San Francisco has no shortage of great desserts and baked goods, so it can be quite an ordeal trying to plan where to go, especially if you’re pressed for time. I’m all for curated lists, so below are 5 suggestions if you’re looking to grab a sweet bite (or drink) in San Francisco!
As much as I hate to admit this, I will concede that our neighbors up north do have a pretty
respectable vibrant food scene. During the week of Christmas, a few college friends and I drove up to San Francisco and crashed at Rosalie’s family home, which is nestled in Outer Sunset.
3324 Steiner St.
San Francisco CA 94123
I am one lucky gal. My boyfriend actually forwarded me San Francisco Restaurant Week and insisted I chose a place for our anniversary date. I chose Isa Restaurant based on its popularity and wide range of choices on its 4-course prix fixe menu ($40 each). The restaurant is located in the northern part of San Francisco, a little more than an hour from where I live. Parking was available in garages nearby. There was street parking, but I did not want to risk it due to the heavy traffic in the area. We arrived earlier than our 6:30pm reservation so we walked around the neighborhood to window shop at some boutique stores and check out other restaurants in the area. I want to try Saiwalks (Vietnamese Street Food) restaurant that’s right next door to Isa. We arrived a couple minutes early for our reservation but they had no problem seating us right away. It is a very packed and crowded restaurant with a small dining area in the front, kind of like a bar area, and then a larger tented area in the back that reminded me of a cabin.
Mongkok Dim Sum (旺閣點心) is really just for quick pick dim sum. San Francisco has quite a lot of them, more so than LA, places whose sole business model is to serving large-scale to-go dim sum. In LA, dim sum is typically only found at Cantonese or Teochew seafood restaurants. I give Mongkok a lukewarm recommendation, only because it fulfilled its duty: getting us full.
Our final day in San Francisco, we scoured the Yelp apps on our phones to find a solid breakfast/brunch spot. And I came across La Boulange, a French cafe and bakery chain with branches found throughout San Francisco and the greater Bay area. The closest one to Sunset was at Cole Valley, so we sped of, crossing our fingers that we’d find a parking spot.
Growing up, my idea of coffee wasn’t the kind brewed with roasted beans. It was pouring boiled water into a cup, and releasing the contents of a Nescafe sachet into the water, topped off with whole milk. To my family, coffee wasn’t a lavish $5 experience, it was part of the mundane. In fact, it wasn’t until I was in college that I began regularly drinking drip coffee. Given my credentials, I wouldn’t call myself a coffee connoisseur, not in the least. But I do enjoy a cup o’ joe every now and then.
After a stop at the Ferry Building, we took the MUNI to Chinatown with the sole purpose of paying homage to the very best egg tarts in SF, only to be found at Golden Gate Bakery (金門餅家), previously reviewed in July 2011. RY had warned me previously that Golden Gate was regularly shuttered during the summers, as the proprietors take a lengthy vacation.
The Ferry Building is a beautiful historic building located on The Embarcadero, built 122 years ago. In fact, it served as San Francisco’s main port of entry until the Bay Bridge was built in 1936. Far from being obsolete, it still actively serves as a ferry terminal. However, much of the space has since been re-purposed to house food shops.
Over the summer, my friends and I took a road trip up north to San Francisco, crashing at R’s home and tirelessly exploring the city in the 2.5 days we had. Despite the time crunch, we were able to hit up most of the places we had compiled on Google Docs, both hits and misses, and those in between. Good company, good eats, (reasonably) good weather. What more can you ask for?
Off the Grid is a a food truck experience more so than anything. I first stumbled on this event on Yelp, essentially a food truck market held once at a week at Fort Mason Center, which was once a military port.
Now I must admit, I’ve never been too fond of food trucks (especially those of the bourgeois sort), and Off the Grid didn’t really change my general opinion of them. Granted, there were a lot of interesting dishes I ended up having, given the sheer volume of trucks present on site.
On our way to the Golden Gate Park, we made a quick pit stop to recharge ourselves at Fifty/Fifty, a small cafe on the corner of Geary and Spruce. It’s a quaint little place, bright and airy, and a very simple menu etched onto the wall, just the way I like it. Also, just a note, they use beans from Ritual Roasters.
Americanized Burmese food is one of those things that instantly repulses yet fascinates me. At the one hand, I’m surprised there’s a market for Burmese cuisine outside the country. On the other hand, I’m left at the end of the meal feeling unfulfilled.
An incomplete Burmese meal imparts a feeling called “ah yi” (အအီ), with no true English equivalent, describing how one feels after wolfing down a hearty and oil-laden meal. I won’t dissect the anatomy of the requisites in a Burmese meal, but dishes are paired according to their qualities. For example, oil-based curries are paired with a sour-tasting soup to offset the oiliness, and by extension, that feeling.
Pie Fridays is one of the quirkier food establishments in SF. It’s not a food truck, but a cart, manned by a baker who sets up shop on certain days of the month and announces her locations on her blog.
Note: This is an addendum to a post written on September 19, 2011.
If I could write an ode to Marco Polo Ice Cream, I would. It is honestly one of SF’s best kept secrets and is never as packed as it ought to be. And don’t let the name fool you, they serve gelato, not ice cream. No visit to SF is complete without a pilgrimage to Marco Polo.