ess eff oh…back to the bay

right before christmas, we had the pleasure of traveling to san francisco.  yes, you can read that as slightly sarcastic.  traveling at the holidays is stressful.  no matter how smoothly it goes, and our flights went very smoothly,  there is always a rushed atmosphere and a sense that no matter how many hours in the day, it will never be enough to get it all done.  even when you travel to a place in which you lived at one time, there is always a bit of confusion that comes from this not being home.  despite growing up in the big city (the new york city area for the husband and me) and having lived in san francisco, we have been in nashville now for nearly 18 years.  assimilating to the pace and the volume of traffic in san francisco served only to make it a little more stressful.  but then, we knew it would be.

so, why would we go?  why would we do that knowing that it wouldn’t be the vacation of a lifetime?  it wasn’t about us, it was all about the diva, our younger one.  it was her big day-she graduated from school and holiday or not, we were going to be there to watch her walk across the stage.  so, we landed in sfo, took the airport train (a rather boring monorail that promises nothing more than a ride around the airport-a rather large and impressive piece of real estate at that) to the rental car pick up center, found our ride and drove up to marin to our new temporary digs on the side of highway 101 in san rafael.

on our first morning, we went out in search of coffee.  luckily for us, san rafael does not have a shortage of coffee houses open at 8am on a sunday morning.  we parked on the street and walked to royal ground coffee on 4th street.

it was a nice start to a cold and wet morning.  it was actually colder and wetter in the bay area than it was in nashville.  we were not completely prepared for this since it is generally the reverse.  nothing like a cup of west coast dark roast and a sugary gingersnap to start the morning.

my husband-caught him by surprise.  

a quick call to the girls, they needed breakfast, had us moving again.  we went and picked them up at their grandparent’s house and took them to breakfast.  my plans for the day included taking the ferry to san francisco to have brunch with a friend so we went to the ferry landing in larkspur.  in a nearby business center, there is a great little bakery, the rustic bakery.  we hung out here while the girls ate and i waited to board the ferry to san francisco.

the diva, the graduation girl.  even at 9am on a sunday morning, she still looks like she walked out of a photo shoot.  me, i was hoping for a nap and a miracle.

my girls and their dad.  cut them some slack, it was just 9am on a sunday morning and suddenly, mom was all camera happy…

it was just after i took this picture that they threatened me.  i stopped taking photos of them and began taking photos of their ham and cheese croissants.

i love the technique.  pull it apart into a million little shards…the black fingernails really sell the shot

but honestly, look at all of the layers.  that my friends is bakery porn!  croissant dough done right!!!

can you see the layers?  it had me longing for the chance to make a batch of dough and fold in the butter block and make the turns on the dough…then the coffee kicked in, dream over.

so flaky and perfect.

one last unsuspecting shot-luckily, they were unarmed.
it was at that moment that i realized behind the display, if one looked carefully, they could see into the kitchen.
if you look closely, you can see the baker in the black shirt making turns on the dough.  they are lucky to have a dough sheeter to do the work but that doesn’t mean they don’t have skill.  trust me, nothing destroys dough faster than someone who doesn’t know how to work dough with a dough sheeter.  been there, done that, cleaned it up many times…it was nice to see that they use homemade dough, made me realize just how different things are here in nashville as compared to the bay area.  out there, artisanal is old hat, the way most things are made, here, it is still a bit of a novelty.  i truly hope that novelty doesn’t fade.