Sunday, September 20, 2009

Grazing San Francisco

I may never want to eat again. At least that’s how I feel after a two and a half day whirlwind eating tour of San Francisco. So much to eat and so little time…

First stop: the Hayes Valley location of Miette with its rainbow of old-fashioned candy. If entering this confiserie doesn’t put a smile on your face, then absolutely nothing will. It is most certainly the place where the saying “like a kid in a candy store” originated. I got a single chocolate macaron.

I had to pace myself.

Next destination: the Citizen Cake Patisserie. (Actually, we popped into Paulette and Christopher Elbow on the way, but still mindful of the importance of pacing, I ate only with my eyes. Well, except for a tiny sample of raspberry pâte de fruit, but that doesn’t count does it?) Hubby ordered the After Midnight chocolate mousse cakelette, and I had the Retro Tropical Shag, which was composed of génoise, passion fruit mousse, vanilla buttercream, and coconut.

Mine was light as a cloud, and I would’ve happily floated away with it forever. I wish I had ordered a second.

Breakfast the next morning, and again the morning after that (yes, it was that good): Tartine with my Twitter pal and fellow food blogger Janice. Hubby and I decided to share. We started with a colossal gougère nearly as big as my head.

We moved on to an equally humongous ham and cheese croissant.

And we took a lemon tartelette to go, just to make sure we didn’t go hungry later.

As we were finishing up, they brought out the morning buns. Both Hubby and Janice got back in line for those, and we started all over again.

This must’ve been the moment that any pacing went out the window. The morning buns, by the way, were flavored with a hint of orange instead of the usual cinnamon. Meeting an internet buddy to share a meal in real life was a thrill!

Next stop: the San Francisco Baking Institute, just because I wanted to check it out. They gave us a brief tour and a baguette and several raspberry muffins. I hadn’t planned on eating at this particular stop, but what can I say? I had to have at least one little taste of a muffin, so I took a bite and then accidentally ate the whole thing. The baguette was probably the best I’ve ever had in my life, with a shatteringly crisp crust and complex, creamy crumb.

And then: Patisserie Philippe. If only I had been more hungry. I had one passion fruit macaron.

I’m a chocoholic for sure, but—dare I say it—I enjoyed this macaron better than the chocolate one. I suppose it was the heat (it was intensely sunny and hot while we were in San Francisco) that made me crave the tropical fruit flavors.

Followed by: dim sum and bubble tea on Clement Street, with shopping at Cookin’ (339 Divisadero Street, 415-861-1854) and Kamei (525-547 Clement Street, 415-666-3699) before and CB2 after. It always amazes me how cheap dim sum is—we had delicious potstickers, shrimp and garlic chive dumplings, pork shu mai, and sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaves all for just $6. But I never did find the green onion pancakes I love so much.

Time for dinner: Tanpopo (1740 Buchanan Street, 415-346-7132) in Japantown. Hubby had the very spicy Karamiso Ramen. I had the Wonton Ramen, which was served with a soy sauce flavored broth.

The only Japanese food we have out is sushi, and believe it or not, I’d only had the instant kind of ramen before. So this was a real treat. I definitely want to learn more about Japanese cuisine now.

After our second breakfast at Tartine: cooling refreshment at Tuttimelon. An unplanned stop, but the very long, hot walk to Chinatown got to us. As you may have noticed by now, passion fruit was the recurring theme of my San Francisco trip, and it made its third and final appearance in my cup of frozen yogurt. Hubby had some sort of bubble tea and then decided to help himself to my froyo. We nearly had a scene. These sweet treats sustained us as we braved the Chinatown crowds for more shopping and a stop at Red Blossom Tea Company, where I replenished my oolong supplies.

Next up: Caffè Greco in North Beach. It’s the hubby’s favorite spot for chocolate gelato and coffee. I usually have their tiramisu, but this time I abstained.

Another long, very hot walk (during which we spotted a flock of San Francisco’s wild parrots!) to the foodie wonderland known as the Ferry Building for some browsing and lunch (at least I think it was lunch, but to be honest, I’d lost track of my meals by that point): carnitas and fish tacos at Mijita as we watched the ferries and sailboats float across the bay.

Then a short, air-conditioned walk to the opposite end of the Ferry Building: Miette, take two.

And I wasn’t having just one measly macaron this time!

I would’ve ordered a chocolate cupcake.

But I'd had theirs before and wanted to try something new.
Their lime meringue tartelettes almost looked too pretty to eat.

Almost…Though I’m still trying to figure out how they make that perfect swirl in the meringue…Anyway, I settled on the raspberry mousse cake, which was moist, tender, delicate—in a word, dreamy.

If only I could’ve gone back a third time…

And our last meal in San Francisco: back to Tanpopo for dinner, since it was right across the street from our hotel, and we were exhausted from hoofing it through the city in the heat. This time we ordered the Ankake Ramen and the Yakisoba. Another tasty, satisfying meal. I really wish I had a noodle joint like this in my own neighborhood.

We hit the road bright and early the next morning, and breakfast consisted of some goodies that we had picked up at Acme Bread Company while we were at the Ferry Building. For lunch, we stopped at an In-N-Out Burger—the only fitting way to finish off a fantastic California road trip.

So much good food and so little time…just thinking about it has made me hungry all over again.


veron said...

I almost went the same route as you. I went to Miette Hayes Valley, then citizen cake. I love Tartine's ham and cheese croissant - so perfect! Glad to see you had a fantastic time. And I know how you feel, never wanting to eat again, but believe me that feeling won't last. :)

avaserfi said...

Everything looks like a blast! I need a trip like that...

Kamran Siddiqi said...

You photos are super awesome! I really need a trip like that. Maybe when I get older and have a job...

Hungry Dog said...

What a great, whirlwind trip! You hit many of my favorite places here in SF. Great photos too!

Tara said...

I live only about 1 hour from SF, and I haven't tried most of these places. I should take a trip there and try them out.

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