Tour de Croissant 2017: Look Back at It
In its inaugural year, Tour de Croissant sought to uncover the finest crescent-shaped pastry accessible on two wheels in a city filled with top contenders. We combed reviews and recommendations to come up with a list of the best offerings, and developed routes through the city that rewarded early alarm clocks and stiff climbs with warm buttery pockets of dough and shards of flaky pastry.
Our kickoff stage took us to a top seed and Friend of Fat Cake, Arsicault Bakery in the Inner Richmond. After crossing the bridge and climbing our favorite Headlands hills, we rolled back through town for our regular Tuesday morning pastry feast. Known for their simple and insanely fresh selection, Arsicault may have gone in as an early favorite, but we knew we had others to consider before the verdict was final.
Our planned Butter Lap for Stage 2 got rerouted to a short but punchy mountain stage up and over Twin Peaks to @kahnfections at 20th + Folsom in the Mission. Kahnfections showed us incredible hospitality and showed strong in the Savory category with a Spinach & Feta Croissant as well as a fan favorite Almond Croissant.
A nearly summery morning greeted us for Stage 3, where we would climb some of our favorite SF hills and end at Jane The Bakery at Geary + Steiner, near Japantown. Jane’s creative offerings and friendly service won over our large group. As they say, no Jane no gain.
Feeling like a little pocket of Paris in the heart of SF, we visited the highly touted B. Patisserie on California for Stage 4. Since you stand in line in front of their tempting trays, making a choice was a challenge, but their Ham and Cheese Croissant drew rave reviews.
Stage 5 took us up the famed Hyde Street climb in order to descend serpentine Lombard Street as the city stirred and make our way to Thorough Bread and Pastry tucked on Church Street in the Castro. This place did not mess around, with a huge array of pastries and treats. Their golden brown beauties restored the croissant watts we spent climbing Hyde Street.
Neighbor Bakehouse inspired us to head south for Stage 6 for a loop around San Bruno Mountain and back through the Dogpatch. Fat Cake went into feast mode at Neighbor, where their Blackberry Pistachio Croissant stole our hearts and filled our bellies.
We spun around the city before ending up at Le Marais’ Castro location for Stage 7, where their stylish sunlit corner cafe and beautiful pastries brought a new contender into the mix.
Before we knew it, it was time for the TdC finale, where we chose Vive La Tarte to wrap things up. We mixed it up with a flat lap around Lake Merced straight into three of the city’s best climbs before descending into SOMA. VLT won the prize for biggest group tab AND most bike-friendly bakery on our tour, and before or after you try a croissant, make sure you leave room for their avocado toast (swoon).
It was a hard fought battle. Over 200 croissants were eaten in the name of research on the TdC, because Fat Cakers are nothing if not thorough when it comes to pastries.
After the votes were tallied, no one could top the fresh and buttery goodness of Arsicault, who took the top spot in all three categories (best sweet, best savory and best plain). Honorable mentions to @neighborbakehouse, @vivelatarte and @bpatisserie who showed strong in the sweet and savory categories, and to all our stage bakeries, who welcomed our hungry crews with excellent pastries and hot coffee.
Best Plain - Arsicault
Hon Mention: none
Best Sweet - Arsicault Almond
Hon Mention - Neighbor Blackberry Pistachio
Best Savory - Arsicault Ham and Cheese
Hon Mention - B Patisserie Ham and Cheese
But the quest is far from over! See you soon for Tour de Croissant 2018. Keep up with @fatcakeclub for the latest!
Words by Caetie Ofiesh