the mailman, with a box from Amazon. I swear to ice cream gods.

I can’t wait to make Jesus Juice. I’ll eat it while listening to “Billy Jean” at full volume.

2790 A Harrison Street (corner of 24th)
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 550-6971


Monument SF

Ever since I started working on my cookbook, I’ve been shopping on eBay for props. Turns out I have insanely expensive taste. So when I say shopping, I really mean waiting. Waiting for the right price and praying for the crazy bidders to fall asleep on their couches. It is tough, especially on a starving cookbook writer’s budget.

Two years of this torture made me an expert buyer. Name a thing and I’ll tell you the price range.

Now, I didn’t buy anything just because I’m already bankrupt, but Monument on Valencia has amazing pieces at very good prices. It is one of my most favorite vintage shops in San Francisco.

Monument San Francisco

I’ll be back when I’m rich.

573 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 861-9800

Mission Dolores


Another great little shop to visit while you’re strolling down Valencia street: The Curiosity Shoppe.

Look what I saw on one of the walls! Wouldn’t that be the perfect logo for my blog?

Mission Dolores 4

855 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 671-5384


Omnivore Books

Cookbooks from floor to ceiling. Where else can you find a book on 101 ways to cook bananas?

You can spend a whole day in there. Unfortunately, I had 15 minutes.

Omnivore Books 2

Make sure to check out their event calendar before you go. There’s almost always a book signing every week. How I wish I could be there for the Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream Book event.

3885A Ceasar Chavez St.
San Francisco, CA 94131
(415) 282-4712

Mission Dolores 3

SAVEUR AWARDS – Best Piece of Culinary Writing

Chez Panisse Saveur Awards

On a completely different and very very late note, “My Chez Panisse Experience” was named “Best Piece of Culinary Writing” by Saveur magazine in their Best Food Blog Awards this year! Three years in a row guys! How can I thank you enough? Once again you amazed me with your support and cheer along the way.

Many thanks to Saveur for nominating and YOU for voting.

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  1. 1 - India Banks on June 6th, 2012

    This story is so delicious and well worth the wait {I check in every few days hoping for more}. I was in Istanbul for 15 months and discovered your blog and have kept up with it since I came back to the States. I understand your longing for SF – mine of course is for Istanbul. Üsküdar & Limon at sunset. Congratulations on your Saveur award!

  2. 2 - Sandy Leonard on June 7th, 2012

    So we were in the same country at the same time? Your SF events so nicely align with what I would also do in that magical city. Happy to be there with you via your blog. All best wishes from the other coast, Cenk. — Sandy

  3. 3 - Cenk on June 8th, 2012

    India – Thank you!

    Sandy – These photos are from my vacation in 2011! So, since then, we’ve been in the same country twice 🙂

  4. 4 - Naz on June 8th, 2012

    Congratulations:) you deserve it!

  5. 5 - lynn on June 10th, 2012

    Well deserved! And that croissant is to die for…

  6. 6 - Amy on June 11th, 2012

    Congrats on your win Cenk!

  7. 7 - Maureen on June 11th, 2012

    Love the photos and congratulations on a very well deserved win. Jambon gruyere is my favorite, too.

  8. 8 - Deniz on June 14th, 2012

    Congratulations! I enjoyed reading this article and loved the photos (beautiful pic from Dolores St). I recently lived in Noe Valley for a few fabulous years and enjoyed the places mentioned in this post, especially Bi-Rite and Tartine. Now, I’ll be moving to Istanbul in a few weeks and look forward to reading more of your posts!

  9. 9 - Stephy @ Dessert Before Dinner on June 15th, 2012

    I used to live in Berkeley (across the bay from all the wonderful things you mentioned). I made it to Tartine about once a month for an afternoon alone. I recommend the Almond Croissant and the coco nib meringues most of all. And the bread pudding in the spring time when peaches and nectarines are in season is one of the best bread puddings I’ve ever had.

    When we’d go to Delfina in the evening, we’d always go to Bi Rite for salted caramel ice cream or roasted banana ice cream afterward. Thanks for the blast from the past.

  10. 10 - Sophia on June 23rd, 2012


    I have been following your blog for a while, admiring your photos but most of all the way you write – I don’t know how you manage to do it, but to me, every post you write conveys how passionate you are about food.

    I am doing a roadtrip around California this summer and have already told my boyfriend we need ar least three days in San Francisco so I can at least attempt to try all your recommendations!

    Hope work on the cookbook is progessing well – and I do hope an English translation will be available at some point (the only sentence I know in Turkish is “Bosver Ramadan” (not sure about the spelling) … Said by a young Turkish man buying some borek during the day during Ramadan (and who the shopowner was teasing about Ramadan) while I lived in Austria 10 years ago.

    All the best


  11. 11 - Ilke on July 5th, 2012

    We are planning an SF visit in September and hoping to hit many food marks in that trip, Tartine being one of them. Thanks for the city stroll before even I come with your beautiful pictures.
    I might contact you later as another food blogger friend of mine is coming to Istanbul with her family and was looking for good farmers’ markets to go in Istanbul. They will be staying either in Cihangir or Galata. I thought you might know one or two :))

  12. 12 - Marcella on July 11th, 2012

    SF is 10 hours away by car. I need to get to that bakery now! I love your blog.

  13. 13 - didem on July 14th, 2012

    Next time, try the salted caramel flavor at Bi-Rite, it’s a killer:)

  14. 14 - erin @ yummy supper on July 30th, 2012

    Cent, I’m glad to see you did it up right when you were in the Bay Area:)!
    I have to tell you that we talk about Istanbul all the time and cannot wait to return one of these years. We are lucky here in the Bay Area, but Istanbul is a magical place.
    Wishing you the best,

  15. 15 - misk on September 9th, 2012

    hi! we arrived in Seattle on a friday- to settle in the U District for a year with my son – awfully worn out after an intercontinental flight and 5hrs waiting at Portland to get to Seattle (thank goodness only 1/2 hr flight)! naturally we slept on hours and woke up and found a wonderful farmers market at our next block! UDsitrict farmers market!! it is lovely, now i get there every saturday early before my son wakes up and grab great produce and bakery for the breakfast- apple ciders are just great- i can quit needs for further alcohole- actually I thought they would be sth like the ŞIRA we find at kebabhouses in Turkey- but no, this is stronger, although there should be degrees to its strength, give the number of apple ciders I tried in a morning! In my expeditions to this lovely city, UDistrict farmers market so far has been the absolute magic:)and just round the corner, what a luck!

  16. 16 - misk on September 9th, 2012

    a-ha, I should have left this comment on farmers market post- confused, sorry

  17. 17 - Sweet Freak on September 16th, 2012

    Bi-Rite and Tartine are worth any trip to San Francisco! I can also just roam the Bi-Rite market for hours. So much deliciousness. I’ve never heard of Monument – thanks for the tip! And good luck with your book!

  18. 18 - Judy on October 5th, 2012

    Oh, I just found your blog and it’s wonderful. I have to settle for the Tartine and Bi-Rite books for the time being but I’ve always wanted to visit San Fran.
    Really lovely blog and I hear you on San Fran. You make me want to move there.

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