B. Patisserie's Airy Delights - San Francisco

B. Patisserie has a delicate touch

Belinda Leong is a master of air.

As anyone who has picked up one of B. Patisserie's croissants ($3) at her pop-ups knows, the former Manresa pastry chef produces buttery pastries so light, you wonder whether you should even pick them up.

At her serene and sunny pastry shop on the Divisadero edge of Pacific Heights, which opened in mid-February, Leong's aptitude for lightness extends much further than the viennoiserie.

Her grand macaron ($6.50) balances raspberries and rose-scented crème mousseline between hollow, crackly almond meringues. A fork glides through her vanilla cake ($6.50), slipping through layers of vanilla ganache, whisperingly tart mascarpone and black-current preserves, as if every layer were whisked to a froth.

You'll see the bakers in the open kitchen wielding X-Acto knives and rulers as often as they do pastry bags. Yet despite the well-dressed women who populate most of the tables, the place feels precise rather than precious.

Another reward of Leong's precision: A high-tech marble countertop keeps the glossy, domed chocolate-caramel-toffee mousse ($6.50) at the perfect temperature. It's firm enough to spoon into, yet warm enough to evaporate on contact.

The flavor of chocolate, thankfully, lingers.