All my trips revolve around food. Seeing friends, sure. Seeing sights, sometimes. But food is always number one. And for short ones like my recent 1.5 days in San Francisco, it’s all about packing in as much as my stomach will allow.
Having visited SF a handful of times already, I’ve seen most of the neighborhoods, so my friends recommended Eaman and I spend our day off from wedding festivities in the Mission, which I had been to during my last visit, and Hayes Valley, which was new to me. Both areas are filled with cafes, trendy boutiques, and popular eateries (i.e. Pizzeria Delfina), but Hayes is slightly more upscale—like New York City’s SoHo or West Village.
Here, 6 things to eat, drink, and do, but first, let me set the scene…
Tartine. It’s hard to talk about SF’s food scene without mentioning this mega-popular bakery in the Mission. The namesake dish is beloved for lunch, but we knew we had to stagger our meals for our food-filled day. We settled into the restaurant with one chocolate croissant, one plain croissant, and one latte. Even though I hate drinking coffee out of bowls—is that supposed to be cute?—it was one of the best lattes I’ve ever had. I wished the croissants were warm, but apparently that’s not how they’re served in Europe, so I’ll let it slide. That said, it was still the best croissant I’ve ever had—and that says a lot because I love me a warm croissant.
DragonEats. It’s not one of the marquee eateries, but it is where my Hayes Valley-residing friend picks up lunch from all the time. At $6 a banh mi, I wouldn’t care about quality, but they happen to make an excellent tofu banh mi. All the veggies and cilantro were fresh, fresh, fresh.
Stuff. In the rare moment when we weren’t inhaling food, we were browsing through midcentury goods at the Mission’s Stuff, the most fabulous vintage shop I’ve ever visited. I’ve seen places of this capacity in San Diego, but those shops aren’t even half as well curated as Stuff. And pristine! I saw an employee dusting off pieces ever so delicately with paper towels. Oh, and their upstairs bathroom has a functioning disco ball!
Blue Bottle. San Fran is a coffee town, and many people pray to the altar of Blue Bottle. I loved the space of BB’s Hayes Valley location, including the makeshift seating area with graffiti art splashed behind it. For our cuppa, I think we added too much sugar, which is unfortunate because it kind of ruined it. (I had had it in Palm Springs and loved it!) As blasphemous as it may be to say, I had my favorite coffee of the trip elsewhere. More on that below.
Miette. My friend called this place very blog worthy, and she’s right. Just look at that wall-to-wall candy stash! Truth be told, all the candy is just generic types packaged beautifully in Miette’s own design and priced exorbitantly. Instead, I went for a vanilla cupcake with strawberry buttercream (not pictured). I gobbled that thing at Patricia’s Green, a mini park with benches, a playground, and awesome food around the perimeter, including Smitten Ice Cream, Ritual Coffee, Miette, and a juice shop.
Arizmendi Bakery. I loved just about everything I ate in SF, but the baked goods at Arizmendi Bakery were tops. In fact, I’ve been telling everyone about the place since I came back. Our plan was to get gas in Oakland before the drive home, and I just so happened to see that Arizmendi, which I heard about through the blog grapevine, has a location in Oakland. I figured we’d pick it up as a breakfast to go, but once we laid eyes on the “Chocolate Thing” and vegan blueberry scone, we knew we needed to sit down for this event. I’m not afraid to say that they’re the best pastries I’ve had in my life. (And I’ve consumed a lot of pastries.) As for the coffee, here’s where I had my favorite cup. Even better, the coffee is roasted right there in Oakland. Get thee to Arizmendi!
- Bi-Rite Creamery. Long line but moves quickly; great quality and better than any ice cream I’ve had in San Diego, but I’m not ready to say it’s numero uno
- B-Star. Sister restaurant to Burma Superstar with shorter waits; the tea leaf salad was disappointing, but I loved the samusa soup and crispy flatbread (platha) with curry dip
- La Sabor. A humble Mexican shack in San Jose that was a savior during a hectic wedding weekend in the ‘burbs. You’ll probably never go there, but if you do, the vegetarian tostada is quite choice.