A Week in San Francisco: Food Nerds in Paradise

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When Elliott learned he had to be in San Francisco on business two weeks in a row, it seemed like the perfect excuse to tag along and make our requisite 9:45 reservation at Rich Table (we don’t have photos this time, but the hamachi appetizer was amazing!).

We started our week in a charming airbnb in the Castro and since it was a beautiful day, we trekked up through Haight-Ashbury to Golden Gate Park. San Francisco is a very walkable city which explains the surprisingly patient drivers at crosswalks and bakeries at every corner. On our first day in town, we happened to walk into Bi-Rite, an unassuming market that is a foodie’s treasure chest. We chatted with a friendly cheese gal and walked away with a small disk of Zingerman’s — some of the best goat cheese we’ve ever tried. Combined with salami, cara cara oranges, meyer lemon yogurt, and a frangipani croissant from Tartine Bakery, we could see this neighborhood was very dangerous for our waistlines, hills or not.

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After tasting the goods from Dandelion Chocolate, (and declaring it was the best he’s ever had) Elliott was delighted to learn the factory was only a 5 minute walk from our apartment. I think in another life, Elliott’s ultimate nerd job would be making small batch chocolate. Somehow we walked away with two more bars and the resolve to not eat it all before we’d left the city.

While Elliott dug into his conference, I got to explore the artistic side of the city. First on my list was Britex Fabrics, a 4-story temple of fabric straight out of Project Runway. From walls of buttons to reams of high-fashion fabrics, this place can easily take hours to explore.

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The following day, I decided to venture across the city to the Legion of Honor Museum in the Northwest corner of San Francisco. Ever since I saw the movie “Vertigo,” I’ve wanted to visit it and I couldn’t believe my luck when I learned their special exhibit was “High Style: The Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection.” The exhibit runs through July 19th so if you are in the San Francisco area, I highly recommend seeing it. The originality and sheer level of detail is a feast for the eyes!
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A short walk from the museum is Land’s End, a network of picturesque trails along the coast which provide unparalleled views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Pacific.

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Later in the week, we settled into new digs near Union Square and checked out the much-hyped Blue Bottle Coffee Company for breakfast. After a short line, we ordered two coffees, a cubano sandwich with cilantro (wow!), and an arugula salad with shaved fennel and an orange vinaigrette. It was so good, we came back the next morning and ordered the same thing.

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Only this time, Elliott ordered his coffee siphon-style. Its a delicate and elaborate brewing method that uses an incandescent light bulb, patience,  and a chemistry class-like contraption.

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Later that night we grabbed a quick late night snack at Hotel Zetta, a hip hotel right off Market.

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We tried their decadent chicken nuggets and honey mustard dipping sauce (which took us back to childhood memories of McDonald’s), and then headed upstairs to their gaming lounge with ping pong, pool, shuffleboard, plinko, and giant jenga. Trust us, you haven’t lived until you’ve played giant Jenga.

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This is the exact moment when I realized that I had chosen poorly.

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Another hot spot we tried was Ryoko’s near Union Square. It’s located in the basement and features a casual, club-like atmosphere with a live DJ. They’re famous for their inventive rolls such as the Volcano Roll, made with tempura shrimp, jalapeño, and peanut butter (far right roll). It was definitely unique but we’re not sure if it was worth the 45 minute wait (people we’re still lined up out the door at 11:00pm!) or the prices. Then again where else can you get sushi until 1:30 in the morning?

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For our last day, we grabbed lunch at Out the Door in the Ferry Building. We don’t have any photos but we highly recommend the fresh spring rolls and the green papaya salad.

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After lunch we rented bikes and headed out to the Marina District and the Palace of Fine Arts. It’s Elliott’s favorite way to see a city and I can see why — you can cover a lot of ground quickly, while still getting to experience the sights, sounds, and even smells.

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By the time we made it back to our hotel, we had just a few minutes to grab a treat before we caught our flight home. With the help of Yelp, we found Tout Sweet, a colorful patisserie on the 3rd floor of Macy’s.

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Everything in the case looked absolutely delicious but we settled on a bourbon bread pudding and The Tesla Tart, a lemon-passionfruit custard with a fruity marshmallow. It was the perfect way to end our trip!

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Overall, we had a great week in the city, punctuated by so many fantastic and inventive meals. Other highlights included the kale caesar at Fable, the burger blended with Epoisses cheese at Heirloom Cafe, the trio of salsas at Tropisueño, and the desserts at A-16. We can’t wait for our next visit!

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3 thoughts on “A Week in San Francisco: Food Nerds in Paradise

  1. Cheese from Zingermann’s / heck that’s in Ann Arbor, They ship wonderful bread too, $$$. The Palace of Fine Arts is where my dad courted my mom in 1915, I will show you photos of them in that venue.. In tender years, I rode my scooter there. The Legion of Honor is my favorite musee. Trails at Lands End: The Muny RR used to run very scenic meandering street car line around that loop to the Cliff House , Seal Rock, and Sutro’s Bath . I mean it was really meandering and scenic. Your chosen eateries are way too nouveau for this old geezer but I Love to hear about them. Next time try Schroeder ‘s , a wonderful old German house in the financial district. Used to be men only. Happy Easter, hope to see you soon. Keep the gastronomic delights comming my way. love papa

  2. Wow! you two know how to do a tasting vacation. So many fun and unusual treats. Looks like you had a very fun trip and good weather. Love, Aunt Susan

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