I was away when Sandbox Bakery opened for business in Bernal Heights. I finally made it over this week to check out the goods and was compelled to interrupt my India missives to report so you can enjoy the treats at Sandbox sooner than later.
Mutsumi Takehara is the pastry-chef owner and she has made this pastry-loving camper very happy. On my first visit, Mutsumi-san took pity on me standing there, looking pathetically dejected at the locked door. I’d arrived past closing and explained I was going to a friend’s house for dinner and asked if I might possibly (pretty please) purchase the only items left in her case: French macarons. The macarons were so excellent — wonderfully intense flavor, just the right texture, not overly sweet — that I went right back a couple days later to see what else was on offer. It was on my second visit that I learned the macarons are the one item not made in-house. Fear not!
This time I found the cases brimming and the findings were all good! First of all, you won’t see any overly-inflated, super-sized offerings here. Sandbox pastries are the size the pastry gods intended them to be. There’s a mix of French, Japanese and American breakfast pastries –from croissants to kashi pans to morning buns — along with other sweets and a growing variety of savory offerings for the lunchtime crowd. Based on my experience so far, I recommend going early and often and preferably on foot, by bike or some other self-propelled method so you can indulge even more.
For those who want locally roasted coffee with their sweets, Ritual and De La Paz are served up daily. And for you Mission dwellers, if Bernal is a little too far out, you can also find a sampling of Sandbox Bakery goods at Nervous Dog Coffee.
On my most recent visit, these were the picks of the day: the super soft, heart-shaped kashi-pan bun with still-warm and gooey chocolate & banana filling; a variety of intensely flavored macarons by Christopher David that I dare say rival the best Paris has to offer (and I assure you, I’ve tried them all. If you don’t believe me, you can ask my friend who had no choice in the matter as I dragged him around Paris on a tasting frenzy); and, the divine apricot-mango oat bar — missing from this photograph because I ate it on the way home. A girl can resist only so much temptation!