Some of you may be asking yourself why I was in San Francisco last week and the short answer is: for work. But, as with any trip, the real reason revealed itself to be: for eating all the food. Besides Maggie's epic list, my friend Evan (who recently moved to SF) took me to a few of his favorites. I also managed to find a few gems all by myself!
With the exception of two big meals, most of what I consumed was in the form of coffee and pastries, so it only made sense to review the numerous cafes and bakeries I visited over the weekend.
Neighborhood: Cow Hollow
I found this cute little shop by wandering around the neighborhood where I was staying and asking local retailers where they like to have local coffee. This one popped up twice, so I knew I had to check it out. It's small, and counter space is limited, but the people are nice and the coffee is great. They didn't have much to offer in terms of baked goods, but I think that's just because I came in later in the day and most of the goods were gone. I settled on the very last butternut squash and sage scone with a big latte. It set me up for the perfect day of wandering the town.
Final thoughts: Love the pineapple Rifle & Co. wallpaper!
Neighborhood: Western Addition
This place was packed at like 4 p.m. on a weekday, so I guess I have to assume it's pretty popular all the time. I had to wait to find a seat, but other than that, my experience was awesome. I met up with a few local MICA friends and got the scoop on what it's like to live in SF. Apparently this place is the brainchild of the Four Barrel Coffee people and Josey Baker (actual last name of a baker!), so they do both things REALLY well. I heard that their daily "toasts" are where it's at, but I was more in the mood for a donut, so I went with my gut.
Final thoughts: Maple. Bacon. Donut.
Neighborhood: The Mission
This is the coffee component of the Mill, so I already knew it was going to be good. I loved that the decor felt similar to the Mill but like the rustic winter version. The cup design was also crazy cute. It was pretty crowded, but since it was midday Saturday, I couldn't really complain. The ordering system was a little confusing since everyone is just sort of waiting in the same area for stuff, but that area is also the register. I did love that the pour-over coffee had its own little station, and everyone there was super friendly!
Final thoughts: Be prepared to be patient.
Neighborhood: Russian Hill
I wanted to have one more "authentic SF coffee experience" before I had to fly back to NYC, so I was somewhat limited in what was open on a Sunday at 7:30 a.m. Luckily, St. Frank is one of those places! Even better -- it was within a 10-minute walk of where I was staying. I was one of the only people in there, but that just meant that I got to enjoy the beautiful, airy space all by myself. Well, me and the two baristas who were definitely judging me while I stared at them and ate a loaf of banana bread. Whatever.
Final thoughts: Scandinavian style in the Bay Area
Neighborhood: The Mission
That first picture is deceiving. It is in fact, not named Carl's, but I guess whatever was there before was! Tartine was recommended by a few people, so obviously I had to see what the fuss was about. Wow. OK, first off, there's a line. There will always be a line there, so get over that -- it moves fast. Second, if you have room for it, get their daily loaf. Whatever it is, I'm sure its amazing. Everything there is baked fresh daily and you can smell the breads and sweets around the block. We ended up getting the spicy turkey sandwich, seasonal bread pudding, a lemon tart, pain au chocolat, and of course, the daily loaf, which was a rye spelt. It took a while to get all of the food, but damn it was worth the wait.
Final thoughts: Get it to go, and eat it in around the corner in Dolores Park.
Neighborhood: Nob Hill
This one was a recommendation from Evan. After our 5-mile run, we needed some solid sustenance, so of course, we headed straight for the fried dough. It's a pretty unassuming little shop run by some feisty little ladies. We wanted a bit of everything and ordered...well...some of everything. We started with the apple fritter which was AMAZING. Unfortunately, that's as far as we got because it proved to be too much food for even seasoned donut eaters such as ourselves.
Final thoughts: You will only have room for one donut. Choose wisely.
I tried really hard to hit up all of everyone's amazing recommendations, but there just wasn't enough time in the weekend. I guess I'll just have to go back soon...