Monday, April 2, 2018

Bakery Review: Jane the Bakery, San Francisco, CA

Jane the Bakery - visited March 24, 2018
One of my favorite things to do is to discover and try out new bakeries, whether I’m at home or traveling. It’s even better if I can walk there and burn off some calories before and after I consume whatever the “new” bakery has to offer.

I have a whole list of bakeries in San Francisco I want to try but I have to limit myself to 1 or 2 at a time because I know I can’t eat all the things. For this particular trip, my first stop was Jane the Bakery. It had appeared on a list of “best bakeries” and “top bakeries” and “must-try bakeries” in San Francisco and that’s pretty much all I need to put it on my list.

It had the added advantage of being just over a mile and a half from the Powell St BART station so it was a good chance to get my steps in before I downed the expected hefty calories. Granted, part of that walk took me through the Tenderloin but it was daylight on a weekend and it was fine. Thankfully the rain had also cleared up and most of the walk was in nice weather, not too hot, not too cold.

There are three locations for Jane’s and this one on Geary Blvd used to be an old KFC. I might not have thought of it if I hadn’t known beforehand but when I got there, I could see the KFC skeletons. The customer area was a bit small and narrow. There was a line just outside the door when I arrived late morning and the line folded into itself as it wound from the center cash register to along the display cases to double onto itself closer to the window and out the front doors. I hadn’t expected a line or a crowd but it didn’t take too long and the wait gave me some time to peruse the offerings and take pictures.

It's always hard to decide what to get at a new bakery. There are always so many choices and much as I’d like to, no matter how loose (or not) my waistband is, I know I could never eat everything I want to. No point in eating myself sick. Plus this was my first stop of two so I had to pace myself.

I ended up getting the Nutella Brioche and a hefty slice of the banana bread. Now, I rarely buy someone else’s banana bread since I like the recipe I have and can make a good banana bread on my own. But I wanted something easy to eat on the walk and I didn’t feel like having a cookie (although those looked good too). But contrary to that practical advice, I accepted it for the banana bread but completely ignored it for the Nutella Brioche. Because that was hard to eat on the run (or walk) yet I bought it anyway.

Similar to the Nutella Brioche I had from Jean PhilippePatisserie in Las Vegas, this was a brioche bun stuffed with Nutella. The brioche itself was quite good, not too heavy, not too rich (to me) and it had some kind of crumbly topping which made it messy to eat while walking. I’m sure birds followed me, picking up the Hansel-and-Gretel trail I was leaving behind me as I walked to the next bakery on my list. Did I mentioned this was stuffed with Nutella? As in a good, HUGE dollop of Nutella inside. No dainty filling here but enough Nutella that it oozed out and I almost lost half of it on the sidewalk because I hadn’t expected the waterfall pouring forth. No complaints here.

In hindsight, I should probably have saved the Nutella brioche to eat at home but I was hungry and that was what I was hungry for so I ate it while walking and kept on trucking. It did fill me up enough that I ended up not eating the banana bread until I got home. Go figure.

The banana bread was also good. It was similar in flavor to the banana bread I made although not as sweet. But it was more sturdy than mine. Not tough or dry but not overly moist either. It had good texture and if you like banana bread, this is a good option.

Nutella Brioche
Next time I go back, I probably want to try some of the Jane the Bakery breads or their brunch croissant. Those looked good too.
Banana Bread

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