3414 22nd St., Mission
Though it's been open since October, Sweetmue, a Mission bakery, has managed to stay completely under the media radar. That was an intentional move, says founder Müller Luo: "I wanted to be able to start things off slowly, and serve the neighborhood before I drew any attention to us." Luo, a Berkeley native of Taiwanese extraction, worked in finance in Houston for many years before falling in love with pastry. After completing a pastry program at the French Culinary Institute in New York, she decided to move ahead with opening her own bakery (named for her nickname, "Mue") that would meld her French training with the Asian flavors of her childhood.
Sweetmue is housed in a petite 300-square-foot former pot dispensary in the Mission, where Luo offers goodies baked offsite in a commercial kitchen. Her focus is on infusing traditional French pastries like financiers and cream puffs with Asian ingredients, including black sesame, red bean, ginger, and green tea. She also offers some savory pastries, including puff pastry turnovers with pork belly and yam puree and a bacon-cheese brioche. Coffee is from Ithaca, NY's Gimme! Coffee (Luo is one of only two accounts in the entire state of California to carry it), and tea is from Teance in Berkeley. The small space doesn't leave much room for additional innovation, but Luo says she'd like to add an espresso machine sometime this summer, and hopes to continue introducing innovative new pastries. Hours are Tuesday-Thursday, 7:30-10 am; Friday, 7:30 am-6 pm; Saturday-Sunday, 9 am-6 pm.
· Sweetmue [Facebook]