Minh and I recently took a trip to the Bay Area to visit some friends. We did a little touristy stuff, but for the most part we ate… A LOT. Wanting to cram in as much good food as we possibly could in the short amount of time we had there, we concocted a SF food crawl, during which we (Minh, me, and two friends) embark on a journey across San Francisco and eat at 14 (!!!) different places in one day… Let’s begin…
Davis recently completed baking school and has been interning at the San Francisco Baking Institute. This mostly involves long hours of baking a lot of bread. Minh and I wanted to check out what a large scale baking operation looked like, so Davis gave us a quick tour and we grabbed a croissant to-go. No picture of the food or the place, but I did get a shot of Wind Harp Tower out back.
Our first stop in the city was Just for You Cafe, in the Dogpatch Neighborhood. There was a little bit of a wait, but not too bad. We shared one breakfast entree.. chorizo con huevos with corn bread and home fries.. and an order of beignets. The beignets were nothing special, mostly tasted like good donuts.. but the chorizo con huevos (basically a chorizo egg scramble) was DELICIOUS! We probably should passed on the beignets, or just ordered one to split.. because we were pretty full after breakfast. How would we fit all the other food in??
I think this lobster roll was one of my favorite dishes during the whole food crawl. We stopped by the Woodhouse Fish Company in the Castro. The split top roll was toasted for a crunchy outside, but still soft in the middle. The lobster was fresh and not overly dressed. The fries were crunchy and well seasoned (or like Minh dubbed “seafood fries”). Probably could have finished one by myself (a little one).
First “sweet” stop of the day… Davis heard about a pop-up going up behind Four Barrel Coffee for a new bakery called b. Patisserie. The genius behind b. Patisserie is pastry chef Belinda Leong, who is getting ready to open her first brick and mortar store with Davis’ boss (set to open in Lower Pacific Heights in December). We tried nearly every flavor of macarons she had.. and they were awesome. They were all Halloween candy themed – Snickers, Whatchamacallit, Lemonhead, Mounds,… We also grabbed a handful of kouignettes (tiny bite-sized Kouign Amanns), which were amazing. Paired it all with an iced-coffee from Four Barrel, and it was definitely a good pre-lunch snack.
While we were sitting at Four Barrel Coffee enjoying our coffee and sweets, I casually mentioned to the gentleman sharing the table with us that our next stop was Craftsman and Wolves, (from the genius behind the now closed Tell Tale Preserve Company) to which he replied, “You MUST try the Rebel Within” (and of course.. I am paraphrasing). In theory, the Rebel Within should have been a heavenly breakfast treat… a savory breakfast muffin with a perfectly cooked egg hidden in the center. But… Minh and I were not impressed. It had some good merits too it, but I think it was maybe over-hyped (?)… the execution could have been better.. but it wasn’t bad. I might need to try this at home.. maybe next time I host book club.
I’ve been DYING to try Tartine ever since I picked up the book and dreamed about taking care of my own starter (which I attempted to start a while back, but neglected… ). Angie brought us down a morning bun last year when she came to visit, but I had to try something from the bakery.. with BREAD. We were all really starting to get full by this point, so we barely took a few bites of the croque monsieur (which was delicious!!!) and the frangipane tart (which I took home with my to OC and had for breakfast some days later.. still good). If we timed it right, I would have wanted to come back at 5PM for some fresh baked bread.. but, ALAS, it was not meant to be. Next time…
8. Location: Bi-Rite Creamery, Food: 1-scoop Vanilla and 1-scoop Honey Graham icecream
Angie had requested to hit up Bi-Rite Creamery, since it’s kinda a big deal (5100 reviews on Yelp!) and she’d never been before (neither had Minh and I). As an icecream gage, we decided to try vanilla and then one other flavor (which Minh let me choose). Overall, it was pretty basic. I didn’t think the ice cream was anything special… but it was good icecream. I also have their book at home, so I may be trying out some of their other flavors (homemade).. but I don’t think I would go out of my way to stop by the shop (and especially not if we have to wait in line). We took our icecream across the street to Dolores Park for some people watching and to plan our next few stops…
9. Location: Chili Pies, Food: Green Chili Pot Pie
Davis was raving about the hand pies from Chili Pies the day before.. but by the time we got there, they were all sold out of the one we wanted… so we opted for a homemade pot pie instead. I have to say, if it was hot, then this would have been the BEST CHICKEN POT PIE EVER (!!!), but since it was not heated through all the way, it was only better than any pot pie I had ever had before. Still pretty damn good, right? The little side salad was good too.. Minh killed it.
