Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Day in San Francisco

I may have told you in one of my previous posts that my daughter Stephanie lives in San Francisco. She was born there, but grew up in Los Angeles. When she decided to move back after finishing college, it didn't come as a big surprise, since she always loved the city by the bay. And who wouldn't? On crisp and clear days the city is picture perfect like a postcard image. Pristine views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands, diverse little neighborhoods, a bustling financial center, and an exciting and revitalized arts district South of Market. Stephanie has always been passionate about food, and her love for cooking clearly shows in every delicious meal she prepares. Hopefully, she'll share some of her recipes with us in future posts.  On Saturday mornings she's a regular at the Ferry Building farmers market. She texted me earlier today and sent this picture of her outing.

Apparently, it was pouring, but for San Franciscans that's no excuse to stay home. The market was as busy as usual. I thought about myself, warm and comfortable, sitting in my cozy chair. As strange as it sounds, but here in Los Angeles people don't leave the house when it starts drizzling. On rainy days we only plan indoor activities. Cooking, baking, eating, blogging . . .  When we do go out in bad weather though, we seem to have forgotten how to drive and traffic turns into an absolute nightmare.  
I'm not quite sure how I got to this point in our conversation, but when I saw the picture of San Francisco, I remembered my last visit and the fantastic meal I had at Zuni Cafe on Market Street. I enjoyed their signature roast chicken with bread salad so much, that I recreated it in my own kitchen. As I started typing and searching for my picture files I came across so much interesting material that I want to share with you. I figured that maybe we won't do the chicken recipe today, but just take a stroll through one of  the most beautiful cities in the world.

Now, that's what a Saturday morning at the Ferry Building looks like on a beautiful day!

Vendors set up their stands loaded with locally grown fruits and vegetables alongside the historic building. Several years ago, the inside of the ferry building was transformed into a culinary marketplace that offers just about anything a food lover's heart could possibly desire. You'll find decadent chocolates (Recchiuti Confections), artisan dairy products (Cowgirl Creamery), exotic mushrooms (Far West Fungi), crusty loaves of bread and other baked goods (Acme Bread Company), micro roasted coffee (Blue Bottle Coffee Co), fresh oysters (Hog Island Oyster Company), organic preserves (Happy Girl Kitchen Company, gourmet cookware (Sur La Table), and so much more. Stop at one of the eateries for a bite, grab a table outside, and enjoy the views of the bay. 

Tofu and Chicken Patty with Hijiki Seaweed from Delica in the Ferry Building.

After spending the morning at the farmers market head out to the Outer Richmond District for lunch. 
You'll have plenty of choices as the streets are lined with Cantonese, Russian, Mexican, and Italian restaurants. A place not to be missed is the Shanghai Dumpling King. It's on Zagat's list of top "Hole-In-The Wall" eateries. Make sure to order the Lion's Head Meatballs, steamed Shanghai dumplings, and scallion pancakes. 

Spend the afternoon strolling through North Beach, San Francisco's Italian neighborhood. Stop at Molinari's Delicatessen on Columbus for fresh Italian sausages, dried cured salami, or Prosciutto. Try their Italian sandwiches, they're some of the best in town. 
Just down the street from Molinari's you'll find the Comstock Saloon. It's a San Francisco institution that has been in this location for more than 100 years. After touring the city all day, rest your tired feet and enjoy a classic Negroni or a Manhattan in a truly historic setting.

Return down to Market Street for dinner at the Zuni Cafe. The beautiful restaurant is warm and inviting, and their service is incredible. You won't regret ordering their wood fire-roasted chicken, but be prepared to wait for an hour. Enjoy the lovely atmosphere, start with appetizers, a bottle of wine from their excellent wine list, or share an entree as a first course until the the famed chicken dish arrives.

 Selection of East and West Coast Oysters

Hog Island Manila Clams 
Creamy Polenta with Parmigiano-Reggiano

End your memorable day in San Francisco with a nightcap at the Clock Bar in the St. Francis Hotel on Union Square.

I hope you enjoyed this post, even though it didn't include any recipes. You'll be seeing more travel tidbits, lots of pictures, and restaurant reviews in the near future.


  1. Hi there,
    Glad you liked the post about San Francisco. Hope you'll come back for more travel related stories.
    Checked out your blog and like the way you said that you have an infatuation for cooking, but deep love for baking. I feel the same way and have realized that my blog is slowly turning into a baking blog.
    Nonetheless, I'll be posting a Mediterranean inspired eggplant stack and couple of other savory recipes today. Come and check it out.