Boston natives - spent 4 days in San Francisco with my 14 year old son last week. Here's our take:
Ferry Building Marketplace - Boccalone -- great muffelata and lonza with provolone. Now this is what a farmers market should look like. Farmers markets in the Boston area pale by comparision.
Buon Gusto - very good food with great service (close to hotel - fighting jet lag). Felt like old school Italian. Son had mixed seafood over pasta. Excellent array of seafood: salmon, white fish (cod?), clams, mussels & prawns in a light red sauce. I had prawns with peas and mushrooms over pasta in a somewaht different red sauce. It was oustanding.
Eritrean/Irish food truck located in food truck park - Bangers and chips with curry sauce for son. High quality beef sausage was above average and curry had nice flavors. Mixed vegetables and chicken over enjera with a spicy sauce for me (can't recall name of truck or dish). Very good. reminded me of Ethiopian place I frequent back home. Very complex flavors and a bargain at less than $10.
Mission Bowling Club - took fellow chowhounders advice on this place, and glad we did. Oustanding chicken skewer and burger was everything it was cracked up to be. We happen to hit it during happy hour and paid $10, instead of $15 for burger...such a deal.
Bi-Rite - had to try ice cream after the salted caramel was named best ice cream in America by GQ food svengali Alan Richman. We waited in line about 25 minutes. We both agreed -- at the expense of upsetting some fans -- that the ice cream is overated. Are we the only folks that feel this way?
Swan Oyster Depot -- Waited in line for close to an hour. We get it! Food lived up to the hype. 3 shrimp cocktails, two bowls of chowder, 1/2 dozen oysters...wow, delicious. This coming from a Bostonian that is no stranger to outstanding seafood. Go figure, had to fly all the way to San Francisco to get the best New England clam chowder we ever tasted.
Sadly, we had to leave before eating Mexican in the Misssion District and Chinese in Chinatown. San Francisco = Great Eats!
Thank you for the report! It's a great help to fellow travelers.
On the Bi-Rite being overrated - I think it depends on the context. If it was your neighborhood, ice cream shop I really do think it can be mindblowing in terms of the creativity of the flavors offered - and the experience. Wandering by, trying an exciting balsamic strawberry flavor, and then taking it to the park - it felt like a neighborhood secret and was a great experience in good weather. Especially when it first opened - there just weren't a lot of places offering the type of creative flavors.
Now that it's a guide book/cultural destination. It's hard to say whether it's worth going out of ones way, trying to find parking, waiting in line etc. I think most places, in the end, are not worth that type of effort. The hype and effort almost ruins what was special about it.
I love Bi-Rite's ice cream and I live in the neighborhood, but I really don't think it's worth waiting in line for 25 minutes. After standing in line for half an hour, I would probably think any ice cream was overrated. Sometimes I want to yell out as I'm biking down 18th and see the line extending around the corner--PEOPLE, IT'S JUST ICE CREAM! I also can't quite remember exactly when it got so popular. It seems like 2-3 years ago I could just walk over on a whim anytime.
So no hard feelings, lel, and glad that the rest of your trip went well.