San Fran Food
I'm an Australian food blogger (http://www.brisbanefoodadventures.blo...) visiting San Francisco in September 2011 for a weekend.
I really want to experience what food San Fran has to offer. So what makes San Francisco food different to anywhere else? What is the signature food? Where should I eat to try the real taste of San Fran?
Also where is the best sourdough in San Fran?
Hope to hear some interesting suggestions from locals
Brisbane Food Adventures
Besides crab, I'd say that produce is the Bay Area's signature food...thus you should visit a farmers market. You can get outstanding produce year round and good produce is a cornerstone to California cuisine.
Alemany Farmers Market was one of the first in the U.S., if not the first. I'd visit Ferry Plaza Farmers market, Alemany and maybe take a trip to Berkeley Bowl or Salinas (Steinbeck country).
2020 Oregon St, Berkeley, CA 94703
If you go to Berkeley, the Tuesday and Saturday farmers markets have the best produce in the area and are not distorted by the large numbers of tourists at Ferry Plaza.
The Saturday Ferry Plaza market is nevertheless worth a visit as it's the only place you'll find some top producers such as Tierra Vegetables, Knoll Farms, and Andante Dairy. The Ferry Plaza itself is fun at any time, but the best time to go is Saturday morning.
The other two markets for top quality produce are Thursday and Sunday at the San Rafael Civic Center.
I'd say Dungeness Crab is the signature food, which unfortunately will be out of season when you are here... you will be able to find it frozen, but it is sadly not the same.
I think there are many different dining "scenes" here:
- Fine Dining (Coi, Aquerello, any place over $100 per person etc..)
- Trendy CA food (Nopa, Foreign Cinema, Canteen, Bar Crudo)
- Trendy CA Fusion food (Aziza, Slanted Door, Namu, Dosa, Nopalito, Delfina, SPQR)
- Cheap Eats/Street Food (Mission Burritos, Off the Grid, Rosamunde)
- Ethnic (there are endless examples of authentic restaurants)
- Old School SF Foods ( like Cioppino, Sourdough, Sand Dabs) & Restaurants (Tadich Grill, Sam's, Swan Oyster Depot, Scomas)
-Bakeries/Dessert (Tartine, Humphry Slocombe)
It is all of these scenes combined that make SF such a great food place. You only have one weekend, so you will barely get to scratch the surface... I think you really need to pick one or two areas that you will want your blog to focus on... Then we can help better guide you from there.
I will also note that many people here believe that we have the best bread in the world (better than Paris) and we are not necessarily talking about sourdough.
San Francisco is very good at medium-medium high priced places. Cotogna, SPQR, Bar Crudo, Barbacco, many, many more, are examples. Sausalito has its charm. It would be a shame if you didn't take the ferry there. Failing to pack a picnic basket (food/wine/beer from the Farmers' Market/Ferry Plaza) and climbing Mt. Livermore on Angel Island would be a mistake. Failing to take the J-Church line from downtown to Incanto in Noe Valley would be an even bigger mistake.
You'll be back.
655 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117
1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115
230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111
490 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133
local specialties worth seeking out:
famous dishes of local origin:
Green Goddess dressing
warm goat cheese salad
Martini cocktail (debatable)
often misidentified as of local origin:
bad local specialties to avoid:
soup in sourdough bread bowl
Mitchell's ice cream
Bud's ice cream
Joe's ice cream
re: Robert Lauriston
It's It was a fine artisanal product at Playland from the 40s to the 60s, then was again when it was revived in the 70s. Quality went downhill when it moved to factory production in the 80s, then went downhill again when they moved to a bigger factory in the 90s. Given the spectacular artisanal ice cream treats around these days, I see no reason to consume that pale imitation of an extinct SF classic.
Ice Cream Ingredients: Cream, Milk, Skim Milk, Sugar, Corn Syrup, Coffee, Guar Gum, Mono and Diglycerides, Polysorbate 80, Carageenan
Cookie Ingredients: Enriched Flour, Brown Sugar, Palm Oil, Oats, Raisins, Whey, Ammonium Bicarbonate, Baking Powder, Salt, Cinnamon
Coating Ingredients: Coconut Oil, Sugar, Cocoa Whey, Soy Lecithin, Vanilla
re: Robert Lauriston
+1 on the BBQ oysters
some of my favs:
Do drive up to Marshall on tomales bay and get some oysters at the marshall general store or the tomales bay oyster co. Bring your own wine and sit outside=awesome!
Do have margaritas at Tommy's (and late night huevos rancheros if you have been out having a few pops).
Do get a taco at one of the tacquerias (I will let the locals choose).
Do have a bloody mary and a dungeness crab cocktail at the bar in the tadich grill during "off" hours.
Do go to the Alembic for drinks and some nice food.
Sourdough at Tadich Grill.
Cioppino, Sotto Mare, Tadichn, Scoma's are a few favorites.
Fortunately none of those are controversial so a choice will be easy. ;-)
Everything else Wolfe said is accurate.
What makes us different has been the subject of many debates which are searchable on this and other forums. There is a reason we are a known foodie city, not the least of which is year-round availability of exceptional ingredients, innovative chefs, and a die-hard clientele who won't put up with much in the way of mediocrity or many chain restaurants.
And when you blog about us, please do not use the abbreviation "San Fran" -- it is incorrect and we hate it...