Food adventures in San Fran
We aim to take a trip every year.Life goal.This year the destination was San Francisco. Anthony Bourdain once said: "Anyone who doesn't have a great time in San Francisco, is pretty much dead to me". I won't let you down Tony. Flight Booked.
We flew PHX- SFO, it was a nice,pleasant short flight.In order to make this trip cost efficient I booked a room with shared bathroom. I waited for the discomfort to come as I pictured a large hairy man smelling up the bathroom,or strands of fake hair all over the shower but it never came. The restrooms were clean, the showers were clean, the water was hot and there were plenty of towels and even robes and slippers provided. We stayed at Casa Loma near Alamo Square. It was walking distance from the Painted Ladies, a.k.a the "Full house" house. This is worth checking out. I also recommend a bus pass or one of the double decker city bus passes, this is good for 24 hours and they tour around the city and give you information. You don't want to drive in SF, parking is a nightmare. Kudos to anyone who can actually pull it off.
Touristy things were first on the list, the Fisherman's Wharf for clam chowder and oysters, the double decker bus around the city, bike riding to the Golden Gate Bridge. We had a great time the first day, lots of walking ( wear comfortable shoes) lots of hills, lots of yelping. The first day also included a wine tasting and trip to Ghiradelli.The smell of chocolate lured us in as we ended our bike ride. This is a must for chocolate lovers. It took everything I had not to come home with a 5LB Ghirardelli chocolate bar.
One of the best meals we had in San Fran came from a food truck. The Carmel Pizza Company. Located on Jones by the Wharf. We paid 13$ for a medium Margherita pizza and it was perfection. Brick Pizza oven, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, the tastiest tomato sauce. The food truck had ales and red wine to pair with their yummy pizzas. The bus stop was located right across, and after the pizza and long day we jumped aboard a vintage bus to the hotel.
I woke up the morning of my birthday ready to keep exploring the city.Casa Loma has a built in cappuccino/espresso maker and this was an awesome way to start each morning. Not only did Casa Loma not have naked hairy men running around, but it also saved us many a Starbucks bills each morning.Thank you! We had Popusas and Cororonas this morning. If you've never had a popusa, find one now. It's basically a south American hot pocket made of corn flour and stuffed with cheese and all different types of goodies. I had a shrimp and cheese popusa and a Kale and Cheese popusa. Amazingness.
We spent the day in China town were we walked a lot, purchased jade jewelry and had amazing hot green tea and Chinese food. I always look for the Trip Advisor sticker on the door, this tells me the place has good reviews and is probably amazing. Most of the times, the sticker doesn't lie. The interesting thing is every other place had the sticker in china town. When eating Chinese food, my go to is always the sweet and sour pork, went with the sweet and sour shrimp this time. Being so close to water makes me feel more inclined to order sea food. Fried rice is always a must, and potstickers, I always love. We had a little of everything this meal and were able to walk it off in China town and neighboring Italian district.
I celebrated my birthday dinner at The Stinky Rose, a garlic themed restaurant. All Garlic, all the time. The appetizer itself was a mini skillet of whole roasted garlic cloves drenched in olive oil and cooked to a caramelized perfection. The garlic cloves were slow roasted so long they spread on rolls like butter. We had a lemon butter herbed salmon on a bed of cous cous for entree, but the best part about this dinner was the dessert. We had a vanilla ice cream Sunday topped with a Mole Garlic sauce. Yeah, you read that right. The sauce was amazing, so different, spicy, sweet, rich. So good. Not sure I could recreate that if I tried.
On one of the last mornings, we checked out the Fillmore Farmers Market. This place was beautiful. Fresh Organic Produce, jazz music, street people and lots of good food of course. At the farmers market we enjoyed a fresh apricot tart, vegetarian simosas, and cold veggie pizza. Interesting, and holy carbs. The hill walking should have burned off at least one simosa!
We spent a lot of the day in the Love district. The Love District is known as the original location of the hippie subculture. More than just a gathering place for psychedelic drug use, the Love district is where people gathered in search of transdecense and in protest of the Vietnam war. Make peace, not war. We browsed around thrift shops, cruised dive bars and walked around the famous Haight and Ashbury streets. This is where it all began. It was a Saturday and I seriously contemplated ordering champagne in the Love District, but nobody wants to be that douche. In the Love District a Pabts Blue Ribbon was appropriate. The special of the day was a Pabst and a double shot of Jameson for 5$.
The only time I've ever waited for food was because of Anthony Bourdain. He recommended the Oyster Depot in SF. We waited 45 mins in line, not too terrible. The Place it self seats about 20 people, bar style,old 50s dinner style.This place was worth the wait and also on top as far as favorite eats go. We had oysters from various regions of California and various cuts of sashimi paired with sour dough bread and butter. Oh the butter. Heaven.Stella Artrois was the perfect pairing for this meal. Was this the perfect pairing executed by a chef? Probably not, but for us it worked.
The last days in SF included drinks at the Fairmont, one of the fanciest SF hotels located on Nob Hill. The locals frequently refer to this area as " Snob Hill". " Just walk in like we own the place" Gabe says. Works like a charm every time we do it. This hotel is a member of the Historic Hotels of America and built in 1907. The floors and walls are covers in marble and gold. The day we are there, theres a Bollywood wedding happening. The tiny bride is covered in head to toe gold. The rooms run about $300-$400 a night. Call me crazy, but I'd rather eat and drink that money.
On the last night in SF we caught an Ozomatli show at the legendary Fillmore, a music venue and restaurant. We asked the door guy if the restaurant was good ,there was a long uncomfortable pause followed by a gaze across the street. Across the street stands Izakaya, a sushi restaurant. Trip advisor sticker on the door and all. We had a couple of sushi rolls, and after sharing a bottle of champagne, danced the night away.
Woke up our departing morning with a champagne hangover. Note to self: Mimosas are a day time drink. Our flight was delayed an hour because someone boarded the plane, left a bag and deplaned without the bag. The staff at United Airlines was cautious and informative about the matter. Nothing like nearly being murdered to remind you its time to go home. San Francisco was light, it was happiness. It was vintage, culturally rich and I can't wait to go back.