Is this award-winnning San Francisco bakery worth the hype?

Juniper is a relatively new bakery and café in San Francisco which gained fame a couple of weeks ago when it won a croissant competition. It made the papers and my husband, a croissant lover, decided he had to cross the Bay and try them himself. When he first went, the day after the newspaper article came out, he had to wait 45 minutes in line before getting the goodies – he just went back yesterday, early on a Saturday morning, and the wait was gone. The stuff was just as good, however.

Order with chocolate croissants, butter croissants, Cubano croissant, chocolate brownie and black sesame kouign amann

Butter croissant.

These are large, airy but still very buttery croissants. The outside is flaky – too flaky, really, they’re a mess to eat – and the inside soft and buttery, and rather insubstantial. It didn’t need any extra butter. We enjoyed the croissants very much.

Butter Croissant Loaf

We got this our first time. It’s basically a loaf of very airy/light croissant dough topped with either crystalized sugar butter or black sesame. We got the former and I also enjoyed it a lot – I loved the sugar. I prefer it to the croissants themselves.

Chocolate croissant.

These were also great, made with high quality dark chocolate and not too much of it. Specially after reheating it, it just melts in your mouth. And a little croissant goes a long way.

Black Sesame Kouign Amann

This is similar to a cinnamon roll but with a black sesame paste instead of cinnamon (or in addition to?). I loved the butteriness and caramelized sugar, both in flavor and texture, and the black sesame paste was pretty good too. The pastry wasn’t as sweet as I feared. I’d definitely get it again.

Chocolate Brownie

In my old age, I’ve lost much of my taste for chocolate so I no longer gravitates to brownies. Still, this one was pretty good. It was lighter/airier than ordinary brownies without sacrificing the chocolate flavor. For that reason, it was also less sweet. I would have preferred some nuts or something else to add to the smooth texture, however. I probably wouldn’t get it again for myself, but that’s just because I’m no longer a chocolate fiend.

Hazelnut Florentine Choux

This was basically a cream puff with a crust atop the cream. This one had “rum diplomat creme, hazelnut toffee crisp” and it was good but not great. The flavor was more sweet than anything else and I didn’t like the crust. We wouldn’t get it again.

Juniper Lemon Choux 

This one had “lemon curd, juniper berry, meringue, mint”. It was better than the hazelnut, as you could actually taste the lemon flavor, but also not compelling. It really felt like a generic dessert. I also wouldn’t order it again.

Cubano Croissant  

One of the awards Juniper won was for their Cubano croissant, which comes with “mojo pork, ham, pickle, whole grain mustard.” We enjoyed this very much. The light, airy croissant worked well as a base for the fillings. The mojo pork in itself was very tasty and had a melt-in-your-mouth texture I enjoyed. However, I actually preferred the croissant without it. The flavor and mouthfeel of the ham and cheese was too perfect and did not need the pork. The mustard could be a little overwhelming in some bites, they should use less. Still, I’d definitely order this again.

1401 Polk St,
San Francisco, CA
Daily 7:30am to 3pm
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