A July Bread Pilgrimage - Acme and Tartine
On July 2, 2011, I drove from Sacramento down to the San Francisco Bay area and (among other things) visited two rather famous bakeries, Acme Bread Company and Tartine Bakery.
Acme's store in Berkeley was first stop. It was a very small place and there was a line of customers out the door. I snapped a couple photos of their sign and the profusion of breads visible through the window. When I got inside I was a bit flummoxed and felt I had to decide what to buy quickly so as not to hold up the line. I hastily chose loaves of whole wheat walnut sourdough, olive bread, and braided challah covered with sesame seeds.
^Loaves from Acme ( top to bottom: Olive, Challah, and Whole Wheat Walnut Sourdough)
^Acme Olive loaf crumb
^Acme Challah crumb
^Acme Whole Wheat Walnut Sourdough crumb
After leaving Berkeley my wife and I drove across the Bay to Tartine Bakery in San Francisco. Acme was busy, but Tartine was a total zoo, line out the door no place to park for blocks around, and us arriving too early to buy the bread that only goes on sale at 5PM. We found a place a couple miles away where we could actually park and get some coffee and wait until Tartine was ready to sell bread, but it wasn't easy. We went back to Tartine at the appointed hour and my wife circled the block while I braved the line and finally scored three loaves of their country bread and a cookbook. By the time we left my wife was having panic-like shivering fits from the crowded city, narrow streets, and outrageous traffic. Tartine was not a convenient place to shop and San Francisco is not a nice place to visit in a car, especially on a holiday weekend. The bread from Tartine was nice but I never ever want to go there again - way too stressful for me! Once I worked in San Francisco years ago, but these days I'm too old and gimpy to ride the bus and hike up and down hills in a town not designed for people in cars.
I was too dazed by the mob scene at Tartine to snap photos of the place. The Tartine loaves I bought looked exactly like the photos on the website and the cover of the "Tartine Bread" cookbook.
Here's a crumb shot:
^Tartine Crumb shot.
It was all great bread. I gave some to friends and ate at least half a loaf of everything I bought over the next few days (my wife, being on a perpetual low-carb diet, was not competing with me). The olive bread was great for snacking on while on the road. The Challah was soft and nice. The Tartine bread was great although I never want to face that mob scene again. The Whole Wheat Walnut Sourdough from Acme was really great, so good I had a whack at trying to duplicate it, but that's a story for another day.