Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Micropatisseries, the Recession, and You: This Week's Review

Posted By on Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 1:20 PM

The mini pound cake from Pinkie's Bakery. - KIMBERLY SANDIE
  • Kimberly Sandie
  • The mini pound cake from Pinkie's Bakery.
Kimberly Sandie
The mini pound cake from Pinkie's Bakery.
A while back, I started noticing that each new pastry shop that opened in San Francisco ― and there have been a lot of them since January, when I arrived back in town ― was smaller than the last. And also, that despite their size, most of these shops were not the work of amateurs. I began wondering: Is the full-scale pastry shop a thing of the past? How could so many minuscule businesses make a go of it? I started tasting around, and then making phone calls; the result is this week's roundup/review.

What came out of all those interviews was a sense that the explosion of micro-patisseries is caused by the same factors

that have forced the blooming of S.F.'s street-food scene and quirky

pop-up restaurants. There's less demand for high-ticket pastries, fewer

bistros with high-profile pastry chefs, and less money to open elaborate

pastry shops. So a new crop of bakers are rediscovering what we all

knew as teenagers: When you don't have enough money to go anywhere or

buy anything, there's a world of creative things you can do.


Bakers have it easier than savory cooks ― they can sell their products

long after they're prepared, they don't have to go through an arduous

permitting process to open a retail shop, and wholesale and catering options

are plentiful. Over the course of the next few days, look for excerpts

from my interviews and a post on a great micropatisserie that for space

reasons didn't make it into the printed piece. After all, I have to

find some way to work off all the butter I inflicted on my gall bladder

this month.

Which brings me to a final, tangential note. There are two fringe benefits to showing up in the office

with sampler boxes from 8 to 10 pastry shops in the space of one week: a) Your coworkers finish off the scraps, which means pastries are not

sitting around your kitchen, taunting you to eat them before they go

stale; b) the moment you hear news reporters groan at the sight of a new

box, you know they've finally understood the dark side of being a food

writer.

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie. Follow me at @JonKauffman.

  • Pin It

Tags: , , ,

About The Author

Jonathan Kauffman

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"