JJL ate a little bit more on the way out.... :D
So after my dinner at Aziza, I figured I wouldn't be eating any more in SF as my colleagues and I were headed up to Occidental the next day and then flying out at the crack of dawn on Sunday. However, one colleague and I decided to go to get dimsum on Saturday around 11. Unfortunately, we didn't have a car or enough time to catch a cab all the way to Daly City, so I didn't get to go to Koi Palace. But a girl's dimsum cravings have got to be satisfied, so we just went to Yank Sing so that we could browse the Saturday farmer's market before. My original plan had been to get a Roli Roti or a Namu taco or chilaques at the Primavera stand (my decision depending on which one had the shortest line!), but the lines were, as I figured it would be at 11:30, horrendous and we were short on time. So we went to Yank Sing. We got the pork and shrimp soup dumplings to start - quite good, a nice thin skin and great (and very rich) flavor of the broth and meat inside. The skin at the top got a little chewy and dense and kept it from being a really great soup dumpling. I particularly liked opening the little dimple at the top and putting in a little spoonful of the red vinegar and ginger sauce to mix with the soup inside and then slapping it back. YUM! Then we got har gow, the shrimp dumplings - they were decent, but the shrimp filling inside was very rubbery and hard. The skin also broke when I tried to get them out of the basket. They were stuck VERY firmly to the basket. But they were fine. We also got turnip cake which was just okay. It was severely lacking in flavor from both the turnip and the pork. It just basically tasted like fried paste. Chinese broccoli was very good and retained good crunch and wasn't too greasy. The steamed lotus leaf sticky rice was delicious and had plenty of filling inside. The rice wasn't TOO sticky and the individual grains retained their form and texture and the filling was flavorful and, best of all, there was plenty of it! We also got the rice rolls with shrimp which were very good. My guilty order was the barbecue pork buns which I always have to get. They were actually very good. The bun itself was really excellent - soft, fluffy, not too bland as some of them can be. It was among one of the best bun textures I've ever had. (I had a barbecue pork bun from Out The Door the other day which wasn't bad, but nowhere near this). The barbecue pork filling inside was very good as well and there was enough filling. It is a pet peeve of mine to split open these buns and find a teeny teaspoon of filling inside - such a letdown! I was stuffed and my colleague and I ended up walking over the car rental place to pick up our cars to go to Occidental.
We drove up there and it was another gorgeous drive. Just another reminder to all you SF Hounds - appreciate what you've got, lucky ducks! :) On the way, I begged to make a stop at Wild Flour Bread (my colleagues are very kind to indulge my Hound-ish ways) and I tried a sample of their potato, scallion, and cheese fougasse (hummena hummena hummena - what texture, what flavor, what indulgence!) and we bought a sticky bun to share, thinking that it would, you know, be a sticky bun. What we got was a BEHEMOTH! It seemed to weigh a pound and it was the size of a baby loaf of bread. It was still warm and the outside was crisp and the inside was soft and steamy, oozing with cinnamon, nuts, raisins, and butter. It wasn't your typical cinnamon bun in that the bread itself retained a good chew and texture. The flavor was great from their amazing starter and the wood-fire oven really does create something special. And the smell of the whole area for the span of about a mile is just intoxicating! The wood-burning ovens called us from way down the road.
Needless to say, there was no dinner that night for me!
We drove back after our concert and got in quite late. I had to wake up at 4:45 for my flight, so I got all packed and ready and one of my colleagues who also had to be at the airport at that time picked me up. BUT - I asked to stop at Bob's Donuts on the way to the airport. We were staying in Pacific Heights and it was right on the way! :D I got a cruller, a buttermilk bar, and my favorite custard filled chocolate frosted bar. The cruller was just AMAZING. Eggy, more flavorful than ANY cruller I've ever had, yet it retained such a lovely, fried, crisp crunch on the outer layer. Definitely the best cruller I've had, EVER. The buttermilk bar was also incredible. It was just barely sweet (I got the unfrosted kind - come on, I have to show SOME restraint, hahahaha), the rich buttermilk flavor so prevalent through the soft, cakey, yet appropriately dense innards, and the signature fried, beautifully flavored yet greaseless crunch on the outside. That crunchy layer with the buttermilk flavor inside was an intoxicating combination. And then for the custard-filled, chocolate-frosted bar.... I had had it last time along with a yeasted round and an apple fritter. Oh it was EVEN BETTER than I had remembered. I had to catch myself and try not to make inappropriate noises in the airport terminal. My knees literally got weak and it was a transcendent experience. The filling was plenty and the chocolate frosting was good, but it was the dough of the donut itself that did it. I have never tasted such a perfect combination of texture and flavor. The yeast donut was so soft, so pillowy, so fluffy, so flavorful, yet when you bit into it, it didn't bunch up and get all clumpy and gummy. Then the crisp outside fried layer.... That thin layer of crunch was just perfectly crisp, yet somehow light and didn't seem greasy at all. And the flavor of that layer - just incredible! Thank goodness I don't live in SF. I would seriously be at Bob's every day. Okay, maybe every other day. The non-Bob's days would be at Tartine Bakery!
What a great way to end my trip. Now I will just dream of eating in SF until the next time. I may be back in August, so I can continue checking off the stops on my list and revisit my faves.
Thank you thank you again!!!
Koi Palace Restaurant
365 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015
600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110
49 Stevenson St Ste Stlv, San Francisco, CA 94105
439 Balboa Street, San Francisco, CA 94118
Bob's Donut & Pastry Shop
1621 Polk St, San Francisco, CA
, Hayward, CA
Wild Flour Bread
140 Bohemian Hwy, Freestone, CA
My favorite char siu bao is from Cafe Bakery - it's in the Outer Sunset, and not likely to be convenient to anyplace you'd be as a visitor, but it's fantastic. Really high filling to bun ratio, and a remarkably delicious filling with a distinctly wine-y note.
1365 Noriega St, San Francisco, CA 94122
I forgot to add that I also tried the Arizmendi Bakery Cherry-Corn Scone. WOW what a great scone! I love the added texture from the corn meal and the chewiness of the cherries. I do wish that the cherries weren't so sweet or wish that there was some lemon zest in there to give it a little pop to cut the sweetness and richness. There is a recipe that I downloaded, so I am definitely going to try making that when I go home. My favorite recipe for scones is like a traditional one so this could be a great addition to the repertoire.
I also tried the apricot, apple, hazelnut roll from La Boulange. It was okay. There was very little crunch on the outside. It was a little soggy. And the bread inside was quite lacking in flavor. There were not very many apricots and I totally missed the apple part of it. There were, however, ample hazelnuts at least. I do love that they have all those jams and nutella though....
I also tried the fromage blanc from Cowgirl Creamery. It was decadent and soooooo delicious. I haven't tried the one that others have talked about. Maybe from Bellwether? But this was so great slathered on toasted Tartine Bakery bread with some preserves on top.... The lady at the store asked me if I wanted a knife with mine and I sheepishly asked for a spoon. :D
600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110
80 4th St, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956
1331 9th Avenue, San Francisco, CA