Travel and food are two of my passions. Put them together and what have you got? A very happy Greedy Guts, that’s what. San Francisco is a city that I have visited previously but that was years ago and I was a back-packer with limited funds. But I’m back and this time around things are different. I had time to plan (but regretfully I still missed getting reservations at some restaurants), I have allocated a decent budget for food, and I’m travelling with a willing accomplice (B) who will trek all over town with me to find some good eats. It’s a perfect storm.
Fresh off the plane, and the first thing we did was go in search of food. First stop was the Ferry Building Marketplace, which is home to local California food producers (think along the lines of Granville Island). It is a destination for food lovers and I could have quite happily spent a few hours there sampling the different cheeses, breads, and olive oils that are on display. After our early morning start, we made an urgent stop at Blue Bottle Coffee for some much needed caffeine. The line-up tells us that this was a good decision.
Blue Bottle was started in Oakland, California, and now has a number of locations in San Francisco and New York. This chain appears to be extremely popular so do expect to wait for your cup of java. I also visited the location at Mint Plaza, and if I lived in San Francisco, this is the place that I would adopt as my morning coffee house. They offer simple, but hearty menu items, such as poached eggs on wedges of toast, waffles, French toast, as well as baked goods. The Mint Plaza location was extremely cute and I’d recommend a stop in here, over the Ferry Building, if you are looking to linger.
When we came across Miette in the Ferry Building, I admit that I let out a (small) squeal. It was as if I had seen a celebrity!
I had heard about their cupcakes and gazed longingly at their tantalizing cookbook so I was pretty excited to have found one of their stores. Miette describes itself as a “dainty little pastry shop, inspired by the patisseries of Paris.” And it really IS a dainty little pastry shop. The store is decorated in pastel pinks and greens, packets of colourful candy line the shelves, and neatly frosted cupcakes and cakes sit behind glass cabinets awaiting a home.
I am a huge sucker for a/anything baked b/anything pretty or cute, so I am definitely their target market. I ordered one of their famous old-fashioned cupcakes, which is a chocolate cupcake topped with Italian meringue (my favourite!), and B ordered a chocolate ice-cream sandwich.
I am now regretting not getting more cupcakes! I absolutely loved the old-fashioned so I’ll be heading back for more before I leave. Miette is a must-visit for those who possess a sweet tooth.
Delfina, located in the Mission District, was recommended to me by a number of people and I felt it was worth the praise.
It is an extremely popular (try to reserve to avoid disappointment) Italian restaurant with a modern feel. The service was stellar, with lots of attentive drink topping up and plate-clearing. We started with the daily special of ribollita, which the waitress described as minestrone soup that had been boiled down and then thinly layered with bread until it resembled a pancake.
It was finished with a peppery, thick olive oil. I didn’t have a lot of expectation for this dish so I was pleasantly surprised with how much flavour it packed. Next, B and I both ordered pasta dishes. The hay & straw is basically Delfina’s version of carbonara.
The nettle tagliatelle is tossed at the table with guanciale (unsmoked Italian bacon), shaved pecorino, and egg yolk. B ordered the pork sugo pappardelle.
The ribbons of pappardelle were perfectly al dente and the pasta was lightly covered, but not drowning, in the sauce. Both dishes were fantastic. We were too full for dessert but what we did have we really enjoyed. I would definitely return to Delfina.
So far, so good with the food scene in San Francisco. We have our trip to Napa and The French Laundry booked for Saturday but until then we are off to explore what else San Francisco has to offer. The diet can start when I get home…