Tartine (San Francisco, CA)


The cavern of Gougere… or an empty brain…

When I began writing pizza reviews (two years ago this month!), I had no idea how complex the world of bread with stuff on top was. Easily distilled down for airport food courts, pizza is seen as a simple food. But it’s this  simplicity that makes ever element vital to a good pie. The most important of which is the crust. A perfect crust begins with baking, a circuitous world of science, art and deliciousness.

This is a world I know little about.

But pizzerias do! Any pizzaiolo worth speaking to will name Tartine Bakery as a source of inspiration (or at lest admiration). Case in point: The Gougere. A light choux pastry–made savory with Gruyère, black pepper and thyme–with a massive hole structure that recalls a cross section of pizza. Just imagine hitting that at the end of a slice of pizza (um, why hasn’t anyone done this yet?!).

Chocolate Croissant

The Chocolate Croissant, soft and buttery–more moist than flaky–hides two thick veins of chocolate. It deserves a trip through a toaster oven, but is still delectable at room temperature.

Morning Roll

Though my heart belong to the Morning Bun at Olive’s in NYC; the sugar crusted, orange zest infused doughy roll from Tartine ranks pretty high in my esteem… especially when enjoyed in nearby Dolores Park.

So Good!

Bisect that sucker…

The Croque Monsieur is where I get nerdy. Playing with the same components of pizza, the savory toppings sit on tart wheat fleck toast. The crust is baked to near-black and the is body sliced into finger thick planks. The bread balances hole density and gluten perfectly–no huge bubbles, no doughy spots will be found in a Tartine slice. The open face sandwich is covered with béchamel, Gruyere, shitaki mushrooms, asparagus, thyme and black pepper and served with a lone pickled carrot. Knife and fork are required tools. A butter knife is not sufficient… trust me.

Tartine Bakery
600 Guerrero St
San Francisco, CA 94110

Del Popolo (San Francisco, CA)

From the very beginning, the food truck moment has seemed silly to me. Chasing meals-on-wheels which never seem to be anywhere close when you crave them. We mutually burn fuel in a roundabout run that rarely leaves my belly or either of our wallets satisfied. And nothing is as frustrating as trolling through twitter and poorly kept Facebook pages just to find out the truck was on your corner… yesterday. I avoid them all together, except in an exceptional case.

Del Popolo is an exceptional case.

The Death Star of the Food Truck World!

The heft and fuel needed to get this beast on the road is completely impractical. Almost immoral. But for a pizza this refined, with depth and complex flavors from minimal ingredients, I can get over myself.  Soft, with a tart funky sourdough crust, and topped with a blend of imported San Marzano and Biano DiNapoli tomatoes. This far exceeds any food truck food I’ve ever devoured.

They ran out of basil so topped my Margareta with Rabe


A “tortilla” bottom that doesn’t taste under cooked at all!

This really isn’t a food truck at all. It’s more akin to a pop up restaurant: no finite location, limited overhead, as fleeting as the San Francisco fog. But she’ll always roll back in, carrying uncompromisingly great pizza in her 28,000 pound belly.

Del Popola