Pilgrimage to Tartine Bakery

I'm a big fan of Tartine Bakery along with the the affiliated cookbooks (here and here). I happened to be in Palo Alto last week and decided to drive into the city for a quick visit to carbohydrate heaven. The main mission: To purchase the OG country loaf that inspired my fixation on baking bread.

The key to buying a country loaf from Tartine is to pre-order it 24-72 hours in advance. They only make a limited amount of bread each day so there's no guarantee for walk-ins. Since loaves come out of the oven around 4:30pm, I went early and ate/bought pretty much everything in the bakery while I waited. My game knows no shame.

I started with the "Spicy Turkey" which is peppered turkey, provolone, and broccoli rabe pesto on Tartine's country loaf. The crispy and buttery texture of the bread was just right with the melted cheese and spicy bite of the pesto.

After eating my sandwich, I did the only rational thing to be done and bought a gluttonous amount of sweets. A Mexican wedding cookie, hazelnut biscotti, piece of pumpkin tea cake, brownie, and a chocolate friand. Oh, there's more. Then I ordered two coconut cream tarts - one for me and one to take back for Rob. Nary a crumb could be found byt he end of the night. Willpower is futile when a box of desserts is staring at you in a hotel room. Also, I made a mental note that the hazelnut biscotti was particularly delicious with coffee so I plan to try that recipe. (Available in Tartine.)

Then there's the coconut cream tart. This gorgeous treat tastes better than it looks (if that's possible). The crust was perfectly flaky and yet had wonderful structure. The tart has a thin layer of chocolate on the bottom, a surprise bit of caramel, coconut cream, and it's all topped off with toasted coconut and airy whipped cream that barely hints of sweetness. My amateur mind is blown by the fact that the above tart is one beautifully executed item among many. Pastry magic.

Finally, at 4:25pm the OG country loaf was mine. It was so fresh-out-of-the-oven that the girl helping me had to wear gloves to bag it up. Charred ear, bird's eye bubbles for days, and a perfectly light yet crispy crust with a gorgeous ombre finish. Most excellent.

My carbohydrate haul and I were on the way to the car when Chad Robertson came walking across the street. Like a fangirl high on sugar, I proceeded to introduce myself and gush about all things Tartine. Given the fact that Chad is a seemingly humble and gentle soul, I feel he handled my bread groupie vibe like a champ. Did I sound like a stalker when I said, "I'm excited to meet you since, per Instagram, I saw that you were traveling." Yes I did. Granted, Chad was the first person to mention he had been out of town...but still.

I'll be back, Tartine. I'll be back.

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