Darlings, I have feelings. Strong feelings. About cinnamon rolls. They are usually positive, but highly opinionated. I visited Devil’s Teeth Baking Company in Outer Sunset here in not-so-sunny San Francisco with Mr. Bruiseday last weekend, and I think it was worth a revisit.
Our menu: his– egg, cheese, and tomato breakfast sandwich on a buttermilk biscuit, hers – spinach & (?) swiss quiche. We shared: the house cinnamon roll, which was frequently mentioned on Yelp as one of the best things on the menu.
I’m watching what I eat lately, as I’ve mentioned here before – nothing starvationy, just trying to be wise about how I treat my body – but of course healthy eating can make eating at a bakery tricky. But the quiche I ordered was light, delicious, and packed full of spinach. I was really grateful for the iron boost! I’ve had quiches that are swimming in butter, or overpacked with cheese, or with crusts that are far closer to traditional pie crusts than quiche crust proper. So I was grateful for an option that didn’t make me feel sluggish, but that was filling and decadent anyway.
I am wondering a little if I ought to have had the quiche cold, because the reheated slice taken from the pastry case tasted a little bit… microwaved. You know what I mean? That slightly rubbery texture, the taste of the dish it was heated in kinda baked into the food a little? That said, even microwaving it couldn’t erase the fact that this was a very good quiche. I judge quiches a little on their crust and a lot on having the right ratio of ingredients inside, and this just felt balanced and perfect. The onions were delicious and tender, too. I tried a bite of Mr. B’s breakfast sandwich and was impressed with both the flavor and texture of the buttermilk biscuit, but they didn’t heat the sandwich long enough to melt the cheese all the way, and the tomato didn’t really add anything special (the tomato also wasn’t mentioned as an ingredient; I think they threw it on when he requested no bacon as a substitute).
The cinnamon roll was probably the most noteworthy and unique thing we ordered, not so much for the flavor (which was predictably sweet and cinnamony) as for the texture, which was strangely flat, a little challenging to cut through, extremely chewy, and reminiscent of the honey-soaked under layers of baklava. So strongly reminiscent of baklava that it left me wondering if they used phyllo dough, and honey, among other things, to make their cinnamon rolls. I didn’t ask. It was very tasty, but not what I was expecting when I ordered a cinnamon roll.
And I’d like to digress on that topic for a minute. Look, you can make a lot of things out of various pastry doughs and cinnamon and sugar, but a cinnamon roll requires yeast dough. I expect some fluffiness when I order a cinnamon roll. I expect the glaze to melt between light layers of tender yeast dough and bake up into perfection; when the glaze becomes the glue that packs each layer of dense flour-roll tightly together into a dog’s chew-toy of a challenge, I hesitate. The flavor was impeccable. The texture needs work.
I liked that they had a book shelf of books for cheap sale – $5, each, no matter what – because I feel welcome any time there are books incorporated into an eatery’s ambiance, and their entire menu was listed on a chalkboard above the pastry case. The whole look and feel was quite minimal, a little rustic, but comfortable. Located only a few blocks from the western beaches of San Francisco, with a view of sandy dunes right down the street from the front door, the minimal look and feel went well with the beachy vibe of the neighborhood. The glass jar of brown sugar on the coffee bar, the ready in-plain-sight racks of pastries and other baked goods waiting for sale, the bustling counter workers all spoke of a business that is well-oiled and accustomed to moving a lot of people through the line without neglecting a single one of them.
Seating was limited but not super necessary; this is clearly, largely a takeout place. Still, no one made us feel strange for staying there to eat from our takeout boxes. The entire staff was friendly, efficient, and checked repeatedly to make sure we had been taken care of. Bonus points for a high-tech ordering and payment system; they run everything off a personalized iPad app with a Square card reader, which already boosts them head and shoulders above every godforsaken coffee shop or bar in this city that runs on cash only. (What is it, the mafia? Seriously, look how easy it is to accept credit cards!) We appreciated that.
All in all, the food was good but could have been better just by serving things a bit fresher/reheating things not-in-a-microwave, and I still am not sure if I really liked the cinnamon roll or not (I mean, I liked it. It’s sugar and cinnamon. But I’m not really impressed by it), but I would stop back in here any time to sample some of their other baked goods and really appreciated the great service. It was worth the trek out.