Would you wait 30 minutes in line for a two-bite cheese tart in a cute yellow package? The residents of San Francisco would – and do.
Popular Japanese pastry franchise Bake Cheese Tart debuted its fluffy, cream cheese-filled tarts at its new San Francisco location in downtown’s Westfield shopping mall on May 4. It’s the first American location for the Hokkaido, Japan-based chain, which counts 47 locations across Asia.
After being open for less than two months, the San Francisco Chronicle reporting that some were waiting north of 30 minutes in line one day just to get their hands on the treats. It’s better now even than when it launched, with 7×7 reporting that some people waited for 90 minutes to get their tart.
We had to try these flaky pastries that are taking the city by storm, so we made the trip. But here’s the thing: Not everybody agreed that they were worth the wait.
Here’s the deal with these in-demand cheese tarts.
I got to Bake Cheese Tart at about 1:20pm on a Monday afternoon. Local reports said that the line could get so long, it would stretch out into the nearby underground train entrance, so I came prepared to wait 30 minutes or more with my fellow hungry people…
…only to find that there was no line whatsoever. The entire ordering process from start to finish took maybe three minutes. The shop included of a wall of bright yello boxes for packaging the tarts, and an oven.
There was a limited-edition chocolate version of the cheese tart when Bake opened up in May. Now, though, you can only get the original recipe — and a strawberry flavour will be added to the menu in mid July, my cashier told me.
I ordered six original cheese tarts for my coworkers and me. At $US3.50 each, that came out to $US21, which seems steep to me. I dug into the box and sampled a fresh one before I started the 15-minute trek back to the office. I immediately knew I wasn’t going to be a fan of cheese tarts.
Back at the office, with a little more breathing room, we unpackaged the tarts and surveyed the treats.
The presentation was solid, with each tart nestled into its own paper wrapper. Three sat on the bottom of the box, underneath three more perched above them on cardboard.
They certainly look appetizing.
According to its website, the pastries are filled with a creamy, tarty blend of cream cheese mousse.
The fluffy filling sits in a crust that the shop bakes twice: once before adding the mousse and once after, resulting in a nice golden brown coating on some of the pastries.
They were aesthetically pleasing, but the consistency of the filling reminded me of an egg, not of cheese. That might be why it put me off so much…though, truthfully, it was mainly because my taste buds believe that cheese and dessert are two worlds that do not collide.
One of my coworkers compared the tarts’ mousse filling to ricotta cheese, which made sense. She liked it more than I did.
Either way, I could only manage to finish about three-quarters of one before I gave up. I don’t think I’ll be going back until the new strawberry flavour debuts next month.
It turns out that I was in the minority in the office though: my co-workers were big fans of the cheesy, bite-sized treats. Of the six of us, I was the only one who couldn’t finish mine!
Maybe I’m the wrong one, though, if people are queuing up 30 minutes to get ahold of them.
Then again, maybe not. 7×7 rated these tarts a “meh.”
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