the best veggie sandwich in sf is made by a pinoy-owned bakery

 

Magsaysay "Mags" Facultad, Pinoy baker in San Francisco

Magsaysay "Mags" Facultad, Pinoy baker in San Francisco and owner of West Portal Bakery, poses in front of his artisan breads.

One of the most familiar streets in San Francisco to me is West Portal Avenue. My aunt banks in the area and I’ve accompanied her there many times before.

So after an errand last week, we went to West Portal Bakery for some late lunch. We stopped in again the other day for a snack. And that’s when I decided to blog about the place.

Both times we went to West Portal Bakery, I had the veggie sandwich — mixed greens, avocado, and tomato. My choice of sauce was pesto, and my choice of bread was focaccia. Being both vegan and lactose-intolerant, I stayed away from the cheese, though the sandwich came with a choice of cheddar or swiss.

It certainly gets my vote for the best veggie sandwich, ever. It was very well made both times — a big sandwich, too, bursting with fresh greens and big slices of avocado. The focaccia itself was worth the sandwich. I was so pleased with it that I even emailed my friend, Green Wok owner and chef Dolly Aspiras, just to rave about it.

On our second visit there, we discovered that the owner of the bakery was Filipino.

Magsaysay “Mags” Facultad moved to San Francisco in 1987, saved some money, and by the early 2000s, wanted to start a business. A friend recommended he open a bakery, and Mr. Facultad bought West Portal Bakery.

 

Fresh artisan breads and other baked goodies at the West Portal Bakery

Fresh artisan breads and other baked goodies at the West Portal Bakery

A little standee outside the bakery advertises artisan breads — non-commercial in quantity, allowing more attention and care to quality. The baking is done twice a day, and produces a wide (and yummy-looking) selection of breads, pies, cookies, and bars sold from 6 am to 7 pm.

It seems like a popular place, too, by the looks of the crowd in the bakery, especially on our first visit. At 6 pm daily, a queue starts to form for their “buy one, take one” offer for items above the counter.

“Filipinos like the brioches, while Americans, the sourdoughs,” Mr. Facultad pointed out during our casual and very brief Q&A. The taste of the brioche must remind Filipinos of the pan de sal from back home, he said.

On future visits to San Francisco, I hope to visit West Portal Bakery again.

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