Craftsman and Wolves, San Francisco, CA

After a grueling, seemingly endless day of travel, I made it even longer by picking up my checked bag, heading up to the Air Train at SFO, heading to the BART Station, taking it to 16th and Mission, and schlepping to one of the three outlets of Craftsman and Wolves, at 746 Valencia Street, where I’d be spending my next two hours.


Craftsman and Wolves is the brainchild of William Werner, a 2016 James Beard Finalist for Outstanding Baker – and if this visit was indicative of the three outlets on a typical day, Werner deserves the award (he didn’t win this year).

Never have I had a better breakfast item than The Rebel Within ($7.25), an innocuous-looking muffin which wasn’t even all that big:


Really? $7.25 for a *muffin*? Yes! And it was worth every penny and more – a beautifully textured muffin, made with Asiago, sausage, green onion, and, of course, The Rebel Within: a soft-cooked egg:


How good was this? Better than either I, or my photographs, can possibly tell you. So good that when I saw they were running out, I bought one to save for my friend who was meeting me later (they have to heat them up, and grab the container of mineral salt to serve with it). Sure, this was the best thing I had here all day – this was one of the tastiest, most delicious things I’ve ever eaten – but what followed were no weak siblings:

Stone ($7) of whipped coffee, coconut, Gianduja, and yuzu was atop their wonderful house-made granola, and beautifully plated on silver foil:


And it, too, contained a surprise on the inside:


I thought I was familiar with all sorts of French desserts, but there is pretty obscure stuff up in Brittany (Bretagne). Many of us have had pastries that are similar to the Kouign Amann ($4.75 topped with fresh blueberries, and filled with house-made blueberry jam), but I don’t think I’ve seen this exact dessert before – it’s pronounced “Queen Aman,” and is undoubtedly many hundreds of years old in etymology:


You know, even a cut picture may not look like all that much:


but this is an example of a camera being unable to capture texture, and the texture of this dessert was *perfect*. Just the right amount of chew, moisture, glaze, and it was just perfectly executed – the blueberries, as much as I can’t believe I’m saying this, and as great as they were, were almost incidental.

In addition to a pot of Formosa Oolong Tea ($3.50), I also enjoyed a house-made Iced Tisane ($3) with strawberries, chamomile, spearmint, lavender, and possibly one-or-two other things (they lost me at “strawberries”):


And finally, speaking of strawberries, which are just coming into season here, I’m not a squatter unless I pay my own way, so of course I was going to get some Strawberry Jam ($13) to go:


Craftsman and Wolves is as good as any bakery I’ve been to in America. It deserved to be a finalist for the James Beard Award, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s a perfectly legitimate choice as a winner. I can’t vouch for the other two locations, but if you come here, order The Rebel Within, at all costs (get here early because they run out), and you’ve got my address so you can send me my thank-you note. :)

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