There are two bakeries, right next to each other on Geary. One is Irish, the other Israeli, and they both deliver superb baked goods.
At Israel Kosher Meat, Poultry and Deli, there are a few baked goods from local distributors. There’s Irving’s challah, and some stuff from Grand Bakery. But mostly, the baked goods are made in-house. The strudel is the best rworange has had in the Bay Area. Cheese strudel is filled with great farmer’s cheese and raisins in a light, buttery crust. Poppy seed strudel has a nice, honey-flavored filling in a flaky crust. The cheesecake is Russian-style: light, tangy, and moist.
Next door to Israel Kosher is John Campbell’s Irish Bakery. “Step in the door and you are no longer in SF,” says rworange. “Everyone has a lovely Irish accent, both customers and staff.” And the baked goods—fantastic.
There are perfect custard tarts. “I throw down the challenge that no Chinese bakery in the city makes a better more elegant custard tart … it makes Golden Gate taste crude by comparison,” rworange says. The tarts have a delicate, buttery crust and a perfectly light custard filling. They are tiny pieces of beautiful custard perfection—though they must be eaten the very day they’re made.
What else? There are tarts with thick, lovely whipped cream. There are indescribably great beef and vegetable pasties—flaky crust around savory coarsely chopped beef with potatoes, peas, and carrots. There is wonderful soft, white, light-crusted Irish crusty bread. There are elegant scones, which make Cynsa ludicrously happy. They’re “even better than Joanna Karlinsky’s Meeting House biscuits,” she declares. There are breakfast sandwiches on fresh bread, loaded with egg, cheddar, sausage, and Irish bacon. There is dangerously good meat pie, says Bruce Harlick. And there is, strangely enough, delicious focaccia—soft, yeasty, and with a bit of jalapeño.
Israel Kosher Meat, Poultry and Deli [Richmond]
5621 Geary Boulevard, San Francisco
John Campbell’s Irish Bakery [Richmond]
5625 Geary Boulevard, San Francisco