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San Francisco Weekend Trip Report - long!

s
Silverwing May 28, 2010 10:23 PM

First off, thanks to all those from San Francisco who respond to the endless queries and to those who love the city and provide their trip reports. I had great fun browsing the forums for a few months in preparation for my weekend trip, and I was not disappointed.

La Taquiera: My friend and I arrived on Friday around noon, and after settling into the hotel, we immediately went off to explore in the Mission. After the plane trip, it was great to walk around and we had three main stops planned. La Taquiera was fresh, fun and cheap. We had the pork taco, beef burrito and beer. We grabbed an outdoor table and on a sunny afternoon, it was perfect! The beef was the highlight for us, tender, flavourful, juicy. I liked the atmosphere - casual, walk up counter, it was a busy spot.

Tartine Bakery: We continued on to Tartine Bakery to pick up treats for later. Not ideal, as the treats suffered during our continued walk. But we didn't have time during the weekend to make another trip to Mission and I had to try something. Tartine was packed. Great neighbourhood vibe. Loved the sidewalk patio. And quick service. Almost needed more time to decide. And I wanted one of everything! Settled on a croissant, almond pound cake loaf slice, scone and coconut cream tart. The last purchase fared the worst in the travels, as it bounced around in my bag. I arranged for a small fridge in the hotel room and it stayed there until after Wicked later that night and was still delectable, although messy. The croissant was still flaky the next morning and the pound cake and scone were not eaten until Monday morning - and were still delicious. Next time I would plan to go and actually eat something there to enjoy it at its peak!

Bi-Rite Creamery: Now the reason we didn't eat at Tartine was of course, our next stop - Bi-rite Creamery. Heavenly. Okay, I live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. We're a bit behind in most culinary delights. More than a bit. And beautiful, flavourful, interesting ice creams - not to my knowledge! I was the proverbial kid in a candy store lol! Ended up with a double bowl of salted caramel, toffee coffee and balsamic strawberry. Simply divine. If it were closer to the hotel, I would have been there every day! Also enjoyed perusing the Bi-Rite market across the street, wistfully imagining I was picking up fixings for supper myself! Needless to say, between La Taquiera and Bi-Rite, we were well satiated and ready to go to the theatre.

Ferry Market: On Saturday, we were up early and off to the Ferry Building Market. I think we spent about four or five hours here! Wandering both inside and out. Bought strawberries - oh my goodness, the smell! My friend had a tamale while I had planned on the porchetta sandwich. I enjoyed watching the making of it. Quite the production. I think I enjoyed the experience more than the sandwich!! It was good, I think I was just expecting great. I also picked up a number of things to take home (thus the fridge in the hotel room) - Cowgirl Creamery cheese, Recchiuti chocolate and Rancho Gordo beans. I think I might have amused the airline ticket agent with my 14 lbs of beans!

Wine Merchant: We must have been at the market for a while, because we decided to stop for a glass of wine inside at the Wine Merchant. We also shared a platter of olives, Cowgirl Creamery cheese, Boccalone salumi and Acme bread. This was fantastic. The cheese was creamy smooth and I was glad I bought some to take home, the bread crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, and the olives provided a great contrast. Fun and busy spot, great to see all the wine bottles, and an easy way to rest the feet and drink a little local wine before more walking!

Perbacco: With all the food we had at the Ferry Building, we didn't eat again until dinner - and what a dinner! We had reservations at Perbacco where we had a relaxing meal full of great flavours and exceptional service. Tricky decisions, as there was so much that was tempting. We started with the roasted gold and beet salad and the green asparagus salad. Fresh. Light. Simple flavours. A great start to our entrees, where we shared the tris pasta platter to have a tasting of three pastas. We had the langaroli al brasato (pasta filled with braised short ribs), agnolotti dal plin filled with roasted vitellone and savoy cabbage, and the tajarin, a handcut tagliatelle with 5 hour pork sugo. Divine. Who would think to fill pasta with cabbage? Each pasta was unique and had layers of flavour. We also each had a flight of wines, not paired to the meal, just an opportunity to try an interesting variety of wines. I can see why Perbacco gets such attention and next time, I'd be interested in trying Barbacco as well.

