1. Lemon cream tart at Tartine Bakery and Cafe
600 Guerrero St.
You’d be hard-pressed to find anything NOT spectacular in this popular bakery which features, among other things, a daily line around the block. But if you’re going to get one thing at Tartine, get the lemon cream tart. This is quite possibly THE most popular treat in San Francisco. Tartine’s tart is delicate yet comforting, like edible cashmere.
2. Ginger cake with pumpkin ice cream at Chow
215 Church St.
San Francisco is constantly freezing, making this cozy dessert perfect year round. The simple square of moist, slightly warm gingerbread will remind you of the childhood you never had while the cool, spiced pumpkin ice cream packs a grown-up punch.
3. Vietnamese coffee ice cream at Humphry Slocombe
2790 Harrison St.
In our freezer right now, Humphry Slocombe’s Vietnamese coffee ice cream dessert with a shot of espresso. It’s affogatto without all the work.
4. Peanut butter sandwich cookie at ’Wichcraft
868 Mission St.
Witchcraft’s peanut butter sandwich cookie is the fancy, adult verion of the Girl Scout Do-Si-Do. Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio’s sandwich shop certainly has some pretty great savory sandwiches, but this sweet one is surprisingly special.
5. Cheesecake from Zanze’s
2405 Ocean Ave
The definition of old school cheesecake exists on the West Coast too. Head out to Ocean Avenue and pick up a slice (or a cake!) for a taste of the real thing. East Coast transplants swear by this version of an American classic.
6. Butterscotch and chocolate pot de crème at Town Hall
342 Howard St.
Pudding is hip again, with this gorgeous and comforting pot of smooth, silky dessert. Sweet and simple, the butterscotch and chocolate pot de creme is a modern take on a vintage classic. This isn’t your (great) grandma’s puddin’.
7. Toffee-chip cookies at Anthony’s Cookies
1417 Valencia St.
Buying cookies direct from Anthony himself actually makes them taste better. All of the cookies are pretty wonderful at Anthony’s small cookie castle, but there’s something about the tofee-chip cookie that makes this spot a must-stop.
8. Clairesquare from Clairesquares
235 Cortland Ave.
Also known as “Millionaire’s Shortbread” these sqaures are the Warren Buffet of Twix. Milk or dark chocolate tops a think layer of serious carmel over a solid hunk of dense shortbread. This small square is super rich and surprisingly hearty, made locally and loved by princes and paupers alike.
9. Shortbread from Arizmendi Bakery
1331 Ninth Ave.
Arizmendi’s shortbread are paper-thin, subtle, massive squares, with classy hints of rosemary and fleur de sel. Perfect alongside tea, or for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, this artisan cookie is made with so much love and care, you can taste it.
10. “Kracker Jax” from Public House
24 Willie Mays Plaza
You can actually take this grown-up version of carmel corn with you, upstairs and into AT&T Park. But the Giants don’t need to be home for you to grab a handful of this crunchy classic. In fact, head to Public House when the ballpark is dark and actually get a seat in this huge, sporty space.
Bonus: Pineapple Upsidedown Cake from Wayfare Tavern
Celebrity Chef Tyler Florence’s brand new Financial District restaurant is the newest addition to San Francisco’s popular and packed establishments. And while much of the menu is magnificent, you absolutely MUST save room for the pineapple upsidedown cake. Warm, caramelized and comforting, this big, beautiful dessert will halt all dinner table conversation while your eyes roll back and your heart soars. It really is that good.