A Lesson on Instagram

As you all may already know about me, I am a massive foodie. In this aspect, I am completely and utterly a millennial.

I love looking at photos of delicious food, perusing food blogs, checking out restaurant menus ahead of time, reading restaurant menus for fun… (Okay, that last one is true, but I admit that may not be true of most of the millennial foodies that I know.) For anything that relates to good, interesting, unique food, I’m there.

It then, of course, makes complete sense that I would want to go to a café — one that’s an hour’s commute away at the 16th St. Mission Bart station in San Francisco, by the way — after seeing some of their photos on Instagram.

Photo Courtesy of Craftsman and Wolves Instagram
Photo Courtesy of Craftsman and Wolves Instagram

Really, who wouldn’t be at least intrigued by all those beautiful pastries? And so, like the foodie I am, I went onto Yelp to read some of the reviews of Craftsman and Wolves and to take a peek at other customers’ photos before making my rather outlandish decision of going out to SF just for the sole purpose of visiting this café.

If you took a look at their Yelp page, it does look incredibly promising, no?

Don’t be fooled.

I took the plunge this morning and traveled out to SF with a fierce appetite and high hopes. Craftsman and Wolves was about three-and-a-half blocks away from the Bart station, located just beyond an oddly sketchy part of town and in one of the most maintained areas of SF I’ve personally visited.

Photo Courtesy of Winnie L. from Yelp
Photo Courtesy of Winnie L. from Yelp

The tables outside were filled — a good sign — but the space inside was still thankfully empty. As the photos on Yelp had promised, beautiful baked goods were posed inside their glass-lined counter, and the employees kindly allowed this indecisive foodie to take her fine time deciding what she wanted to order off their proper menu, and from their selection of baked goods.

After great debate, I finally settled on coffee, a slice of quiche with “pickled things” (Indeed, that was what the menu read.), and a matcha snickerdoodle to go. My partner (Many thanks for all the early mornings you have endured with me for the purpose of food.) ordered a latte, an egg frittata sandwich, and their specialty “The Rebel Within” to share.

While everything looked delicious, that unfortunately didn’t quite hold true.

Market-inspired mixed vegetable quiche with pickled things:

Photo by Courtney Cheng
Photo by Courtney Cheng

The egg filling was far too light and fluffy to actually feel as if I was eating eggs anymore, and it was severely lacking in flavor in the form of salt, pepper, herbs, or spices. The spinach close to the top of the slice had a similar dearth of seasoning, and the tomatoes were too watery for any quiche. The corn on the bottom of the slice did, thankfully, have quite a nice sweet flavor that paired well with the flaky crust, but the crust itself was a bit too hard at times. As for the pickled things? They tasted, indeed, like pickled carrots, but contributed nothing to the quiche.

Egg frittata breakfast sandwich on a house English muffin with cheddar cheese, ham, and greens:

Photo by Courtney Cheng
Photo by Courtney Cheng

I only had a couple bites of the frittata, and upon first bite, this small English muffin breakfast sandwich seemed to hold far more promise than my quiche. But on the second bite, I began to realize that my liking for it probably derived from my want for flavor. The sandwich ended up being a little too salty, and also — shockingly? — lacked a unique flavor. The sharp cheddar taste was enough to sustain my interest, but a little while after the second bite, I realized that it was the taste of the scallions that held the sandwich together, rather than supplement the other ingredients.

The Rebel Within:

Photo by Courtney Cheng
Photo by Courtney Cheng

Words cannot convey to you just how ecstatic I was to be trying this thing. From the first moment I laid eyes upon it on Yelp, I was sold. Really, what could be more ingenious than baking a soft boiled egg into a muffin, seasoned with asiago, sausage, and green onion? Unfortunately (I was really disappointed about this one too), this muffin would have been more aptly named James Dean, the Rebel Without a Cause. Like the quiche and sandwich, The Rebel Within lacked any distinct flavor. The muffin was dry and crumbly and the egg soft-boiled, but morosely nondescript.

Matcha snickerdoodle:

Photo Courtesy of Angel K. from Yelp
Photo Courtesy of Angel K. from Yelp

Why don’t I have a photo of my cookie? Oh, right, because I was too disappointed in everything else to really want to take a shot of it. Was it worth my disdain? Let’s say it deserved at least 66% of my disdain. The reason why I’d settled on a matcha snickerdoodle was because I thought it sounded the most interesting — and because I wanted a cookie that tasted like matcha. While this snickerdoodle was, in fact, a decent snickerdoodle and quite a satisfying cookie, it did not taste anything like matcha. After going on a lemon kick this past semester, I have a decent grasp on just how much lemon zest and juice one needs in order to properly flavor a baked good to the right lemon taste. This snickerdoodle had definitely met lemon zest and lemon juice, but I can’t be sure it had ever made an acquaintance with matcha.

Verdict: 2.5/5

For its price and the journey I had to undertake to get there, Craftsman and Wolves was definitely not worth it. This visit only gave me the distinct impression that the café sustains itself on its creative ideas (Thai curry flavored scones and Horchata-flavored cube cakes, to name a couple other eye pleasers) rather than its taste. If the food had been cheaper, I wouldn’t have minded so much. But the fact that I shelled out almost $20 for an unmemorable food experience does not sit well with me.

Take it from me: Instagram lies. #nofilter

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