How do you work up an appetite in San Francisco?
You slam your coffee and get started by walking across the Golden Gate Bridge!
The earlier, the better — try to beat those hordes of clueless cycling tourists if you don’t wanna get run over!
I spent three awesome days in San Francisco last week — and, as one of those people who puts adventurous eating and traveling on pedestals of near-equal heights, hearing all the people I knew tell me, “Ohmigawd, San Francisco? You have to eat the food there!” only drove up my excitement and expectations!
So, where to start?
Two obvious stopping points for pastry aficionados: La Boulange (croissant bread pudding = must-try recommendation!) and Miette, a bakery that’s been on my list of “places to eat from before I die” for a long time.
My friend and I sampled Miette’s buttermilk panna cotta, chocolate pot de crème, lavender shortbread cookies, and their chocolate cupcake with strawberry Italian meringue buttercream.
The must-try recommendation: the cupcake — perfect, moist chocolate cake with fresh, flavourful buttercream. So good!
Also, one more stand-out shop in the Ferry Building Marketplace (home to many local businesses, relatively tourist-free): the Cowgirl Creamery. They sell local and international organic cheeses, and ate the best damned grilled cheese I’ve ever had in my entire life from their cafe next door, the Cowgirl Creamery Sidekick.
Later that day I had another amazing food experience on Fillmore Street, close to the trendy Chestnut neighbourhood: Patxi’s Chicago Pizza.
Honestly, this was probably the most satisfying pizza I’ve ever dug into! I’d never eaten Chicago-style deep dish pizza before — was it ever amazing!
Maybe it was the flaky, pie-like pizza crust… perhaps it was the soft, oozing cheese and house-made tomato sauce… it could have been the drizzle of honey and ranch dressing on the crust… or the fact that my friend and I had been walking for hours and hauled ourselves from sea-level to the famous Lombard Street hill and then some… but this pizza (and beer) was like an oasis in the dessert.
Better than anything I’ve ever had at home, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since!
Last, but not least, my foodie friend took me to Off the Grid — a Friday night conglomeration of hungry people, live music, and over 30 street eat vendors that gather in the parking lot at the Fort Mason Center.
Left to right, top to bottom in the photo above: an Off the Grid folding chair (non-edible), a tiramisu with mochi dumplings from KoJa Kitchen, a tuna-miso rice ball from Onigilly, and pumpkin fritters with peanut sauce, green onions, and lavender from Azalina’s.
The must-try recommendation: rice balls from Onigilly.
I pretty much lived off onigiri while I was hoofin’ it around Japan a few years ago, and this rice ball took me right back to that time in my life. In fact, the organic, top-quality ingredients made it even better than anything I’d had in Japan. True story.
The time I spent gallivanting around San Francisco was short, but sweet (and savory)!
My friend told me that “you could eat out three times a day for the rest of your life in San Francisco and never eat at the same place twice” — and I believe it! Everything I ate was worth trying at least once, and a lot of it would be worth eating over and over again.
To really enjoy San Francisco you’d better bring a fat wallet and an empty stomach! Yum!