The place has an old-fashioned Parisian flair with the likes of Edith Piaf and Gilbert Becaud singing in the background. Even when vanloads of seniors invade the place, you can still find a table, or at least a seat at the marble-top counter. COCOLA also serves soups and sandwiches. Their Italian-style ice-cream (gelati) looks so good, it's no use resisting it. After climbing three floors on an escalator, I ran for a Chocolate Caramel Mousse.
COCOLA at the Westfield Center
SCHUBERT'S BAKERY on Clement Street
If you had your wedding in the Richmond District, chances are, your cake came from SHUBERT'S BAKERY. You can sample their fine goods at their Clement Street location, but don't expect an old Viennese atmosphere with Strauss waltzes. I did several heavy Chocolate Mousse with Almonds lifts, using a light fork, then completed my workout by driving three times around the block.
on Irving Street
This Bay Area chain of Taiwanese bakeries offers a variety of light-and-easy-to-eat Chinese pastry, as well as regular sugar-and-butter-laden western fare for heavy-lifters (like me).
Their Tiramisu offered just what I needed to reach peak form.
The place is bright and spacious, has a clean (almost aseptic) atmosphere. The constant stream of visitors consists mostly of take-out customers, so you'll find plenty of room in the table section for pastry-lifting.
If you're not into diet and exercise, this is also a nice place to bring a friend for a quiet chat.
Breads and pastries sit nicely wrapped and packaged on shelves for you to grab and sample at home.
The personnel is always friendly, and the equipment entirely plastified.
STELLA PASTRY on Stockton Street
STELLA PASTRY sits discreetly in the heart of North Beach, and chances are, you may have walked by it without even noticing it. I happened to be driving through the neighborhood in my jogging suit, when I stopped to catch my breath and noticed this pastry shop. I went inside to complete my workout and found this Chocolate Fondant well suited for an easy stretch of the mandibular muscles.
April always sees urban dwellers plunge into diet and exercise programs, hoping to shed enough pounds to fit in that swimsuit again. My diet of choice is invariably chocolate pastry, and I'll walk quite a few miles to find a good food gymnasium. Here are a few of my favorites.
on Guerrero Street
Walking past TARTINE, you'd never think the place offers the best pastry in town. The storefront looks of a tombstone factory, and the interior is as crowded as if a busload of starving artists had just stopped around the corner.
You'll likely have to stand in line before shouting your order and squeezing your way to a table corner (if you can find one).
When I dug into my Chocolate Eclair, the world around me went silent.
This gustative miracle is likely to make you go for seconds (in a NewYork minute).