I think I've made it clear through past posts that I like sweets. Not just any sweets, but the good, hearty, baked kind with icing and stuff. Thus when new bakeries pop up in town that can offer versions of baked goods, I wait until the rush dies down and then head out to give them a try. That's the case with B. Patisserie (no website yet) in Laurel Heights. It opened with a lot of fanfare due to the proprietress Belinda Leong, who garnered many fans working as a pastry chef at Manresa and Gary Danko. (It's co-owned with Michel Suas of the San Francisco Baking Institute) I ventured over to its unassuming store front near the corner of Divisadero and California and upon first look it has the air of one of those French bakery kind of places with marble counter tops and tables and tiny chairs, a very ladies who lunch kind of place.
I have to say I'm not always a fan of the French bakery thing, I mean that stuff looks good and is okay but usually it's more about baking the bread in different ways than it is about the sweets. But the things I perused in the along the counter looked good and I was hungry so I kept my dessert mind open.
Sometimes at upscale bakeries like this I can usually count on there being at least an eclair if I can't decide on anything else, but there was not a one in site here and a lot of the things are very bread oriented. They do have a few, what I will call petit four type things with chocolate ganache toppings and what not but I decided to go with some of their specialties since that is usually ones best bet when you are not sure what to get.
Here I got the sugar brioche tort and the kouign-amann. The tort was both light and airy and cake-like, I didn't feel like I was eating a puff of air with powdered sugar on it, and that's a good thing. The little extra of custard in the middle added a little creaminess to it that didn't make me miss icing at all. There was a small sprinkling of sugar baked on top with added a touch of crunch and texture which was nice. Yes it's sweet but not too sweet that you will get some big sugar rush and then need a nap, I found it just right.
The kouign-amann is a specialty of Chef Leong's (they sell a lot here) and the lady behind the counter described it as a sweetened version of a croissant, which I heartily agreed with. At first I was dubious and unprepared to really like this as it's really just bread with melted sugar inside but after eating (a whole one) I did like it. It was crispy, flaky, buttery and sugary--all the things one likes in a sweet. It felt both light to eat and filling at the same time, the crunchy baked-ness of the bread helps with this. It is basically a light croissant pastry with sugar filling that you can happily delude yourself into thinking you're not overdoing it on a sweet snack. A sugary delusion yes, but hey, those are the best kind.
More than just your average bakery the place does live up to its hype. If you want to impress your friends stop in, pick up some treats and share the sweets, they will be happy you did.