Save for the wet weather, San Francisco has kindly ingratiated herself upon me during my two week stay. While I didn’t have a chance to walk the Golden Gate Bridge or stroll the corridors of Alcatraz, I did manage to eat, eat, eat (and drink too). I’ve come to two conclusions about the cities food. First, one would have to possess an extremely awful stroke of misfortune to happen upon a bad cup of coffee here. Second, it would be a crime if I didn’t share the names of the more memorable establishments that I had the pleasure of visiting.
Four Barrel Coffee // I’m not sure where to begin; I guess its with the roasting. The rear half of this large, refurbished factory space boasts a separate roasting operation. The roasting machine looks like something out of City of Lost Children. Regular coffee is produced in small batches with a french press. Specialty coffees are made by one of two baristas who operate their stations with a sort of second-nature precise skill. More expensive bean varieties and other brewing methods are to be had at another counter. The space is fantastic - think taxidermy, industrial seating, lots of wood and metal, big open space. Every employee is not only uniquely charming but worthy of a second or third look. In fact, coffee mugs are sold at the register adorned with illustrations of each worker’s likeness.
Ritual Coffee Roasters // While I’m writing this very posting from their location in The Mission, a group of people standing around a table behind me are being instructed on the finer points of coffee tasting. The spacious cafe boasts lots of tables with Eames-style bent plywood chairs and makes for an inviting place to hunker down with your laptop all day.
Magnolia Pub & Brewery // The food at this pub located in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood is pretty tasty. They go through a full pig a week making different kinds of sausages but the real reason to visit is the beer. Their brews which are made in the basement are all that you will find on tap. The selection of over a dozen beers which are constantly in flux include cask-style recipes and are only available at the pub.
The Residence // Delicious Manhattan’s are to be had at this Duboce Triangle watering hole. The atmosphere has a sort of deco vibe about it.
Bourbon & Branch // This establishment located in the heart of the Tenderloin is created in the spirit of an old speakeasy. You’ll need a password and reservations to get into the main bar. Seatings are limited to two hours. A separate library room is hidden behind a bar wall panel and is available on a first come basis, as space is available. This place is all about mixology, creating some of the finer drinks I’ve had the pleasure to sip.
Mission Bar // a perfect dive bar in the heart of The Mission. A happy hour round of 4 pints cost me a wopping $10.
Tartine Bakery & Cafe // You’ll go for breakfast and never want to eat a pastry from anywhere else again. Tartine is well known for their bread selections and chocolate croissants. The quiche is rather fantastic as well. I suspect everything they make is fantastic.
Farm:Table // Right off the bat - why is nobody doing this in NYC? The cafe is small and simple. They serve breakfast and lunch. Inside, there is just one table that seats up to 8 people. Two more small tables are located out front. Each day the menu changes with a new version of just three or four choices - an egg sandwich, a toast, a homemade cereal. I had sliced hardboiled eggs on pieces of baguette with crumbled bacon, feta, and scallion oil. They brew beans from Verve Coffee Roasters of the Bay Area. To find out the daily menu changes, visit their twitter feed which is also posted on their website.
R & G Lounge // Despite the unconvincing name, this is the place in San Francisco’s Chinatown that you will find yourself waiting for a dinner table. The prices are a bit higher than you would generally expect to spend on Chinese food but worth it. Where else are you going to find deep fried, salt & pepper dungeness crab?
Foreign Cinema // It would be easy to walk by this restaurant and have no idea from the outside that it even exists. Chefs with several years of experience cooking in the kitchens of Chez Panisse and Zuni Cafe created this wonderful eatery. Yes, it will cost you a few bucks and yes, its worth it if you have a few bucks to spare. Everything is impressive - the service, ambience, food and drink alike. While I dined next to a cozy warm fireplace, the courtyard looked like a rather unique experience; a rotating schedule of classic cinema is projected on a large wall.
Home // this is the place to go for really good comfort food in San Francisco’s Duboce Triangle neighborhood.
Swell // I was staying just two blocks from this quaint little spot. The rain was coming down hard and I wasn’t about to run around town for a meal. I noticed people setting up in the restaurant window just a few days earlier. We decided to give it a try. We got lucky and were seated at the four stool bar, as everyone else who stepped in appeared to have made reservations. The restaurant’s seafood menu takes it’s influence from Japanese and French cuisine. This is a very nice place for sharing small plates and wine.