San Franciscans suffer from no shortage of tasty baked goods. With the ever rising popularity of mobile food porn, we are constantly bombarded with the next indulgent confection to line up for, spend too much money on, and photograph before devouring.
But frankly, some of us just aren’t interested. Sometimes we just need a coffee and a nice, warm, freshly baked snack.
For those of you who don’t have time blocked out of your calendar this weekend to wait for the latest matcha infused delectable, head to Hayes Valley for something decadent and delicious.
Hayes Valley Bakeworks has been open for around 8 years and has two locations, one on Gough Street and another a few blocks away on Golden Gate Avenue. The bakery/café operates as a non-profit “social enterprise” and provides employment for formerly incarcerated individuals and training for people with disabilities who are homeless or at risk.
Outside of Hayes Valley Bakework’s good deeds, they also have some really tasty food.
The menu consists of coffee house staples like muffins, scones, quiche, soups, and sandwiches, all perfect to grab on-the-go. One fun standout is the daily vegetarian slice of pizza. The crust is made from a quinoa potato dough and smothered with local ingredients like butternut squash, gorgonzola, and walnut or artichoke, sun dried tomatoes, ricotta and parmesan. The toppings are light and fresh, while the super grain-infused dough has a lovely crisp. It’s not a New York slice, but it’s not really trying to be. This is a farmer’s pizza, like it was plucked fresh from the garden. It’s the pizza that doesn’t make you feel guilty when you’re craving a midweek cheat meal.
But it’s not the slices that keeps me coming back to Bakeworks time and time again. The culprit of that crime is much more wicked.
Hayes Valley Bakeworks makes a cheese and herb pastry that is so good it makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong. The aromatic danish has cheese folded into its flakey layers, spiraling toward its moist center. The wonderful, buttery greases coat my fingers as I meticulously tear apart the sheets of pasty. At this point there is nothing I can do to defend my breakfast hedonism, so I’ll take it all the way and order the roll that also has ham incorporated into its pleats.
This is one of those treats that you can’t imagine ever eating again after you’ve housed an entire one. And yet, it only takes a couple days for the monkey to come crawling right up your back, gnawing at the bit for thyme, sage, and a browned French cheese. It is just so, so good.
So next time you’re in the mood for a quick but not-so-light breakfast, and you want to avoid the crowds that come with Pinterest communal workspaces, head over to Hayes Valley Bakeworks for a hot cup of joe and an herbaceous roll.
Hayes Valley Bakeworks
525 Golden Gate Avenue, 415-658-7185
550 Gough Street, 415-864-2688