After more than 30 years of being an inconspicuous bread shop in the heart of Fisherman's Wharf, the Boudin Bakery has been super-sized. The new, ultramodern, 26,000-square-foot flagship baking emporium is nearly half a block long, housing not only their signature demonstration bakery but also a museum, gourmet marketplace, cafe, espresso bar, and restaurant. The Boudin (pronounced bo-DEEN) family has been baking sourdough French bread in San Francisco since the gold rush, using the same simple recipe and "mother dough" for more than 150 years. About 3,000 loaves a day are baked within the glass-walled bakery; visitors can watch the entire process from a 30-foot observation window along Jefferson Street or from a catwalk suspended directly over the bakery (it's quite entertaining, actually). You'll smell it before you see it, as the heavenly aroma emanating from the bread ovens is purposely blasted down onto the sidewalk.
The best time to arrive is in the morning when the demo bakery is in full swing. Watch (and smell) the action along Jefferson Street; then, when your appetite is stoked, head to the cafe for an inexpensive breakfast of sourdough French toast or their Bread Bowl Scrambler filled with eggs, bacon, cheddar, onions, and bell peppers. After breakfast, spend some time browsing the museum and marketplace. On the upper level is Bistro Boudin, a full-service restaurant serving lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Tours of the bakery are available as well. Tip: If the line at the cafe is too long, walk across the parking lot to the octagon-shaped building, which serves the same items -- Boudin chowder bowls, salads, pizzas -- in a serve-yourself setting.
- © Frommer's 2013
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