Welcome back to Good Taste, a menu for food and fun in the Bay Area. For this 125th edition of the column, we’re featuring five bites that nail the mashup as well as the infamous cronut (croissant + donut) still does in NYC. Cutesy names like cruffins and croffles don’t guarantee that they’re actually gonna be good, so you’ll want to make note of these particular picks!
Shakshuka is a tomato-based egg dish that normally requires utensils to eat, but Reem’s (2901 Mission and 1 Ferry Building in SF) makes a portable and non-messy shakshuka tart with a chewy, crispy crust that is just brilliant. Such a good idea, right? I ate the tart for lunch today and would be equally stoked to have it for any meal.
Monte Cristo kouign-amann
Donut Petit (711 Santa Clara Ave. in Alameda) has a lot of playful options, including donut hole kebabs and pistachio old fashioned donuts. But the marquee item here has to be the Monte Cristo kouign-amann, with slices of ham and cheese stuffed into the center of the laminated, sugar-crunchy pastry dough and powdered sugar on top. Sweet and savory combos can sometimes be clunky in donut shops, but this one is seriously perfection.
Rolling Out Cafe (1722 Taraval in SF) offers regular and mini versions of their flaky and chewy mochi croissant hybrids (aka mochissants). A personal favorite is black sesame, but it’s hard to go wrong here. There are also special weekend Kouign Amann experiments, including a “pork bun” variety that I’ve yet to try yet still lives rent-free in my head. They’ll also do crurros (croissant churros) on pre-order.
Tartine Inner Sunset (1226 Ninth Ave. in SF) offers impressive slices of baklava babka, which has to be a delicate dish to bake on account of the flaky, pistachio-loaded phyllo dough layers that weave through the babka dough. This is as much of a baking marvel as the Tartine bread, as far as I’m concerned.
Cheesecake boba donut
The three-month-old Magic Donuts & Coffee (1675 Mariposa in SF) from Bacchus Management Group, which operates fancy restaurants like Spruce in SF and Selby’s in Redwood City, has gotten a lot of attention for using sourdough in the donuts, which give them a light, fluffy, and springy quality. Their most outrageous mashup combines a donut with two more local passions: cheesecake and boba. It’s worth trying along with their more singular sensations, like matcha and milk chocolate.
Speaking of donuts, Tamara’s new Music Book Club is hosting an author conversation with Dan Charnas and his NYT Bestseller Dilla Time on Sun. Jan. 28 at noon PT. (Dilla loved donuts!) Add the Music Book Club events calendar to your Google Calendar in order to get the Zoom link to this and all upcoming events. Post-event recordings will be available right here on our media partner 48 Hills.