Black Sesame Madeline
Carrot Bran Muffin
Blueberry Cornmeal Scone
Pineapple Coconut Kouign Amann
Apple Almond Croissant
Chocolate Chip Cookie
Chocolate Caramel Toffee Mousse
Rare to revisit Restaurants when traveling, even those that are particularly impressive, there was simply no resisting Belinda Leong after almost five years – and for the third time her mastery of everything from Muffins to Viennoiserie at b. patisserie remains largely unmatched stateside.
Now in business for herself since 2012, stints at Manresa and Pierre Herme laying the foundation for what will likely soon be a Beard Award-winning career, it is at the corner of California and Divisadero that patrons will find a collection of items sweet and savory, the counter wrapping an open kitchen offering more than a glimpse of processes streamlined to yield both volume and uncompromising quality.
Carefully bridging French technique and American sensibilities, Leong and partner Michel Suas creating over two-dozen items daily, those in the know will first take time to peruse seasonal options before making choices, though those with a substantial appetite may just be better off starting left and working right at risk of ordering with eyes bigger than their stomachs.
Opting for the latter approach, a total of nine Pastries tallying just over $40, it was finding a comfortable seat in the widow that indulgence was underway, bites of Madeline flecked by Sesame attesting to a keen sense of balance while the Carrot Bran Muffin was far less sweet than anticipated, yet still moist and saturated with Spices.
Thrilled to see pint-size Kugelhopf, an Alsatian specialty here featuring California White Raisins suspended in Brioche baked golden, it was quickly finishing this that attention turned to a Cornmeal Scone riddled by Blueberries, the bite-to-bite textural variance an impressive feat, as too was the degree of lamination achieved by Pain Suisse that seems only painted with Custard to anchor the Chocolate Chips.
Not about to pass on Kouign Amann, the very reason so many make their trip to Lower Pacific Heights, it was disccovering a combination of Pineapple Jam and shredded Coconut that this iteration took on a tropical tinge, the Apple Almond Croissant to follow unfortunately failing to compare since the bottom was quite soggy and corners overly sweet.
Finishing with Cookies and Cake, the former layering Dark Chocolate Wafers in Butter, Flour and Sugar to achieve a texture not unlike Fudge, it is for $7 that guests can find even more richness in the form of Chocolate Caramel Toffee Mousse, the flourless Biscuit base doing a fine job of standing up to the bittersweet satin mound and shiny Ganache on top.