To me, travel and food are one of the most exciting couples around. They are one of those rare, precious, giving duos that in tandem have filled my life with some of its most precious, memorable moments! And with all due respect, I rarely think of one without the other.
On a recent trip to San Francisco, it was only natural for me to think of the places I wanted to experience on the food scene. Tartine Manufactory bubbled up to the top of that list. A place that started off with more humble beginnings as Tartine Bakery, now has a chic, light filled, industrial outpost as well where bread is baked and meals are served. The teaser here is that bread is available after 10:30 am till it is sold out!
True to its calling, the place serves up the most delicious bread and baked goods. But I was also pleasantly surprised with the creativity displayed in the salads on the menu. As a party of six, we sampled an assortment of items.
Let’s start with the basics. The bread served with butter that contains specks of salt crystals is to die for. The grilled cheese is buttery perfection on the outside with a creamy, veggie concoction on the inside. And what’s not to like about the roasted eggplant flatbread? The most pleasant surprise came in the form of a tomato and stone fruit salad. Surprise, because this was a bread place and delight because it was the perfect amalgamation of flavors and attractiveness that left me smiling from ear to ear.
Here are pictures from our lunch.
You too can get inspired by their menu. Have you eaten at either the bakery or the Manufactory? If so, what were your favorites?
As I’ve mentioned in previous food-related posts, discovering I was gluten-intolerant was definitely a challenging obstacle. With time and exploration, I was able to find several replacements to my staple diet in the form of gluten-free breads, various multigrain approaches to wheat-based meals, and recipes online with substitutions that would allow me to still have a healthy and fulfilling diet. But the one difficulty I just simply couldn’t overcome was finding gluten free desserts that lived up to their original counterparts. Trader Joe’s has been fantastic at stocking their shelves with cookies and baked goods that come close and sometimes even exceed the taste of wheat desserts. But aside from grocery store hunts, finding relatively healthy indulgences for my insatiable sweet tooth has definitely been rather troublesome.
That was until I decide to deviate from my usual Starbucks routine and give Argo Tea a shot, a place that had apparently stolen my roommate’s heart and in the process, all her dining dollars.
Founded in Chicago in 2003, Argo Tea has now spread outside the Windy City to St. Louis, Boston, and of course, New York City. The range of flavors for the teas is astounding in and of itself. Original options from the Hibiscus Apple Chiller and Tea Sangria to Iced Teapuccino and Chocolate Mint and Red Velvet chais provide beverages that suit every mood and occasion. A breakfast tea, snack tea, dessert tea…whatever you feel like, Argo probably has a solution.
Here are the gluten-free options I’ve loved most at Argo Tea:
-Lemon Drop Cookies- Absolutely delicious and chewy lemon cookies iced on the brim and topped off with powdered sugar and lemon zest. I haven’t tasted lemon drop cookies this good anywhere else. And the fact they’re gluten-free is all the more impressive. The chocolate duet and oatmeal raison cookies are also great.
-Tomato Garden Vegetable Salad, Chickpea Salad, Garden Lentil Salad- I never, ever thought packaged salads could taste so farmers market fresh. The chickpea salad is my favorite, and has such distinct flavoring that it feels like it was prepared in a home kitchen. Plus, they’re filling. You can easily make a meal out of one of these salads (or the many panini options if you’re not gluten intolerant) and a drink and dessert.
Overall, this franchise doesn’t feel like a franchise at all. The experience is first class on all levels, and for people who do have special dietary needs, Argo’s sensitivity is admirable.
Check out the Argo Tea menu here for more options: