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Not the Same Old Sandwich and Pizza Request

After indulgently allowing hours of my life pass away reading countless threads on San Francisco's best sandwich and pizza recommendations on chowhound (linking to menus and reading pages of detailed menu reviews), I have yet to find information to fulfill my food-quest.

This August I am making my first trip to SF (only 2 days, a Wednesday and Thursday) and want to experience an exceptional sandwich and pizza with very specific requirements. Here are the specs:

For the sandwich, I want to find one that I can't just whip up every day in my own kitchen. I want 2 things: Whole grain artisan bread and AMAZING cheese. No white rolls, no meat, no special mayonnaise, no standard cheddar, swiss, provolone fare.

The pizza holds nearly the same requirements. I want fantastic crust and a unique cheese offering, with one additional stipulation--it must be cooked in a WOOD-FIRED oven.

Fresh and local are almost a given with these types of expectations. I am plagued with a palate that has high demands--but I trust that San Francisco in all its culinary infamy will be able to satisfy it.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Try "wood fired" in the search this board space above. You will find multiple places.

    1. you could analyze one of the TARTINE BAKERY sandwiches ... bread is world class
      and cheese is pretty good.

      k'ette does some cheej+veg sandwiches but i have only had their meat-based
      items. you can search here for some of the combos:
      and maybe somebody else can advise how good the veg ensemble is.

      i think a pizza+cheese-oriented person really ought to go to CHEESEBOARD
      in berkeley ... however if all i had was two days in SF, that depends on how full
      the schedule is. although it's not too far from BART. and it can be combined with
      one of the good sandwiches at GREGOIRE.
      i suppose the usually have some sandwiches which would not be trivially whip-up-able
      at home.

      2 Replies
      1. re: psb

        I don't think they make sandwiches, but Cheeseboard does make great pizzas and is a great place to buy house made cheese and bread.

        1. re: katya

          Cheese Board Pizza makes one vegetarian pizza a day, but they don't have a wood oven, and the crust is pretty eccentric. I like it but the pizza wouldn't make my Bay Area top 10. The several Arizmendis make basically the same pizza.

          The Cheese Board is one of the best cheese stores in the Bay Area, but their bread is to my taste in the third rank of local bakeries.

      2. Pizzaiolo in Oakland for the pizza, or Flour + Water in SF.

        1. The best wood-oven pizzas I've had were at A16 and Pizzaiolo. Picco and Flour + Water are on my list to try.

          Whole-grain bread and amazing cheese, your best bet is to go to the Ferry Plaza and buy bread at Acme and cheese at Cowgirl.

          Tartine's bread is arguably the best in the world, but it's made with white flour. Maybe when they expand he'll bring back whole-wheat, in their original location he made the best I've ever had.

          1. how about the grilled cheese at Outerlands in the Sunset? You'll love it

            1. OK, I have a suggestion for the sandwich, it meets the requirement of something you can't just whip up everyday in your own kitchen, however the feature is not artisan bread or amazing cheese (though it does have a perfectly fine slice of swiss cheese). No, the star of this sandwich is house cured and smoked pastrami, hand sliced and delicious. You can find this sandwich at Memphis Minnie's, a barbecue joint on Haight St. in San Francisco but only on Wednesdays. They serve a plain sandwich on a roll or the reuben which has saurkraut, russian dressing and the previously mentioned swiss cheese. Bob, the owner, said he thinks it's the best sandwich in San Francisco and I think I agree.

              Memphis Minnie's BBQ
              576 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

              1. Cheese may not always be among the ingredients, but it's hard to beat a sandwich from Sentinel. From the signature corned beef (unlike any traditional version) to the seafood versions in any season, the sandwiches are reliably delicious and conceived by an exceptional chef, Dennis Leary.

                As for pizza, definitely go to Pizzaiolo if you can to Oakland. I've eaten many pizzas in SF and Berkeley/Oakland, and still consider theirs the best for the crust, ingredients, interesting toppings, etc.

                1. I second the recommendation for Cheeseboard.

                  If you do end up trying Pizzaiolo, please do post about your experience. I'd be interested to hear what you thought as I was pretty disappointed when I went there a couple of months ago.

                  1 Reply