Foodies gone wild

My obsession was so great, I braved San Francisco’s Westfield mall on Black Friday for a Beard Papa cream puff.

Apparently, 70 bizilllion other people had the same obsession, judging by a line that wrapped for miles. I left puffless. But not disappointed.

Since its opening, food geeks (like me, and maybe you, too) have been dumbstruck over the wonderland that is the Westfield Mall. You’ll know us by the look of incredulousness as we stand, blocking all foot traffic, drooling quietly on our holiday sweaters.

What’s the big deal? First off, the food court, which features waaaay-upscale versions of Thai, Japanese, Mexican and burgers. And the famed Slanted Door is set to open a take-out soon. Obviously, this ain’t your usual mall grease-o-rama.

Add to that a huge indoor farm-market/gourmet food store (Bristol Farms). Gently layer upon that an artisinal chocolate shop that could bring you to tears with its preciousness (Cocoa Bella). Plus, a French style bakery , a gawk-inducing fusion Asian restaurant (Straits), a Lark Creek Kitchen spinoff, a luxe sandwich shop (‘wichcraft) and a gourmet Mexican eatery (ie: no chimchangas).

And of course, there are the cream puffs. A recent import from Japan, Beard Papa is a sort of fast-food style bakery serving up light, airy pate a choux filled with vanilla, green tea or chocolate pastry cream. Suffice to say, I was covered in a blanket of powdered sugar, cream and crumbs by the time I left. They’re that good.

So make the excuse that you’re going into the city for some holiday shopping. Just make sure to wipe off all the crumbs before you get home. I won’t tell your secret.

Westfield Mall, 865 Market St., San Francisco