Walking into Craftsman and Wolves, you might think you’re walking into a jewelry store, with a glass display case showcasing colorful jewels of all shapes and sizes.

But the “jewels” are exquisite pastries, cakes, and desserts created by William Werner, the former pastry chef at high-end restaurants like Quince.

After a failed attempt to launch a business called Tell Tale Preserves Co. with investors, Werner is out on his own with Craftsman and Wolves, a fanciful dessert and bake shop in the food-centric Mission District.

Mini almond cakes with seasonal fruits

While the majority of the items for sale are desserts, the place does serve a few sandwiches and salads so you could make a lunch experience in the contemporary gallery-like space. But there’s no denying that the desserts take center stage.

People can’t help but snap photos of the unusual baked goods, some intricate in design, others oddly shaped. Baked goods, such as muffins, look familiar but are made with interesting ingredients, while other pastries are like something from the future.

Werner’s signature item most definitely is “The Rebel Within” – a savory muffin with a perfectly cooked soft-boiled egg in the center. It’s so popular that you have to get there early for breakfast to make sure you catch a sighting.

My plate of an almond cake with fresh figs and strawberries and a caramel-coffee chocolate eclair. The almond cake had a definite almond flavor with almost a cookie-like base, while the eclair was nice but could have been more airy and light.

I’ve had The Rebel Within before (and it is, indeed, amazing), so when I visited the new shop I focused on trying some new items. One was an almond cake topped with seasonal fruits while another was a caramel-coffee chocolate éclair. Both items were too beautiful to eat, but I did, enjoying the sophisticated flavor (although I wished the éclair had a lighter texture).

Craftsman and Wolves is redefining the dessert shop, bringing a luxurious bake shop of the likes you’d find in Paris. The prices are just as luxurious, but the inventiveness of Chef Werner makes each visit a special treat.

Craftsman and Wolves, 746 Valencia St. (at 18th St.), San Francisco. PH: 415.913.7713. Open Mon.-–Fri., 7 a.m.–7 p.m.; Sat., 8 a.m.–7 p.m.; and Sun., 8 a.m.–5 p.m. craftsman-wolves.com

The sign outside signals the contemporary and sleek design within

Cube-shaped cakes are available for special occasions

Craftsman and Wolves is creating a lot of buzz. While I was there, the crowds ebbed and flow, but everyone was overwhelmed by the beauty of the products for sale

Even the normal-looking baked goods are taken to another level with ingredients and intricate details

Caramel chocolate pearl travel cakes

Temporary quotes cover one wall

My cup of Formosa oolong tea. There were only four tea options, and three of them were oolong while the other was a tisane (an herbal blend). I wished there were more variety, like a nice floral black tea.

Some of the desserts look like nothing you’ve seen before, like these financiers

Even the water bottles look beautiful

8 Responses to Desserts Too Pretty to Eat in the Mission

  1. Carolyn Jung says:

    I can’t wait to check that place out. I’m only sorry I missed his famous foie gras cake, which, of course, is now banned under the new California law. Drat.

  2. Dave Nguyen says:

    Is this a jewelry store or dessert place? haha.. I’ll put this on my list for next time.. I feel like I’m always in the know now.

  3. Mrs. L says:

    I love desserts that taste as good as they look (not always the case unfortunately). Can’t wait to try this place,thanks for the heads up!

  4. Row says:

    Wow, those financiers look crazy-cool! I wish I could try “The Rebel Within”… it sounds delicious.

    • Ben Ben says:

      The Rebel Within is a definite must do, go early for that. Guess you have to plan that return trip to SF pronto! 😉

  5. Ezen says:

    That photo of the almond cake with figs has me completely sold. Ahh.. itching get there right now.