January 20, 2014

Baddest Bakery on the Block!

{Review of Craftsman and Wolves Bakery}

Craftsman and Wolves are rebel pastry chefs with a cause: bringing the finest avant-garde pâtisserie to San Francisco's Mission district. Bold and unconventional, this hipster bakery has won awards for its contemporary interior design. The look and feel is definitely modern (and unfortunately not very cozy) with exposed beams and stainless-steel countertops. There are also a few tables outside, which are the best seats in the house. Here you can enjoy your desserts while pretending you're at a Parisian sidewalk café! 

My favorite choice: Chocolate-Walnut Brownie with Salted Caramel Filling

The pastries are very high quality, on par with the best European pâtisserie, and the flavors are unexpected. They offer a spicy gougère, a Thai mango-coconut scone, and a special muffin made with sausage and a whole soft-cooked egg inside. Other options are simple yet original. For instance the chocolate-walnut brownie is actually a sandwich with salted-caramel filling. In fact, this is my favorite pastry at Craftsman and Wolves, yet it's the easiest to overlook since the brownies are not displayed prominently in the case. 

Strawberry-Pistachio Cake offered during the spring and summer

Craftsman and Wolves updates their pastry selection with the seasons. During the summer, they offered a pistachio cake made with strawberry jelly and olive oil buttercream—the perfect balance of flavors. I could easily eat this cake every day with my afternoon tea. In summer and fall, there is the Breton Biscuit, a simple dessert featuring vanilla panna cotta and caramelized pears on top of a soft cookie. 

Breton Biscuit with caramelized pears and vanilla panna cotta

The "Creamsicle Coupe" was just introduced in January. I love how Craftsman and Wolves has reinterpreted a pop culture sweet treat, from the point of view of fine pâtisserie. This small choux pastry is filled with fresh citrus fruit and a creamy vanilla-saffron custard. It's a perfect dessert for wintertime—when citrus fruits are in season. The saffron flavor was very subtle (I wouldn't have been able to guess the ingredients) but the fresh grapefruit and quince are what make this dessert delicious.

"Creamsicle Coupe"

The Litchi Chocolate-Espresso Mousse Cake also seems to be influenced by another popular "junk food," and I mean this in the best way possible! This delicious little cream-filled cake reminds me of a "Twinkie" except that it's made with wonderful fresh ingredients: litchi fruit, milk chocolate, espresso, creamy mousse, moist genoise cake. This delicious and cutting-edge creation rates high in the fun department!

It's like a Twinkie for grown-ups!

Craftsman and Wolves' most classic dessert is the "Cube Cake," combining delicate chocolate cake with rich caramel mousse featuring a hint of cinnamon. So light and fluffy and subtly aromatic! Even if you're not a fan of dark chocolate, you'd still appreciate this dessert because the chocolate is not overpowering. 

Cube Cake: Chocolate, Caramel, Vietnamese Cinnamon

I love Craftsman and Wolves' decor aesthetic. Some of the designs seem to be inspired by the abstract artwork of Mark Rothko or Piet Mondrian. Learn more about this new trend in dessert presentation by checking out pastry chef Caitlin Freeman's "Modern Art Desserts" cookbook. Have fun getting really creative!

"Modern Art Desserts" by Caitlin Freeman

If you feel like pampering yourself, then indulge in the Craftsman and Wolves afternoon tea service. The experience is no-frills (you won't find table clothes, elegant sofas or harp music) but the menu includes a wonderful assortment of sweets and savory baked goods, such as chocolate-covered marshmallows, ginger-scallion mini-madeleines and single-bite duck confit brioche sandwiches.

More enticing choices at Craftsman and Wolves... why choose one, when you could try them all?!

Copyright © 2014-2015, Lisa Alexander. All rights reserved. 

1 comment:

@the_bear_clan said...

Chocolate Croissant Stack?!? Cocoa Shortbread with Peanut Butter? Chocolate-Walnut Brownie with Salted Caramel Filling?! Do they make anything that is not to die for?