Okay, let’s talk food. First off, thanks to my pounding pavement at 6:30 am in Golden Gate Park, I am happy to say that I did not gain an ounce on the trip. However, I am aware that in the future, such utter delicious indulgence may come with a cost. Be warned.
Our first morning in the city, we got a little late start and arrived at our planned breakfast joint, Mama’s, to find a line stretching down the block. Rather than forego the much anticipated meal, I ran across the street to Liguria Bakery and grabbed a sheet of raisin focaccia to tide us over during the wait. Boy was I happy to have the chance to taste it. Delicious on several accounts: just warm, soft, and slightly sweet. I had heard Liguria was the best, and now I know. All I saw was focaccia, but they sure do it well.
Also as we waited in line, a group of us ran around the block to XOX Truffles, named one of the 10 best artisan chocolatiers in the country. With good cause. We were surprised by how tiny the little shop was, and at the piles of rough-looking truffles tossed into mismatched bowls. Five dollars each bought us forty truffles, four of ten different flavors, to share. I adore caramel, citron and most of all spicy cayenne tequila, which was a free sample of which I got one quarter bite and wished we had ordered more. I’ll indulge further on my next visit.
The wait was worth it. Breakfast at Mama’s was a meal to remember. The line files you past the open kitchen, where french toast is being prepared of fresh banana bread, and sprinkles of parsley hit the poached eggs before being whisked away to hungry tables. I went back and forth between the french toast sampler, and crab benedict before spotting the pan dore and being decided. It was amazing. Thin slices of sour french baguette topped with sauteed apples in creamy, tangy lemon butter sauce. Mmm. I’ll have another right now please. Chelsea had the Monte Cristo, which might have been the table’s favorite. Plan on being in line at 8:30 am and plan on loving every bite.
TacoBar just happened to be on the corner on the street we were shopping one day. It looked good, smelled good, was decorated cool and seemed reasonably priced. We fell in love. And returned for lunch two days later. The homemade tortilla chips come topped with crumbly Mexican cheese, the fish tacos dual the best I’ve ever eaten, and the Horchata was not from a mix. Combine all of that with the cool light fixtures, comfy stools, and unique flatware holders and you’ve got a customer in me for life.
Of a long list of recommended restaurants for Chelsea’s Birthday Dinner, I chose Orson. The menu looked creative, the price not over-the-top, and the atmosphere casual and cozy. It hit the nail on the head as a fun, delicious, celebration spot. Our super friendly server recommended the house made mozzarella to start and I could have eaten just that. It was smooth, like cream cheese, but still slightly tangy like mozzarella, and soo buttery. Served with heirloom tomatoes and bruschetta. I will return for that. A few got pizza, which were yummy, the burger was a hit, and my goat cheese ravioli with sweet corn and summer beans was honestly one of the top five meals I’ve ever eaten. And I love good food. We talked and laughed easily. At 6 pm, we were the earliest diners in the place. The dessert menu looked impressive, but was actually slightly disappointing. I’ll stick to dinner next time and head elsewhere for dessert.
How yummy are good macarons? Paulette offered a beautiful and colorful array. I loved the sweet wedding almond and Caribbean chocolate. The fillings here are a little more intense, and the cookie a little more plain. I think these would make a darling favor or shower treat. I think I’d call these my second favorite macarons in San Francisco, only to the impeccable Miette.
Okay, we squeezed in a little jaunt down to Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf in between some of our shopping and eating. What did we do there? Gazed at the sea lions, shopped (for socks and head massagers), and ate (at Fisherman’s Grotto). There are a hundred restaurants to choose from in this oh-so-touristy area of the city. I forewent them all and grabbed a steamy bowl of fresh clam chowder in the classic San Francisco Sourdough bread bowl at the outdoor booth at No.9. Perfect for enjoying at the benches near the water where the pigeons and gulls await leftovers.
There is not a more fun Farmer’s Market in the world (that I have experienced, thus far) than the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market. On Tuedays and Thursdays a few booths set up in front of the building, and Saturdays the usual, albeit wonderful, indoor offerings are ballooned into a mini-booth city surrounding the entire building. I have hit it right two years in a row to enjoy fresh figs, which I love. We divided and conquered, hoping to complete a meal between the seven of us, which we did well. Inside the Ferry Building, I enjoyed an old favorite, macaroons from Miette. I also tried a few new things that were totally newsworthy: Burnt Caramel and Cardamom chocolates at Recchiuti Confections, mushroom ice cream at Far West Fungi (ask for a free sample!), and a berry, lemon, mint smoothie at Farm Fresh To You.
Breakfast at La Boulange was delightful. Fresh, hearty and comfortable. We couldn’t pass up the large hot cocoa, which comes served in a bowl. The French toast is a little like a souffle, and fresh fruit along side everything was delightful. I think I might be a frequent diner, if I lived closer.
The last meal of the trip was a classic banana split at the Ghiradelli Chocolate Factory. Couldn’t possible leave without one. We took it minus the pineapple, add dark chocolate fudge. It was a cherry on top, with a cherry on top.