You Need to Be Having More Coffees

A white paper bag bearing the simple ONE65 logo stands next to a vintage cat faced cookie jar. In front are presented a collection of baked goods and pastries: A tall, firm wedge of pale quiche and a brioche roll topped with a round cross section of strawberry, each in their paper take out boxes, a large, golden, football-shaped croissant and a bundle of puff pastry known as the kouign amann, it's four corners turned in toward the center, on a small plate, and the four brightly colored macarons on another plate arranged in a diamond shape, gray, tan, orange with speckles, and pink.When Angela, a friend and former colleague, told me she’d be in the City and wanted to meet up for a coffee, the answer was a definitive “yes, please!”

When I moved to the Bay Area in 2010, job searching and career developing, a dear friend, Jonathan, told me, “You need to be having more coffees.” Years later, while working alongside Angela at the same agency, she providing employment supports, I shared this little nugget of networking wisdom and it turned out to provide a dash of whimsy to her programs, getting custom travel mugs into the hands of her program participants.

With my new bakery obsession and existing coffee curiosities, I’m always on the lookout for new venues in new neighborhoods, especially small/local businesses, so I immediately started searching bakery cafe options in the Union Square neighborhood where she was staying.

An individual sized Chocolate Imperial Cake, a tiny cake just a few bites big, with a chocolate mirror glaze and two wafer thin sticks of chocolate and a splash of edible gold garnish.Top of the list was ONE65 Patisserie & Boutique, so that’s where we met. Alex was very gracious about answering all of our questions and made sure our table service was in order. I had the Chocolate Imperial Cake, divine, and a Spanish latte with added cinnamon, she had the chocolate banana croissant and a Chai latte. The service was absolutely warm and friendly and we had a delightful time catching up at a cozy outdoor table on a beautiful San Francisco spring day, so good to connect in person again. She on vacation with her SO and I wanting to sample all the pastries, we both went back inside and started ordering items to go with reckless abandon. Asking lots of questions, of course, about what was in and on the display cases, what the bakery is known for, what are the staff favorites, and other information gathering queries and Kiona was also super warm, friendly, and attentive with her service. I wouldn’t say macarons are my favorite, though they were effectively displayed arranged in beautiful lines of popping colors that made me want to eat the rainbow. At $3.50 each, I tried not to get too out of control and decided on a coffee and a passion fruit on the recommendation of a customer in line ahead of me, and an Earl grey and rose lychee based on Angela’s selections. As I moved on from the macarons, Kiona offered me a sample macaron that I nibbled thoughtfully as we proceeded to the register. It was a delightful little chewy puff of salted caramel chocolate goodness. Quiche, of course, is totally my thing, and when the answer to what kinds did they have was “pork belly,” “Um, yes, please,” I said, “The answer to pork belly is always yes.” I had to sample a plain butter croissant, of course, it’s an important baseline, and added their kouign amann just because I’d never heard of one before and it sounded like a delicious variation on a croissant. I was really craving some kind of yeasted sweet dough pastry, like a kolache or some kind of sticky bun, though that’s apparently not really their thing, and as a final selection to scratch this itch, I opted for a strawberry guava filled brioche. The Pain aux Raisins did come highly recommended, though I wasn’t feeling it.

So this is basically what my SO and I had for dinner, starting with the quiche, and I’m over here gape-jawed trying to understand how they get that texture. It was the creamiest damn quiche I’ve ever had, with a tantalizing fatty texture like cheesecake with delicious salty chewy bits of pork belly and the thinnest, flakiest of a crust. It was food and lip gloss, as we used to say after meals on the Pacific Rim study abroad program in China. Moving along the spectrum from savory to sweet, so that it would sort of resemble an actual dinner, the croissant and the kouign amann. My head was nearly exploding at the more football shape the croissant had, rather than a bell curve, all those buttery layers somehow drawn out really long before rolling to create access at the edges to all the layers, slowly tapering and creating lots of tiny ridges to brown and crisp, rather than a few larger ones, and was appropriately tender, flaky, soft, and chewy inside with so much delicate crackle and crunch just at the surface. The kouign amann, treated with just a hint of caramelized sugar, was a nice little package of sweet puff pastry, similar to its croissant cousin and just different enough. The macarons were as delicious as they all sounded, with bright concentrated flavors that seemed to fill your whole head and leave you with no confusion about the flavor profiles, even from just one bite. Likewise the filling in the brioche, an unmistakable flavor explosion bursting with the promise of summer fruits to come.

I didn’t even take a picture of the latte and it’s pretty leaf art in the foam. It was good. I was focused on the pastries and the company. Clearly, I need to be having more coffees.

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