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New to San Francisco and the Mission:

Bicycling Towards Coffee and Crumbs, s1e1
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New to San Francisco and the Mission: Bicycling Towards Coffee and Crumbs, s1e1

Alicia Kong
Published almost 2 years ago

I just moved to San Francisco with my boyfriend and I’m :feeling hungry:

I already love my neighborhood, and I’m trying to get to know it. Being a newcomer feels strange because I lived in my hometown of Pittsburgh for most of my life. In Pittsburgh, I could tell you most anything – from where to buy the best loaf of bread (La Gourmandine) to where to enjoy the most delicious cup of Heart coffee (4121 MAIN, obvs!).

So what do you do in San Francisco when you don’t know anything, and are trying to figure out where you fit in, all by yourself?

1. Buy a bicycle from Pedal Revolution, a bike shop that trains local kids to restore old, beautiful bicycles. Isn’t that awesome? Please support them!

My dream bicycle. Because it has a basket. You can fit many pastries in this basket. Not that this is the main reason to have a basket or anything.

2. Take cover in a coffee shop. Any Coffee shop. Where you read a book even though you have a hard time reading at coffee shops. Where you savor a doughnut as though every crumb is important.

Where I Savored Coffee and Crumbs

Craftsman and Wolves 

My good friend recommended C&W for the saffron cake and "the Rebel Within." Do you remember those egg biscuits that took Pinterest by storm awhile ago? Well, I think they may have been popularized by the egg biscuits at C&W, aka the Rebel Within! My favorite part of the Rebel is the thimble of Tabasco salt that accompanies it. I wasn’t sure what this thimble was – at first I thought it was some sort of drug. I wasn’t entirely wrong.

The Rebel Within, kind of like drugs


This may be my favorite coffee shop of all. The cappuccino touched my heart and they have blondies, which I love. They don’t have wifi – I’ve learned that this is a San Francisco thing – where it’s necessary to suggest that there’s more to life than staring into a screen. The absence of wifi gives you license to reflect in your journal or interact with other people.

(Okay, I confess that instead of journaling or socializing, I hunched over my phone and posted a picture of my dog on Instagram and waited for people to “like” it. But that’s just me. I believe in you.)

This sculptural text/image piece by Audra Elizabeth Knutson graces the walls at Ritual: "The shadows glazed slight green, slight air, slight light, slight everything."


There comes a time in the life of every doe-eyed debutante when she must pose with a bicycle and a fresh loaf of bread hanging from its basket. While I’m equipped with the bicycle and the basket, I seem to be small-eyed and 31. Plus Tartine sells their famous country loaf at 4:30PM, and I was there too early. I must accept this.

<3 <3 <3 Banana Cream Tart <3 <3 <3

…But the truth is easier to digest with a banana cream tart and a cappuccino. Plus I met a lady named Joanne, who shared a table with me. It’s a bustling place, so table-sharing happens naturally here. Joanne had just a salad, which she ate straight from the box. One day I’d like to be so elegant. 

The Jelly Donut 

I'm in love with the name, "The Jelly Donut." Also, can you believe that I’d never had an old fashioned doughnut before the JD? It’s true. I got a glazed one – next time, I’ll try the chocolate. I went into a childlike sugar delirium. They have diner-style coffee, so please look elsewhere if you’re looking for a single-origin pourover -- but if you’re looking for the perfect sugar and caffeine speedball, then this is the place for you. I feel like a person could meet a detective at this place. “Meet me at the Jelly Donut when the clock strikes 5:30AM” (which is when they open!)

Missing from Photo: several doughnut holes that I couldn't resist scarfing down on the way back home. The perfect meal for me = a donut with a side dish of holes. 


They were playing pretty music – soft reverb and harmonies. And the barista looked so cool with her bleached hair and head-to-toe vintage, chatting with a customer about just returning from tour. I momentarily consider stealing her look and maybe I should start a band too and… oh wait, the coffee. The coffee is French pressed and so good that you can drink it black.

tip: they might let you sit on the patio with your dog. And they have wifi (which I hate to admit to wanting sometimes). Unfortunately this weird selfie is the only thing that I have to document my Haus experience. haha!


Oh God, I love Arizmendi. Coffee and special pizza? Yes! Worker-owned cooperative? Yes! Day-old pizza that costs ~ 10 bucks? I’m so moved. They even post the pizza-baking schedule on their website. Arizmendi’s perfection inspires me to become a better person.

Would a better person leave a banana peel like this? Probably not. As you can tell, I was too busy consuming day-old glorious pizza and forgot to snap a pic as a result -- so I thought I might distract you with this banana peel. 

About the Author

Alicia Kong

PIT --> SFO --> I live in the Mission. My soulmates are Tamar Adler, MFK Fisher, Haruki Murakami, Marie Kondo, and most any pastry. I talk about tacos when I don't know what else to talk about.