I'm a social media addict with little shame and an inhumanly large appetite, and of all the popular Instagrammed food that I've seen, scouted, and tasted — which probably number into the hundreds — I think that the cruffin is my favorite. No, not the widely beloved Cronut . . . the cruffin. A drool-worthy croissant-muffin hybrid rolled in sugar and filled with everything from coffee crème to passion-fruit curd, the cruffin is inspiring the masses to trek to San Francisco's Tenderloin district for a sweet taste.
Mr. Holmes Bakehouse, the small San Francisco bakery that has made the cruffin famous, churns out cruffins to its quickly growing fan following at an astounding rate. Every morning the bakehouse rolls them out around 9 a.m., and the pastries typically sell out within the hour. Customers line up down the block, hoping to get a taste of the newly famed cruffin before they've run out for the day. I'll admit that I have made the pilgrimage to Mr. Holmes myself, braving wind, rain, and a lengthy public transit commute for the sole purpose of snagging a sugary bite of the "Fluffernutter" (peanut butter and marshmallow crème) cruffin on a cold Saturday morning.
While the entire selection of Mr. Holmes' pastries is worthy of a spotlight, I decided to feature its two most notable offerings: the cruffin (just under $5) and the California croissant ($5). The latter is a Bay Area-inspired take on the classic croissant, filled with a salmon roll and topped with a mix of dried sesame and seaweed bits. Served with a side of soy sauce, the Cali croissant may sound strange to an outsider, but trust me . . . you'll be hooked (ha!) on the sushi pastry. Read on for my take on the cruffin trend and the newfangled sushi pastry, and you'll definitely want to "get baked" during your next trip to San Francisco.
"I Got Baked in San Francisco"
While the cruffin's flaky layers of sticky-sweet goodness would be enough to draw a crowd, Mr. Holmes has another secret weapon that has contributed to its speedy ascent to the top of Bay Area must-visit lists: it is so damn Instagram-able. From gold-lettered boxes and a neon sign that both display the bakery's cheeky slogan ("I got baked in San Francisco"), to the variety of delectable pastries behind the counter, the bakehouse is as pleasing to the eye as a cruffin is to taste buds. It's no wonder that after three months of business, the owners are already looking for a larger San Francisco location and a new spot in Los Angeles.
This particular cruffin is filled with Sightglass coffee crème and topped with a homemade marshmallow square.
The Taste Test
The cruffin is flaky and peels apart almost like a layered biscuit . . . it paves the way to a glorious and fluffy coffee-crème center. Despite looking rich, it's surprisingly light and not so sweet. I could have easily eaten three.
The California Croissant
Imagine a sushi roll wrapped in a French pastry. The sesame seed and dried seaweed topping that graces the California croissant is as tasty as it is beautiful, but the real surprise is what's inside the pastry.
The Taste Test
Filled with nori, flavorful salmon, wasabi, and ginger, the Bay Area-inspired snack is uniquely scrumptious. While sweet-toothed customers adore the cruffin, this baked good is suited for any fan of savory eats.
Beyond the cruffin and croissants, the bakehouse has a plethora of mouthwatering treats that can't be missed: salted caramel-filled doughnuts, pistachio-rose kouign-amann, and more traditional pastries gone Californian.
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