When I was freelancing and juggling several jobs, I somehow had the leisurely time for what I came to think of as the Tartine experiments. As in, let's see if I can succeed in not getting frustrated at Tartine. One foggy Wednesday afternoon at 2:30, I guessed to myself, "Surely this will be the day when I can go in, order without waiting, and sit in the coveted corner table by the espresso stand that so alludes me." Images of leisurely eating and coffee drinking filled my head.
Alas, even when I mixed it up a little and changed the days and times of my visit, I'd get stuck in a ten plus person line, craning my neck to see which Tartine treats were in stock. The food kept me coming back, but I felt the Tartine experiments were somewhat of a failure. It's frustrating as hell to place an order with one gal (yes, the Tartine staff seem to be young hot, hipster gals. Do any boys work there?), and then repeat the order to a different gal at the register. If you're ordering for a big group or to go, the chaos only multiplies.
Yesterday, I offered to pick up pastries for work. Not a selfless move, don't be fooled. It's all about the cravings for this one! There are reports of an express counter that's in the works, but I knew it isn't yet ready. I drive and walk by often, after all. The smells tempt, the lines deter. I decided to try the Tartine online order form, which is slightly ridiculous in its assumption that people order at least 48 hours in advance. I'd understand 24 hours but 48? Online? Is it 1999? They specify on the site that Tartine will call to get your credit card number and only then is your order confirmed. There was no call back and I didn't give them 48 hours notice, so I knew the chances were dicey that a big box of pastries would be ready.
It was 8:10, so the line was only 4 deep. I'll take it! It took almost ten minutes from start to finish to order the pastries, watch the gal pack them up, tell the counter gal I had 12 pastries, get rung up, and fill up my coffee. For this experiment, I rewarded myself with a morning bun with sticky sugar and Cinnamon and lovely hints of orange. It's my go-to Tartine item, but I sometimes mix it up and get a chocolate or almond croissant. Sitting on the sidewalk (due to no tables inside) breathing exhaust fumes and watching people rush by suited me just fine. The Delfina guys were washing down the sidewalk, getting ready for the big weekend. The wait ended up being worth it: the dozen pastries were a hit. In the afternoon, I did the most indulgent thing, and sampled half, then all of one of the famed Tartine gougeres. Savory, peppery, cheesey deliciousness.