Austin 'hound here visiting SF this weekend and so excited! I love Austin but as a native New Yorker, one of the things I miss most is the walking... and of course the eating... the eating while walking, or the walking, quick stop to eat, and then walking some more.
I have only been to SF once before on business and I didn't have a lot of free will as far as food, but this time I do and I'd like to do (and eat) as much as possible. My trip is Saturday through Tuesday - I plan to hit the Ferry Bldg Farmer's Market on either Saturday or Tuesday (if you have recs as to which one is best I would appreciate it).
I'd love to get some recommendations that would tie in pleasant or interesting walks with places to stop for a quick bite or food stop. I remember doing this for people all the time when they came to NY (whether they wanted it or not, my sightseeing instructions always included "... you'll be right near XXX so stop in to YYY and get a ZZZ"). So that's the kind of thing I'm wishing for. Thanks!
Walking the mission is nice. Don't get me wrong. Sunny day, mission dolores, lots of snacks and treats.
However, being from Austin, you should consider an ocean oriented route. Regrettably touristy, but you are a tourist. The general route I would follow is taking the Historic F over to the end of the line where pier 39 is. This is a tacky disneyland of a place, but there is an actual fishing fleet, and crabs sold curbside if you're ok with u-pick-em, and the musee mechanique, and the historic seaport. From that, you can walk up Columbus, and there are a few vestiges of the old north beach. A couple real coffee places Trieste, Greco - and XOXO, which is worth a stop. Curve up over to Coit Tower from there, then come back down to north beach. If you like books you should stop at City Lights, part of the SF beat history, and if it's time for an irish coffee you'd do worse than hitting Vesuvio, mostly for the atmosphere. Then, you should curve up into Chinatown. There's a lot of little bakeries and bbq duck hanging in windows and a couple of good dim sum places - search the board. Find the fortune cookie factory. Then wander up to Grace Cathedral and have a post-prandial at the Mark Hopkins, or drop down the other side to some of the good eats on Polk St, or Canteen. If still itching for some walkin, maybe I'd end up with Bahn Mi at the-place-that's-not-Lee's.
It's touristy, so the hidden gems are well hidden. There are walking tour books with variations on this itinerary, you can put your own together by asking about different neighborhoods and blocks. It's rather the old classic.
I always enjoyed walking the Richmond District in the City, but I lived there so... You can always catch the 38 Geary Bus and walk up and down Geary and the "side streets" and encounter any type of Asian cuisine you can think of (Pagan - Burmese, Five Happiness - Chinese) as well as many flavors of Eastern European (Moscow & Tbilisi Bakery Store - Piroshki, Gastronom), Irish (John Cambells), Cal-Morrocan (Aziza) and so on.
It is relatively flat, but it does NOT have the nicer weather of the Mission. Bring a coat. I call what I used to do there "Urban Hiking" which was basically walking long distances with a nosh or two in between.
re: Jeni Bean
I'd like to also add to the Richmond recs.
Good Luck Dim Sum - the best take-out dim sum in the neighborhood.
Genki Crepes - Small snack market that serves freshly made crepes. Grab some Japanese snacks while you're at it.
Blue Danube Coffee House or Martha & Brothers Coffee - good coffee houses just a block away from Genki
Moscow & Tbilisi Bakery Store - Great Piroshki's here (lots of Russion bakeries in the Richmond actually)
Turtle Tower - Chicken Pho (kinda prefer the tenderloin location though)
Then you can walk allllll the way to 34th and Clement (or take the 38 bus) and check out the Legion of Honor museum and views of the city.
Do Ferry Plaza first thing Saturday. It's much bigger than the Tuesday market. Official hours are 8am-2pm but things run out.
One day you should start at North Beach so you can get to Liguria before they run out.
1700 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133
re: Allison L.
That was the walking tour I did (adapted from locals' reccos) and it was Mexican-centric as we have virtually *no* good tacos etc in Vancouver. There are tons of other cool options in the Mission that could be handheld -- ice cream, coffee, doughnuts and other Latin snacks such as pupusas come to mind but a bit of reading around here will net other ideas I bet. I don't feel as though I've been to SF without a trip to the Mission :-).