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Dessert first: Stella Pastry & Cafe

My adorable cousin Theresa is in town from upstate New York, on a field trip with several students in her graphic design department. They had a few hours to spare yesterday afternoon, so I trekked her and her friend Alex around the city for a couple of hours, showing the sites and spouting the copious amounts of tedious trivia I have stored away for just such an occasion. (I am, after all, a tour guide.) They were interested in checking out, among other things, Coit Tower and North Beach, so I obliged.

I don’t make it up to North Beach often, and only can name a handful of places I like. But one place that stands out always in my mind is the fabulous Stella Pastry & Cafe right on Columbus Ave. And so I could not take them into the heart of North Beach and not tempt them (and myself) with the promise of the best cannoli in San Francisco. I mean, just look at them! (Image stolen appropriated from Stella’s site.)

Purtroppo, when we arrived we discovered that there was exactly one lonesome cannolo siciliano left on its half-sheet pan, just begging to be consumed. Being a nice guy (I am, dammit!) I let Theresa have it. They also did not have any cassatine, so I had a slice of pear tart, which was also heavenly. But it wasn’t a cannolo. But hey, I can go back any time I like. I’m thinking maybe breakfast tomorrow.

Stella Pastry & Cafe
446 Columbus Ave

This Post Has 9 Comments
  1. I’ll have to take your word for that, at least for now. I’m not a huge tiramisu fan, personally.

  2. Thank you for reminding us us where the best cannoli in Northern California is. And I like the way you did the photo as well.
    The “lobster tail” here is also quite good and messy in that perfect pastry kind of way.

  3. Well, Stella did the photo. I think it’s a tad over-designed myself. I didn’t notice the Lobster Tail when I was there. Clearly I need to get there earlier for the good stuff!

  4. ooh, I really wanted to go the other day after dinner in North Beach, I’ve heard so much about their pastries. It was closed though, so I had to slump across the street to Greco for a consolation espresso. Very sad indeed.

  5. Oh, that is a pity … especially since there are a few other pastry shops that are *almost* as good, like Victoria and Dianda’s.
    Do you really find Greco’s coffee to be good? I’ve been meaning to do an espresso crawl for some time now. I seem to recall that, surprisingly enough, Steps of Rome had top-notch brew.

  6. Er, no, it wasn’t awful though.
    It was a great company just OK food sort of evening. Wish I’d known about those two places you recommended. You know, I actually thought about e-mailing you to ask for casual Italian dinner suggestions thinking you might be of some help, since I’m not at all familiar with North Beach, but then totally forgot about it.
    I will make it to Stella’s before I leave though, for sure.

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