Canteen: Sunday - well, we ate way too much! But it was our last day! We started with breakfast at Canteen. Thank you grayelf! I adore this cozy, comfortable, stylish spot. Dinner here is definitely on my list next time - and I would eat breakfast here any time. We actually walked to Dottie's first as it was the closest but the line up was already out the door at 7:45 a.m. My friend walked three blocks up the hill, turned left and Canteen was just opening - texted me and I was on my way to join her. What a find! The blueberry french toast with sweet cream... oh my goodness. I come from Nova Scotia originally. Blueberry capital of the world. The blueberry sauce was nicely simmered, not too sweet and just full of natural flavour, a perfect complement to the french toast. The sweet cream just elevated it all to another level. Sigh. My friend had the strawberry pancakes and was equally pleased. We shared small bites - both of us reluctant to part with too much of our favourite dishes! Good strong coffee, plentiful refills, casual and attentive service. Great decor - stainless, blond wood, a few booths and about 6 counter stools. I will be back!!

Zuni: After much walking and touring, we went to Zuni for our 2 p.m. reservations. I wanted to have the chicken. I just couldn't. It would be too much. So I happily settled on sharing the caesar salad to start, having my own cheeseburger, and sharing fries - and margaritas. The salad was tangy with crunchy croutons. The rustic bread that came to the table put us at risk of not eating the burger! The burger was dense and meaty, great homemade pickles, and skinny shoestring fries. The margarita - wow. We had a great table at the window upstairs, so we could watch the neighbourhood traffic while enjoying the airiness of the open dining room. Rustic yet classy feel. Even bought the cookbook to take home!

Mochica: As you might imagine, we weren't hungry for quite some time. We probably didn't need to eat again. But it was our last night and we had to try something else on our list. Finally, at about 8:00 or so, we went to Mochica and we were so delighted! The service was great - neither of us had tried Peruvian food before, and really didn't know anything about any of the dishes. Because we weren't very hungry, we shared three appetizers, all recommended by the server, including the bolitas de yucca and chiccarrones. For dessert, my friend had quite the moment of pleasure with the shortbread type sandwich cookies filled with dulce de leche while I savoured the coconut flan. Coffee was a great accompianment. This was a small friendly and cozy restaurant where we felt welcomed. A wonderful find!

All in all, a great exploration of a variety of flavours. There is so much to sample in San Francisco - looking forward to the next trip, trying a few other spots and definitely returning to some as well. I am trying to upload some photos - haven't done this before so hoping it works!

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Zuni Cafe
1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Perbacco
230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

Tartine Bakery
600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Rancho Gordo
1924 Yajome St, Napa, CA 94559

Bi-Rite Creamery
3692 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Mochica
937 Harrison Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

Cowgirl Creamery
1 Ferry Building, San Francisco, CA 94111

Boccalone Factory - Not Open to Public
1924 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606

Recchiuti
1 Ferry Bldg # 30, San Francisco, CA

Barbacco
230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  1. grayelf May 28, 2010 11:27 PM

    The pictures worked, and they look good! I'm getting homesick (or whatever it is when you miss food) looking at the shots from Canteen. So glad you liked it. I take it you read one of my gushing rambles about it on this board -- my Denis Leary Chowcrush is just going to get worse as I understand he will have two new places for me to try on my next trip :-). I do hope you are able to try dinner at Canteen and report on your next visit -- I think you will be happy. You did some great Chowing for sure.

    1. raidar May 29, 2010 05:57 AM

      Wow. Fantastic. The trip sounds great. Thanks for the pictures and the post. I'll be going down in August, from Edmonton as well, so this is much appreciated.

      1. c
        ceekskat May 29, 2010 07:38 AM

        Thanks for the report, nice picks in such a short amount of time!

        "I think I enjoyed the experience more than the sandwich!! It was good, I think I was just expecting great." Been to the FB several times but finally had the opportunity to try Roli Roti's porchetta sandwich this past week & I agree with you 100%. I went with a friend who's a knowledgable cook & while she appreciated the cut/style of the meat (wants to know where one can buy in the Peninsula/or anywhere), she too agreed it was a good sandwich, just not great. Perhaps because it was a cold & wet day, we were both disappointed the bread wasn't served warm.

        -----
        Roli Roti
        , Hayward, CA

        1 Reply
        1. re: ceekskat
          i
          i4details Nov 30, 2010 03:23 AM

          I agree a thousand percent. With all the FB's luscjous offerings, it was the porchetta I waited 30 minutes for. It;s a gorgeous sandwich but lacks any kind of soul. I grew up on roast pork sandwiches on crusty bread with sauteed bitter greens, so my tastebuds were revved up for some lust. It was way too lean, pork loin, dry with very little flavor period, It doesn;t even seem possible, given the ingredients, it could fall so flat.

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