Posted on November 30 2011

MY TARTINE BAKERY TOUR (part 3: satisfied)

So, this is the third and final post from my SF/Tartine visit.  Yeah, I know – three posts?!  I couldn’t summarize all the magic into just one post, so you, Lucky Reader, get to hear more amazing details about the trip.  In summary of parts one and two, it all started with a serendipitous run-in which lead to a whirlwind tour of the bakery.  As I mentioned, I sort of blacked out or something from the exhilaration of it all because I don’t really recall the exact encounter – I’m still putting together the pieces.  Oh yeah, he said one of the bakers excitedly told him that I had Tweeted that I was in San Francisco – stuff like that pops in my head as I’m doing dishes. That night, I did walk out of the bakery worried that I didn’t have good enough pictures, and all of the questions and things I wanted to say to Chad rushed back into my head as we left, and I was bummed that all I could say to him was something like “Oh, cool” about a million times.  

Upon further reflection, it wasn’t that bad.  (I hope.  At least that’s what I am convincing myself so I can move on with my life.)  I resolved to head back the next day to get some better shots of the exterior in the daylight.  Chad had mentioned some of the bakers that read my blog had left earlier in the day, and I had just missed them.  I also thought I heard him say Liz may be around the next day.  My return visit had some potential promise.

That’s Claire.  (or maybe Clare?  I didn’t ask her to spell it!)  She, like all the beautiful people that work there, was super happy as she served up tarts and cookies to the patrons of the shop.  I felt weird just watching her do her job for a minute, but I told her about my blog, and then clarified I was not stalking her or anyone at the bakery.

My effort to stare into the kitchen hoping to catch someone’s eye just made me look, and feel, like some creepy lurker handing out by the napkins.  They were crazy busy, as always, and I didn’t want to annoy anyone.  I brought my friend, Graham, who’s a fancy photographer, and he’d had taken plenty of amazing pictures, so as I turned to say, “Let’s go,” a guy came from the kitchen and said, “You’re Emily, right?  I read your blog.”  First of all, this was the first time I was recognized anywhere!  I’ve been mistaken for other people my whole life!  He knew me!  Speaking to someone who works there that reads this blog was a huge part why I’d gone back the next day, but him recognizing me totally threw me off.  He introduced himself as Kull (I thought he said Cole, so I called him that a few times before he corrected me.  D’oh!) and I immediately grabbed my adorable Postalco notepad to jot things down.  (I’m not getting paid to drop their name, I just wanted you to see, for reals, how adorable my notepad is.) 

While I did write things down, whatever I was trying to convey is forever lost.  In the moment, I felt like a real professional, but apparently I wrote in some alien language – I’m still trying to code break what little I scratched down on the page.  Kull has been there about a year, and does “a little bit of everything.”  (geez, I hope that’s his name.  I’m worried I misheard him!  If you’re reading this and your name is not Kull, I apologize!)  He had some cranberries on the stove for bread pudding, so he had to race away to stir them.  Ugh!  I love that!  Our little meeting was very brief, but he did tell me he’s enjoying reading my perspective of the things he bakes on the regular.  I told him about my tour from Chad, which he got a kick out of.  I loved that I could just tell he really loves his job, and was so excited to talk about it, even if it was just for a few minutes.  He was kind and didn’t say what I was making looked terrible or that I was doing it all wrong.  So that was a good little meeting.  Oh, and he gave me a cookie.  Score!   

We left, and I felt a million time better this time knowing I had plenty of pictures to share.  For whatever reason, a weight was lifted and a rush of relief swept over me.  As we walked around, I just felt incredibly lucky, the way things sort of fell in my lap with the whole trip.  It was much more exhilarating stumbling into all of these encounters, versus having it all lined up before I’d gone out there.  Having a little dude to take care of every day, I’ve become a very agenda-oriented person, so this was a good life lesson and reminder than flying by the seat of your pants is a necessary adrenaline rush that is completely needed every now and again. 

Graham took some pictures of me outside of the bakery.  He was risking his life standing on the edge of traffic, snapping away trying to capture a usable picture.  I’m not exactly photogenic.  His crazy photographer antics had people wondering who I was.  A passing guy sort of mumbled to his friend, “Should we know her?”  I love that.  Yes, sir.  Why not?

You see me?  I’m like Waldo with no stripes, and probably a good foot shorter than he’d be in real life, if he wasn’t a cartoon.  Oh, and you see that line off to the left?  Everybody loves Tartine!

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