Coffee and Snacky Food Tour with Dad
My dad is coming to visit for two short days and I've been compiling a list for our brief foodie tour. I'm thinking one day in SF and the other in the east bay to show off my new favorite local cafe. He runs a coffee place in the Philippines that uses a siphon system and loves a good cup, so I'm definitely taking him to Blue Bottle at Mint Plaza. He's also into new and interesting food ideas so I thought we'd do lots of snacky tasting during the day. Obviously we may not hit all the places below but thought I'd throw out all my ideas now. We only have time for two dinners, one in SF and one in the east bay so I just jotted down some ideas here based on how we're feeling (how full!) at the end of the day. Any advice on places to add or omit are very welcome. Thanks!
Philz (original location)
Ritual (or Four Barrel?)
Cole Coffee (Berkeley)
Boccalone (and other Ferry Building spots)
Miette (Hayes Valley)
Creme Brulee Cart
Bakesale Betties for fried chicken sandwich (Oakland)
Lush Gelato (Berkeley)
SPQR, Sozai, or Berretta
Dopo or Wood Tavern
I'm no expert, but I think the coffee at Cole is just so-so. Definitely more slanted toward darker roasts than most of the other places you mentioned. Local 123 is my favorite (maybe yours too, based on your original post?), so I'd keep that on your list for sure.
Depending on when your dad comes, the new Blue Bottle roastery and cafe may be open--it's near Jack London Square. I believe the owner's wife (the pastry chef from Miette) will be doing cakes and pastries and such, in house.
I can't stand the icy, bland gelato at Ici (not really a gelato at all, as far as I'm concerned), so it's hard for me to give an unbiased opinion, but I would definitely, definitely pass on that. Unless you think he likes waiting on line for muted flavors, served with an attitude.
Lush, on the other hand, makes some of the best gelatos and sorbettos I've had in my life. It's in Oakland, not Berkeley, by the way, on the same street as Dopo, if you decide to go with that dinner option.
If you want a third ice cream/gelato option, Bi-Rite Creamery (right down the street from Tartine Bakery) is a good pick--excellent salted caramel and roasted banana flavors.
For an additional snacky East Bay spot, I would go to Crixa Cakes for excellent Eastern European pastries and buns (great pies too, available by the slice).
Ici is worth a stop for their fantastic cones, and for their ice cream sandwiches, both of which are great. I don't like much at Miette, so I wouldn't waste stomach space there. In Berkeley you could also stop by the cheeseboard for some cheese, Cheeseboard pizza for a very Berkeley slice of pizza and Acme for bread (either in Berkeley or in the Ferry Building, the ham and cheese croissant thing is incredible as well). Dopo and Wood Tavern are both fantastic, so you can't go wrong with either, but Dopo is usually a little easier to get a table, since it's a bit bigger.
If you will be in the College Ave area for ice cream I would recommend stopping by Ici and Tara's Organic Ice Cream which is just a few blocks away. I prefer the texture and flavor of the ice cream at Tara's, but the cones at Ici are the best I've ever had.
My work computer won't let me add a place link for Tara's. Address: 3173 College Ave, Berkeley
As long as you're in the Mission, check out Four Barrel Coffee and Dynamo Donuts. Humphrey Slocum and Dynamo are both closed on Mondays.
Thanks everyone for your great advice! The trip was fantastic. A few lessons learned: Having Humphrey Slocombe's right next to BiRite makes BiRite look not-so-spectacular. IMO, Humphrey is not only more innovative, but also had a cleaner flavor. We had the McEvoy Olive Oil and Salt-N-Peppa flavors. Finally, Dopo totally hit it out of the park! What a perfect way to end our SF trip, with 3 courses of pork. The lardo and farm egg pizza was out of this world, as was their pork chop and salumi platters. We also ordered a vegetable platter just to mix it up but the pork was the star of the show!
I put some write ups here with pics if you're interested:
Thanks for reporting back. Glad you and your dad enjoyed Lush and Dopo--two of my favorite spots in Oakland, or anywhere really. If you like the salumi at Dopo, you should check out Adesso down the street--same owner(s), with a specific focus on salumi, pates, and such. Free appetizer spread from 5 to 7 (and also late night)...