I feel like today’s post should probably be fitness related, since it’s been a while, but I’m going to go with the second part of my recap instead. Mostly because if I don’t get this down into a post, I’m just going to forget too many details to give you a good recap!
The first part of our west coast trip was to Portland, OR, which you can read about here. In short, I fell in love with Portland instantly, and although I was excited about San Francisco, I felt like I could have stayed there forever.
I will warn you ahead of time, I think I have far less food pictures from SF than I did from Portland — we were there with several friends and ate a lot of meals with them, so I spent a lot more time socializing and a lot less time photographing my food. I will say that we ate some of the best meals of my life here — so even with few pictures, I’ve been dying to tell you guys about these places.
We arrived in SF early on a Saturday morning, and after dropping our bags at our hotel downtown, we had one goal: breakfast. After a 4 am wakeup time to catch our flight, we were starving and felt like it was already mid-day, so honestly I probably could have eaten lunch at that point. We set off on foot, as always (we are vacation walk-aholics), and really just wandered for a bit before settling on a place to eat.
We ended up at a tiny hole-in-the-wall joint called Farm:Table, which seemed to be the only place fairly close to us that didn’t have an hour wait for breakfast/brunch (it was Memorial Day weekend, so the city was pretty busy!). The reviews we read were great, so we decided to give it a shot, and I am so glad we did. It is quite literally one of the tiniest restaurants I’ve ever seen, with the inside consisting of one communal table and the counter where you order. With a line out the door, we knew we wouldn’t get to sit at the table, but that’s ok because they have an outdoor counter that you can stand at, a couple of tiny outdoor tables, and a little parklet right outside with some funky benches, etc.
I stood outside to snag a spot at the counter, leaving Will to order. In true Will fashion, he decided to order one of just about everything, which meant we were served quite the feast for our first San Francisco meal. We each had an egg sandwich on a freshly baked croissant, and we shared the house made cereal as well as a delicious spinach frittata that was served with fresh fruit. Yes, it was A LOT of food. And yes, we ate it all. And YES, it was absolutely delicious. I kept meaning to go back there for the rest of the week to have that house made cereal again, but never made it. Maybe next time!
We spent most of the rest of that day wandering around town, checking out some of the “must-see” touristy spots, to check those off our list. We saw Lombard Ave, the iconic San Francisco “curviest” street, we visited the waterfront and spent some time with the Sea Lions on Pier 39, and wound our way back through China Town and Little Italy. After all that walking, it was time for a late afternoon lunch. We stopped at a little sandwich place/bar called Naked Lunch, and I had a Fried Green Tomato Sandwich. It was enormous, but after that giant breakfast I only ended up eating half. It was incredibly tasty, and don’t worry, the second half was taken home to eat later!
Here’s where I tell you about an amazing meal that I unfortunately have NO pictures of. We made reservations with our friends to go to Stone’s Throw for dinner that evening. As there were six of us, when we arrived we were informed that the chef’s tasting was available for parties of 6 or more– so of course, that’s what we did? Why order one entree when you can try so many different things?
And try different things we did! I’ve never had such an incredible chef’s tasting before — we ended up with an 8 course meal, all before a 3 course dessert. And that is not an exaggeration! We ate everything from duck liver pate (which I’m usually not a fan of but this was incredible), to a spring pea salad, to squid ink pasta and a bruschetta with bur rata cheese. I wish I had a list of everything we ate, because the details just won’t come back to me, but trust me when I tell you that everything was perfect.
When we were all starting to get stuffed, we were informed that we hadn’t even tried the entree selections yet — perfectly cooked salmon, duck, and steak. I can’t even do this meal justice in text, but please visit this restaurant if you live in or visit San Francisco. It was one of the most amazing meals that I’ve ever eaten, and the icing on the cake (besides our 3 perfect desserts), was when the chef came out to greet us when we were done, and he couldn’t have been more humble or friendly. Stone’s Throw, I officially love you!
