Had "A Gourmet Experience" lately?
I am looking for examples of food (and even non-food) shops -- NOT full-serve restaurants-- that provide a truly gourmet experience. I'm taking some folks on a food tour and want to show them the most chichi, upscale, premium, and delicious things that SF has to offer... ideally off the beaten path. In other words, off the tourist path, into the neighborhoods of The City.
This might be considered touristy, but I don't think you can do a complete food tour of SF without visiting the Ferry Building, esp. on Farmer's Market day. It's all upscale, all premium, and mostly delicious.
I'd also add Lucca's and Molinari's delicatessens. And the kitchen store on Divisadero whose name I always forget, but that smells like an attic and is packed full of used kitchen equipment.
Check out the Bi-Rite Market on 18th Street between Guerrero and Dolores. Killer gourmet specialty market with killer prepared foods. It's also on the same block with Delfina, Delfina Pizza, and the spectacular Tartine bakery, which makes that block the up-scale gourmet epicenter of the entire Mission/Noe swath of the city.
The most chichi upscale places are mostly not off the tourist path.
And probably 85% of the most delicious things that are off the beaten path are the opposite of upscale.
focaccia warm out of the oven at Liguria
slice of porcini pizza at L'Osteria del Forno
pastry or apricot-ginger breads at Noe Valey Bakery (but you can hit them at the Ferry Plaza on Saturday)
taco al pastor at Taqueria San Jose
schwaerma at Truly Mediterranean
taste flight at WINE in Embarcadero Center
free meatballs at Schroeder's
burger at Zeitgeist
bahn mi at Saigon Sandwich
K&L wine shop
The Wine House
24th street cheese shop in Noe Valley
the markets on Stockton Street in Chinatown