Golden Gate Bakery, Where All Diets Go to Die
September 29, 2012 § 1 Comment
You observe the stupid long line outside 1029 Grant Avenue and think to yourself, “What the heck are they waiting for?” Small, panic-attack inducing spaces? Cash only? Grimy interior? Weird, fluorescent lighting? Sure, why not?
Golden Gate Bakery. Small little hole-in-the-wall bakery on Grant Avenue between Jackson and Pacific, in the heart of San Francisco Chinatown. On a slow day, there’s a line outside the storefront. On normal days, there’s a big line from the end of the block to the line outside the storefront before you even get in the bakery. How long’s the wait on a normal day? At least half an hour to 45 minutes. You’re better off getting a case of sour grapes and muttering under your breath, “Screw that” after taking a prolonged peek at all the delicacies. I get that there’s irony in that a peek is fleeting but until you visit the bakery for yourself, words can’t really describe how intense people get when they get all up on that window glass and countertop.
“Line for this s**t? What is so good about this place?” But there has to be a reason why there’s a line from the time the bakery opens to when it closes. There’s more harm done if you don’t wait in line so you choose to wait in line, all to try one of these egg tarts or those lotus paste moon cake “things” people have a vague idea about.
Complaint #1: Long lines and personal space
Here you are, waiting in line. Then there’s the person who judge those waiting in line out loud, then call their friends and family members to judge the line some more. That same person immediately behind you insists on giving you thismuch personal space to ensure that no one cuts in front of them.
The person behind you means well. They just want what they came for and bounce. Same with you. You just want to know what why the pork buns and egg tarts and moon cakes and coconut tarts taste so much better from this place. Just watch your personal belongings.
Complaint #2: Condescension in so many languages
F**k yes, you actually make it into the store. If you didn’t take three steps back because it was already ridiculously crowded inside, you come across the ladies that run the bakery.
Depending on the mood and the pace of things, the employees of the bakery can be very nice and tend to your curiosity about what’s so good. You don’t mind them running up your bill as long as they put artery clogging goodness in pretty pink boxes wrapped in pretty pink plastic strings. But if the bakery is busy? LOLyou.
The ladies get condescending quick, looking down on you via the two popular dialects of Chinese, Cantonese and Mandarin and English. I wouldn’t be surprised if they picked up condescending Catalan/Spanish/French/German with all the European tourists stopping by. “What should I get here?” “Eggtartshowmanydoyouwant.” “Well… I don’t know if I want egg tarts…” “They’rethebesthurryupwehavealotofcustomers.” If their patience runs out, the ladies shoo you out of the store so you don’t hurt their profits for the day. Come with a friend or look up Yelp prior to making the trip.
Complaint #3: Prices
Golden Gate Bakery reserves the right to mark up their goods up to 50% more relative to all the other bakeries. Why? Because they’re so good, especially when served right out of the oven. Not overwhelmingly sweet but just right. Super flaky crusts that all the other bakeries can’t seem to duplicate. Have all the cholesterol! Have all the saturated fats!
Egg tart: just one kind
Moon cake (all in no egg yolk, one egg yolk, two egg yolk): white lotus paste, black bean, pineapple, wintermelon, etc.
Each egg tart is $1.35 and no, there’s no discount if you buy more. Base price of a white lotus paste moon cake, without any salted egg yolks? $6.00. Your wait in line could be 20 minutes longer when there’s irrational people arguing over prices.
Then, when you run this risk at waiting in line for 45 minutes only to throw a temper tantrum and walk out with nothing, you acquiesce to the ladies’ demands.
You won’t get back the hour and energy you spent getting these pastries back, but if you do decide to make the trip, brave the wait/condescension and manage to scrounge up enough cash, ask yourself, “Is it worth it?”
Complaint #4: Calories