We've been impressed with Belinda Leong's perfectly executed French pastries since her bakery, B. Patisserie, opened its doors in Pacific Heights just over a year ago. When the Paris and New York City-trained chef isn't turning out her long list of viennoiserie, pastries, or tartines, she's investigating what sweets the rest of San Francisco has to offer.
When asked for a list of her favorite local desserts, chef Leong spoke of everything from chocolate bread to egg custard tarts. "I tried to give some places that aren't on the list that we usually see," she said. To that end, scroll down for her recommendations for pomme d'amour, Sacrapantina, old fashioned ice cream, and more.
For Egg Custard Tart: Golden Gate Bakery is the best place to get a 'Dan Tat'. The shell is so flaky and tender, and the egg custard filling is so smooth and silky. They are always fresh from the oven because they sell so quickly. The line is always out the door.
For Ice Cream: Swensen's Ice Cream is an old-fashioned ice cream parlor that is family owned through generations and located on a corner in Russian Hill. It's a neighborhood staple that just gives you that nostalgic feel when you go in. Turkish Coffee, Banana, Sticky Chewy Chocolate, and Strawberry are some of my all time favorites.
For Vietnamese Desserts: Bambu Dessert & Drinks has a few locations, [one on Geary Street in SF] and some in Daly City, San Jose, and San Mateo. I really enjoy Asian desserts, so this is a great place for their drinks. The menu is pretty extensive with many flavor/ingredient combinations. Pandan Jelly, Basil Seeds, Coconut milk, Taro, Tapioca, Longan...They have it all and you can create whatever combinations you want.
For Chocolate Souffle: The chocolate soufflé at Restaurant Gary Danko is Chef Danko's signature dessert. All the souffles are whipped by hand in a copper bowl which results in a very light and delicate soufflé. They serve the chocolate souffle with chocolate sauce and crème anglais.
For Sacrapantina: The Sacrapantina is a multi layered cake which consists of just sponge cake and zabaglione. Stella Pastry & Cafe is a little cafe in the heart of North Beach. This place is the home of the Sacrapantina. It is a light, moist, airy cake that I just love because it's so simple and good.
For Chocolate Bread: Thorough Bred & Pastry is awesome for bread. The chocolate bread and the fougasse are my favorite. But I enjoy eating the chocolate bread as a dessert. There is also a quite extensive variety of morning pastries and desserts.
For Pomme D'Amore: Knead Patisserie is a little bakery is tucked inside a restaurant, Local: Mission Eatery. The husband, Jake, runs the restaurant, and his wife, Shauna, runs Knead in the back of the restaurant. The pomme d'amour is her signature pastry. It is a flaky pastry that is filled with caramel and crème brûlée. I think it is so wonderful because it is light, creamy, caramely, crispy, crackly, and flaky all at once.