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My chowhound Saturday (kind of long)

Anya L | Jun 13, 200501:34 PM

On Saturday I decided to try a bunch of places I'd been meaning to try + places I recently heard about on this site.

I started the day at the Ferry Building Farmers' Market and tried Blue Bottle coffee for the first time. I had the drip, since that's what I usually drink - it was free with purchase of beans. For those who haven't had it, it was made to order, so you have to wait. Normally I drink a large coffee, but they only do small there because of the capacity of the filter. Boy do they make it strong! The small really packed a wallop - it was almost too concentrated for me, and I tend to like strong coffee. Maybe I should've put milk in it. It was good, but I don't know if I'm a convert. Maybe I should try the espresso drinks. At the Farmers' Market I also bought apricots from Frog Hollow, which I used to make a yummy apricot tart.

Then I walked to North Beach, stopping at Justa Bite to try a custard eclair. I thought the pastry was pretty good, the filling decent though a bit skimpy (well, I guess it was supposed to be "just a bite"). The chocolate glaze was very thick and hard, which I didn't care for. I prefer a thinner, softer chocolate glaze.

Next stop was Liguria Bakery for mushroom focaccia, then Golden Gate Bakery for a custard tart, lotus seed cake, and a chicken pie (their recommendation - I asked for a chicken bun, but they didn't have any). I took all that home for lunch, although I couldn't resist sneaking a bite of the custard tart, which was warm from the oven. Everything was wonderful! I almost ate half the focaccia myself (probably all that oil makes it so good). The custard tart was the best I've had, the crust was ultra-flaky and the filling was just the right texture and flavor. The lotus seed cake was quite good - I'll have to try the other fillings too. The chicken pie was really tasty, shaped like a turnover with that great flaky crust and generous amount of meaty filling.

By the way, The Richmond on Balboa opened as scheduled last Friday. I saw the menu and it looks like typical California cuisine featuring organic ingredients from local farms. Prices are the most expensive on Balboa, comparable to Chapeau or Clementine, so the quality had better be up there for a neighborhood place. We are going there later this week and will report back.

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