Monday, May 14, 2018

Bi-Rite Creamery Breakfast Catering

Bi-Rite Creamery.  A SF institution.  The lines for the ice cream on a rare warm SF day are well known (which, I've never really understood.  Its fine ice cream, but, honestly, I've never been that impressed). 
"We may be known for our ice cream, but we started as bakers! Today our team bakes sweets like the ones we grew up with.  Our changing menu reflects the fruits offered by each season as well as holiday classics like pumpkin pie, Christmas stollen and hot cross buns."
But did you know that Bi-Rite started as a bakery?  And is actually known for their baked goods?  I didn't either, but, I was eager to learn more.

The bakery wing of the creamery makes a slew of items, ranging from cupcakes, bars, cookies, and puddings, to beautiful cakes, to breakfast pastries.  They are available at the Bi-Rite Markets, or, through their catering service, which is how I had them.
Granola. $45.
"Maple and brown sugar granola with almonds, sunflower and flax seeds, unsweetened coconut, and raisins." 

This was interesting granola.  From inspection alone, I did not think that I'd care for it.  It really looked quite plain, was loaded with way too many raisins, and had no chunks. Not my style at all.

My feelings on the raisins didn't change much (yup, raisins, but at least they were soft and not hard pellets, and yup, way too many).  And I did wish for chunks of granola (it did have chunks, they, uh, just were all of raisins).

But it was good.  The almonds surprised me, they were a small size, and well roasted and sweetened. Really crunchy and somehow more flavorful than your average almond.  I also liked the crispy coconut flakes, which the description said were unsweetened, but really did taste sweet to me.  Which is probably why I thought the granola was decent, as it was beautifully sweet from maple syrup, brown sugar, AND honey.  And it very crisp, toasted with butter.

The flax and sunflower seeds gave a bit of bitterness, but not too much, and I didn't mind them at all, another surprise.

So for the style of granola it was, I liked it.  Better as finger food or with milk than yogurt.

This came served with our choice of Straus whole milk yogurt or Clover 2% milk.  It was a huge bowl of granola, but $45 still seems a little pricey for a few tubs of yogurt and granola.
Fruit Salad. $60.
"Freshly-picked, peak of the season fruit salad."

The fruit salad too was actually really quite good.  The pineapple and cantaloupe I didn't care about, the blueberries were good but nothing special, and the kiwi and mango were both fabulous, really juicy, really ripe, nicely sweet.  I almost wonder if they had some agave drizzled over it all?  They were too good to be "just fruit"!

Again, a big bowl, but, $60?  Maybe it was reasonable for this premium fruit.
Mini Pastry Basket. $45.
"An assortment of 32 of our favorite mini pastries to start your day."

The part I was obviously most excited for was the baked goods.  Bi-Rite has many different options for catering pastry baskets - just croissants/danishes, just scones, or mixes, full size or mini.  This was the most inclusive option - mini mixed.  So I could try ... everything.

The selection changes depending on what they want to send you, so we didn't get any muffins, nor quickbreads, which was fine with me.  What we did have was plain croissants, pain au chocolate, almond croissants, cinnamon rolls, and struesel coffee cake.

Yes, I tried them all (except the plain croissant).  They were mini, after all ...
Almond Croissant.
I started with what looked the most decadent, an icing drizzled almond croissant.

It was ... eh.  Fine.

The pastry was a bit spongy, not very flaky.  The sweet glaze on top was nice.
Almond Croissant: Inside.
And it wasn't very well filled.  The gritty almond filling wasn't particularly great either.

My least favorite, not recommended.
Coffee Cake.
"Warm cinnamon and brown sugar coffee cake baked from scratch."

Better was the coffee cake.

The cake was just sour cream pound cake, dense, moist, not dry, very buttery and rich, but, still just fairly plain cake.

The streusel though was good, brown sugar, cinnamon, and regular sugar, and I appreciated the layer both on top, and the layer in the middle.  Nicely sweet.  Lots of sugar.

My third pick, because of the topping, but still not an item I really wanted more of.

They also sell the coffee cake whole for $40.
Pain au Chocolat.
Things improved with the pain au chocolate.

The pastry was a bit better, more flaky, more crisp, but still not that great.

What was great was the filling, three large bars of totally not melted quality dark chocolate.  I really liked the chocolate.

My second favorite, because I liked the chocolate, but, a stellar pastry it was not.
Cinnamon Roll.
And finally, I saved the best for last.  The cinnamon roll.

This was actually quite good.

I really liked the sweet dough used, good flavor, good texture, just a bit crisp.  The filling was cinnamon and sugar, again, lots of sugar, which created caramelized edges that seeped out.  And of course, icing on top for more sweet.

This was certainly my favorite and one I'd gladly have again.
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