Kantine

This past August I traveled for two weeks around Norway. I went into that trip with no expectations regarding food, so it was a delicious surprise to learn about their excellent coffee culture, full of small, hip shops on every other block. Waking up every morning knowing there was a great cup of joe waiting for me each morning was almost if not equally as exciting knowing there was an abundance in pastries as well. My favorite bun was a classic cinnamon knot, always topped with pearl sugar. It was chewy and soft and I left every place I ate a cinnamon knot wanting another one for the road. The sweet buns were one of the things I missed from my trip in Norway, and just as I was missing them a bit more a few weeks ago, I found Kantine while scrolling mindlessly away on Instagram.

Located on Market Street, Kantine gives off a cool, soothing vibe, the same vibe I experienced while visiting Norwegian coffee shops. Even for a Wednesday morning, the space was nearly full with friends chatting over savory porridges and lattes. I spent the morning at Kantine people watching in and out of the shop while eating my breakfast.

The initial sticker shock was also reminiscent of my trip to Norway (five tiny cups of food for $15? To be quite honest, I was skeptical), but the quality and quantity was satisfying. Brunch boards are offered everyday, with a choice of five or seven items to mix and match. My runny egg sat in a small bowl with creamy spinach- a combination I would not have considered for myself, but I found myself savoring every bite and slurping up every last drop. I always prefer savory over sweet, so I jumped at the chance to eat green beans and chickpeas in the morning. A dollop of dill sauce and thin slices of radishes made an excellent crunchy component to breakfast. It was delicious with the soft-boiled egg on thin slices of seeded rye bread. Finally, the rice pudding offered a delicious sweet end to my savory breakfast spread. The soft cherry sauce balanced the crunch of the almonds.

I purchased a box of pastries to take home when I was finally satisfied with breakfast. Below are some pictures of the pastries. Starting at the left is the tebirkes, a sweet cream poppy seed danish. Shaped like a regular chocolate croissant, this square laminated pastry is not even close to being regular. The poppy seeds give a dramatic look! After one bite of this flaky pastry, you’ll realize this pastry is filled with a sweet cream that isn’t overly sweet, but is balanced with the savory buttery layers of the croissant. Pølsehorn is the rectangular pastry to the right, a Danish sausage roll wrapped in laminated dough sprinkled with sesame, poppy and fennel seeds. I love sausage rolls! My go to way to eat a sausage roll is the sweet, yeasty his was a delicious, crunchy variation of how I love to eat hot dogs because my one true love will always be at Chinese bakeries with a yeasty sweet dough. At the bottom of the box is a classic cinnamon knot pastry. If you were not convinced to purchase any food from Kantine at this point, please do me a favor and buy this one. It is the perfect snack with coffee to start your day, eat as a midday snack, eat for dessert, and also maybe for midnight snacks. Although it looks similar to Kosher salt, these delicious treats are topped with pearl sugar, giving a nice crunch to the soft and chewy dough.

The picture on the rightis the seasonal fruit danish consisting of a festive combination of pears and lingonberries. Crisp yet chewy dough in conjunction with the soft pears made for a delectable afternoon snack.

Kantine’s food is not your typical brunch fare, but it is nearly if not more comforting than your standard eggs Benedict on a Saturday morning. If you ride the F train, you have no excuse to not stop by for a quick pastry before you head to work this week. Treat yourself, it’s almost Friday. Then treat yourself again on Saturday for brunch, because you still ride the F train.

Neighbor's Corner

Before I moved, using the bus was my least favorite mode of transportation. I would rather walk 45 minutes than take the bus. While taking the bus is still not my favorite, it's basically all I do now in San Francisco. With all this said, I passed by Neighbor's Corner by accident while riding the 48 one early Sunday morning and knew I needed to find it again, but on purpose this time. Tucked away in the hills on the corner of Douglas and 21st Street, I would have never found this place on my own (so thanks, SFMTA, I guess?). 

Neighbor's Corner serves Andytown coffee and a selection of pastries and light lunch items. The cafe also has a mini mart area, selling sandwiches and other lunch items and drinks to take away, and bookshelves of handmade ceramics. I sat at a long community table, slightly jealous of the people who nabbed the seats along the window. I snacked on a scallion and bacon cornmeal scone and a cortado, enjoying the natural light this cafe serves and instead of people watching, I saw at least ten different types of dogs pass by. Drinks are served in ceramic dish ware, making me feel even more at home than I had already felt when I first stepped inside. This place is extremely cute without trying too hard, even with its minimalist white walls and contemporary ceramic cups. If this cafe is already not perfect enough, bring your laptop and take advantage of their free wifi so you can work on your blog, you weird millennial. Neighbor's Corner is the ideal daytime hangout, so for all you freelancers out there, this place is paradise. 

Vive La Tarte

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Am I truly getting the full experience of Vive La Tarte if I don't purchase a tart? This question was immediately answered as I saw the range of tarts laid out neatly next to the register. To be honest, the pastries were the second thing I noticed when I first walked in; the wide open space to walk around and sit was honestly a bit surprising in a big city like San Francisco. Vive La Tarte hosts blank white walls, massive wood benches stacked along the wall and marble counters. The pastry cases boast a variety of croissants, quiches, pizzas and of course, tarts galore. Need caffeine? The coffee station sits across from the baked goods against a painted grey wall. While many spaces can typically hold groups of 2-3 comfortably, Vive La Tarte is a great space to meet up with a larger group of friends. And another perk? It's a six minute walk from the Civic Center BART station. You're welcome, go grab a tart. 

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