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San Francisco – continued

11 Mar

I was so keen to visit Flour + Water that I made us arrive at the restaurant more than an hour before opening time. B was none too impressed but I didn’t want to miss out on the limited walk-in seating that was available (he later admitted that the meal was worth the wait). And that is how I found myself at the front of the line when the doors opened on Friday night.

Flour + Water is located in the Mission District (as it seems most good restaurants in San Francisco are) and they specialize in hand-made pasta and wood-fired pizza. We opted for the 7 course tasting menu for $60 each. Spoiler alert: everything we ate was absolutely outstanding so no running commentary is required.

1st Course: Citrus cured opah with fennel, avocado and radish.

2nd Course: Porcini and ricotta tortelli with pinenuts and sage.

3rd Course: Parsnip caramelle with salsify, preserved lemon and thyme.

4th Course: Saffron chitarra with clams, asparagus and capers.

5th Course: Radiatore with braised hen, prosciutto, arugula and meyer lemon.

6th Course: Garganelli with lamb sugo, broccolini and olive

7th Course: Citrus bonet with vin santo and brown sugar crumble.

I cannot rave about Flour + Water enough. It was easily the best meal that we had in San Francisco and I’d recommend a visit there over Delfina, even though Delfina was fantastic. I absolutely recommend booking well in advance, unless you want to line up and risk missing out. When we were there they were booked out at least a week in advance. The great thing is that they split half of their room for reservations and half for walk-ins so you could be lucky like we were.

In my last post I talked about the Ferry Building and how wonderful it was. Well, it got even better! We went there on Saturday morning for the larger farmer market and I could not believe how exceptional the food was. Surrounding the outside of the building were local farmer and food purveyor stalls that were over-flowing with fresh produce, or artisanal items such as meats and breads.

We got another Blue Bottle coffee and strolled around, trying to make the hard decision of what we would eat for breakfast. We finally settled on a breakfast burger from 4505 Meats. It was an absolute pleasure to wake up to great coffee, a delicious breakfast burger, and the buzz of happy people enjoying food.

Over-whelmed with so many choices, I ending up spending a small fortune on supplies for our journey to Napa Valley. Cheese from Cowgirl Creamery, bread from Acme Breads, and salami and jerky from Fatted Calf Charcuterie, all found their way into my basket (and later, my stomach).

Wow! How can one area have so many purveyors of fine foods? It hardly seems fair! If I’m being completely honest, the Ferry Building Farmers Market puts Granville Island to shame (except for Oyama and a few other exceptions). If you are in San Francisco on a Saturday, make sure that you make the Ferry Building Marketplace a stop for breakfast and supplies. You won’t regret it.

Flour + Water on Urbanspoon


San Francisco

9 Mar

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…

Delfina on Urbanspoon

Blue Bottle Cafe on Urbanspoon

Miette Cakes on Urbanspoon