Tartine Manufactury

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Susan and Karl are here for a week, so we need to spend all out time partying.  Thursday, we went into the city for lunch with Susan’s nephew Joji.  He’s a chef, so we asked him where to eat a hip, trendy lunch and were led to Tartine Manfactury in the Mission for an interesting experience.

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Joji and Aunt Susan

Tartine is a bakery as well as a restaurant, which you might have guessed from the loaves of bread at the top of this post.  In the modern style, most everything is right our in front, so you can see what’s happening.   They have a huge oven, of course:

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The kitchen is in front:

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The room for pastry making is visible, but mostly I noticed the employee moving a tall stack of baskets, which is what they cook many items in:

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It’s good to enjoy your work

The dining room is mostly glass, very bright and open.  It’s way too loud for me, but just right for the endless stream of tattooed hipsters who keep this place humming.

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Service at Tartine is just plain weird, and not in a particularly good way.  You line up and order at the counter, where you get to walk past a case with all the good things you can order from the bakery.  Here’s a small sample:

After you place your order, you get an electronic device to place on your table, which somehow tells the staff where you are so they can bring the food.  I don’t think they work all that well, since we saw lots of waitstaff wandering around looking lost holding plates to deliver.

The food is good, when they manage to locate you.  I had the ham and cheese sandwich, hold the pickles.

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Joji had the Spicy Coppa, roasted peppers and Monterey Jack:

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Everything was excellent.  The food here is just great.  I had a chocolate chip hazelnut cookie that was maybe the best cookie ever.  Susan raved over her bread pudding.  We all enjoyed our meal immensely.

Saying good by to Joji, we headed off for an adventure, first going to Coup d’Etat to see the exhibit of Harry Siter’s work we enjoyed last week at the opening.

We decided to spend the rest of the day just driving around the city and looking at stuff.  The Wharf was still busy on a rainy October Thursday, the Embarcadero was in a constant state of growth, the Presidio was beautiful.

We wandered out to Sea Cliff to look at the really big houses where the rich folks live, and noticed a growing trend of decorating houses for Halloween.  The spooky holiday has become the second largest event of the years, behind only Christmas in spending.  We saw houses with multiple jack o’lanterns, tons of spider webs, tombstones with corny sayings like “Here lies Fester and Rot”.  skeletons seeming coming out of the dirt, and this very intriguing figure in a window:

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I fell like I want to go back there at night and see how they light it..Them rich folks sure know how to do things.

Eventually, we wound up at the Cliff house as it neared sundown.  Since it was a cloudy and wet day, there wasn’t much of a sunset to view, but we stayed for a glass of wine and a nibble.

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Two chardonnays, a gin martini, and a glass of Muscat vin de glacierre, a superb dessert wine I splurged with to accompany my cheese plate:

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Cow, sheep and goats milk cheeses with accompaniments.

Things I don’t understand in life: why cheese plates come with these little slices of yesterdays bread toasted until they are rock hard, tasteless and unpleasant.  Order some fresh bread, or even better, warm toast, and the cheese is vastly better.  The restaurant can make bread pudding out of the leftover bread.

There was also a plate of calamari; crispy, hot and gooey in the middle.

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Sated with a full day of having fun, we motored slowly home through Golden Gate Park, then the evening traffic.  Turns out that traffic doesn’t bother me if I’m not in a hurry to be anywhere.

That’s one way to spend a pretty much perfect day in the city.

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