By this point, we were all macaron-ed out from b. Patisserie, but we still had room for some other sweets. Few people know, but Thorough Bread and Pastry is associated with the San Francisco Baking Institute, where Davis works. It was named by the owner’s daughter.. and a pretty clever name, if I do say so myself. Minh couldn’t resist the eclair and Davis recommended the lemon blackberry mousse cake.. so we got both. AMAZING! We also grabbed an almond croissant to go.. but didn’t eat that till the next morning.
Minh and I had stopped by Smitten the night before.. because we weren’t sure if we’d be able to make it out that way again during the weekend. If you’ve not heard of Smitten, I would highly recommend checking it out if you’re ever in San Francisco. This is the freshest icecream you will ever have, because the icecream is frozen/churned to order in an awesome machine called the Kelvin (invented by the founder of Smitten) that freezes the base with liquid nitrogen before your very eyes (!!!) (Check out this video). The first night, we had classic vanilla (as a gage.. very vanilla-y) and pumpkin spice (which tasted like the best pumpkin pie filling you’ve ever had.. but creamier and frozen). This time, we had to try the other two flavors they were offering (they only have four flavors a day): TCHO chocolate with pistachio brittle and salted caramel. The chocolate was delicious.. the salted caramel a little bit on the sweet side. But overall, I really like Smitten Ice Cream. The texture of the ice cream is so much smoother and creamier than any other ice cream you will every try, and the flavors are actually really good.
12. Location: Bun Mee, Food: Sloppy Bun and Salt &Pepper Garlic Fries
Unlike the other stops of the day, this one was COMPLETELY spontaneous. We were meeting up with a college friend for dinner in Pacific Heights, and had some time to kill. The bars were all packed because of some crazy sporting event, so we were just aimlessly walking up and down the street looking in the shops. We walked by Bun Mee, and just had a glance at the menu. After all the eating we had done all day, none of us were hungry, but Minh INSISTED that we get a sandwich. I have to be honest, being from Orange County (home to the largest Vietnamese community outside of Vietnam), I’m not a fan of paying more than $3 for bánh mì (Vietnamese sub sandwich).. and I’m always skeptical of so-called “Asian fusion.” Minh picked the Sloppy Bun – red curry ground beef, house garlic aioli, shaved onion, thai basil, jalapenos – and for whatever reason, our stomachs insisted on an order of garlic fries. The sandwich was surprisingly good (but totally make-able at home if you can find some good baguettes) and the fries were a pleasant surprise. Instead of your traditional garlic fries that just have loads and loads of minced garlic or garlic salt and chopped, these fries are tossed with sauteed onions and garlic and jalapenos… it was AWESOME!! Best fries EVER!!!
13. Location: La Mediterranee, Food: …
Angie had suggested La Mediterranee because it was a nice halfway point from where we were (Hayes Valley) and where our friend was (Fisherman’s Wharf). I honestly cannot remember everything that we had for dinner.. but it was a lot of Mediterranean food – hummus, lamb, chicken, meatballs of sorts, salads, dips… This was not my favorite meal of the day, but it was still very good, and it was nice to end the night at a table with friends, with good food and good drinks.
Last stop of the night, and in an attempt to make it out of the city before some crazy event (like a riot) happened.. we stopped for dessert at Humphry Slocombe. I also picked up this book after watching a little Vimeo bit on these guys. I was excited to try their Vietnamese Coffee ice cream, made from Blue Bottle Coffee and Vietnamese charm. Tasted just like a nice glass of cà phê sữa đá.. DELICIOUS! Davis got a scoop of Secret Breakfast, which tasted like boozy breakfast cereal. As we were waiting in line, a major sporting victory for San Francisco occurred.. and the streets went WILD. We high-tailed it out of there as fast as we could, for fear that a bunch of Asians in that part of town would draw suspicious attention…
BONUS: What we took home… and the day after
As if all the food we actually ate during the day wasn’t enough… we also had tons of goodies that we brought home with us, either that we couldn’t finish or that we just picked up for later. This included caramels and sweets from Craftsman and Wolves, 70% single origin (Rio Caribe, Venezuela) chocolate from Dandelion Chocolates, leftover macarons from b. Patisserie… which we snacked on back at home-base.
The next morning before heading out for more food (this time for amazing fried chicken at Hard Knox and a food crawl of the East Bay), we had a breakfast of the leftover croque monsieur from Tartine and an almond croissant from Thorough Bread.
NOTE: Apologies for the low-quality Instagram photos… I have better ones trapped on an SD card somewhere at home, but these were readily available when I decided to put together this post.