On Sunday, definitely still stuffed from the night before, I actually got up to go for a run on the waterfront, which actually ended up being my fastest 5 mile run ever. I guess the secret is eating 11 courses of decadent food the night before a run? I’m not sure I’ll be testing that theory again though. :)
That day we headed out to Presidio Park for Off The Grid, San Francisco’s very own family friendly “Sunday Funday”. There were food trucks and carts galore, a bar, and tons of people just camped out and having fun for the day. Of course we had to try multiple food carts while we were there, but I ordered my food from La Marcha. I ended up with some amazing paella and patatas aoli, which were patatas fritas with a black truffle aoli. Holy yum, I could have eaten those all day.
Previous delicious food aside, there is one more meal that we ate in San Francisco that I just have been dying to tell you all about. The restaurant is called State Bird Provisions, and this was on Will’s “must do” list from the beginning. As the one who does all of the food research, I can always count on him to find something amazing in a brand new city, and this was no exception.
The deal with SBP though, is that it’s almost impossible to get a reservation, but they do reserve a specific portion of the restaurant for walk-ins. Or should I say, “wait-in-line-ins”. You see, we arrived at 3:50 to get in line, and the doors to the restaurant open at 5:30. Within minutes of us getting there, the line was down the block (we were the 3rd party in line. so we made good timing!). For the beginning of the line, you can choose to get sat right away, or put your name in to come back around 7 or 8 for your table. We chose to sit right away, although waiting until later would have been totally worth it as well.
The line for SBP at about 4:30 pm. My favorite part of this picture though is the man with the pups in the stroller!
The restaurant is American “dim sum” style, with servers and chef’s offering food as they go. Servers bring dishes around on carts, and because we were right at the chef’s counter (my favorite seat in any restaurant), the chef’s were offering us plates as they were plating them. You keep track of everything you’ve ordered on a sheet right in front of you, so although all of those small dishes add up, you know exactly how much you’re spending the entire time. We tried so many different dishes here, and this time I did get to snap a few photos. I wanted to really enjoy the whole experience of this different type of meal though, so I didn’t go crazy with the photos.
When all is said and done, I would easily say that SBP and Stone’s Throw are both on my top 10 meals eaten of all time. State Bird Provisions was a combination of incredible and interesting food and a different type of experience, which will help it to stand out in my memory for a long time to come. One thing is for sure, if I ever return to San Francisco, both of these will be on my list.
Since we were actually there for Will to be at a conference, I spent a good amount of time during the day just cruising around the city on my own. It gave me a lot of time to just walk and wander, which is one of my favorite things to do when traveling. I was able to visit many different neighborhoods, one of my favorite was Hayes Valley, which had a great vibe and adorable shops and restaurants. I was also able to wander over to see the Painted Ladies, Buena Vista Park (which had the most incredible views), the Mission, Nob Hill, and Haight-Ashbury.
We spent an amazing afternoon at Alcatraz — my #1 must see of the trip, and it didnt disappoint! We also took an afternoon to drive out to Muir Woods and see the Redwoods, which was a beautiful and relaxing excursion from the hustle and bustle of the city. That same afternoon, we took some time to visit Sausolito, and of course go back to view the Goldent Gate Bridge from the other side. It’s amazing how the view of a bridge can be so breathtaking!
And some other notable foods…
My breakfast and coffee almost every morning came from Blue Bottle Coffee. Holy yum! Maybe the best granola I’ve ever had. Be prepared to wait in line if you go here!
An acai bowl from a food truck called Bowl’d Acai. So good!
I have a really weird love for rice pudding, so when we found a place that served Fro-Yo and Rice Pudding as their specialty, I knew we had to go! This was Loving Cup, an adorable little dessert shop in Hayes Valley. (And yes, it was delicious)
When in Sausolito… seafood is a must! This delectable piece of salmon came from Fish, where we sat out on picnic tables right on the water. Just LOOK at that piece of salmon! Perfect!
Overall, San Francisco was wonderful, and although I can’t see myself ever living there, it was an extremely fun place to visit. Also worth noting is that I had two of the best meals of my life there, and I am positive that we only scratched the surface in terms of what San Francisco has to offer on the food scene.
**NOTE: Although it may not appear to be the case, we did a lot more on this vacation than eat, and each city has so many amazing things to offer. The thing is, this is not a travel blog, and although I’m going a little bit out of my realm to recap these trips, I figure you guys are pretty interested in the food. So please, know that we enjoyed the cities for all they had to offer — not just the food!