Just got back from a great week in San Francisco. I managed to cover a decent amount of ground. here's the rundown
-first place I hit was Ritual Roasters for a much needed caffiene boost after the flight. Tasty espresso and laid back feel (lots of macbooks around)
-dinner at San Tung: the two standouts were the fried chicken and the fried fish. If I lived there, I would crave those often. The rest of the stuff we got was ok but not great (eggplant, jian ja mun, etc.)
-had a couple breakfasts at Tartine. this place makes great pastries. my favorite was the morning bun (like a cinnamon roll with orange) but the pain au chocolat was pretty great too.
-Stopped by Larkin Express Deli (love that they call it a ny deli/burmese cafe) for a snack. Had the tea leaf salad which I hadn't tried before. I'm not sure if I would order it again although it was definitely a new taste experience for me. next time, I'll get the pastrami on rye with tea leaf.
-Grabbed an egg custard from Golden Gate Bakery. This is hands down the best egg custard I've had (NYC Flushing chinatown included) I hadn't really eaten lunch yet so I planned to have a small bite while it was warm and save the rest for after lunch. That didn't happen. Ended up eating the whole thing in about 3 seconds. willpower is for suckers.
-Lunch at Tadich Grill. I read mixed reviews on this place but I sat at the bar, had a cioppino with great sourdough bread and had one of those real veteran professional waiters. It was a little expensive but I thought the food, the ambiance, and the service made it a unique san francisco experience.
-Dinner in berkeley at Cesar. really nice tapas...mountain of fried potatoes with aioli, fried pimentos, lamb chops with quince, gazpacho, and the trout bocadillo with some sort of jambon (the best thing of the night)
-beer at Jupiter...had one beer (I think the IPA) and it was nothing to write home about.
-slice of pesto, potato, and roasted garlic pizza at Arizmendi. Great fresh toppings (nice to get a pesto slice where the pesto is bright green and fresh tasting)
-dinner at Burma Superstar. I really liked this place. found it funny that they have all these food network blurbs on the menu...we had the samusa soup, the rainbow salad for which the server took great pride in listing all 20-something ingredients, some kind of shrimp with pumpkin, chicken rice casserole, and a spicy lamb with chilies.
-beers at Toronado+Sausage at Rosamunde. If I lived in SF, I'd go to this nexus as often as possible. tried some Russian River beers for the first time and had a special Bistro sausage with wine and herbs de provence which was delicious.
-Swan Oyster Depot for lunch. I loved the vibe of this place. countermen and patrons very friendly and everyone seemed to be in a great mood eating there. They oysters were good but not as good as the ones I'd try the next day at the Hog Island stand at the ferry building. crab louis was new-tasting to me but the crab wasn't as fresh as I would expect for those prices. Still, a fun tourist experience for me (nothing beats beer and oysters at 11:30 am)
-Ferry Market: sweet mother of Alice! I couldn't believe how big this market was. I waited for about 25 minutes for that blue bottle coffee around 9:45. I waited so long I decided to get an espresso and a cappucino.
I also got the chanterelle scramble from Rose Pistola. This was ok but they were so slammed that the eggs really weren't "soft cooked" and lacked enough salt. For $8 I felt a little ripped off. I should've gone to Prather for pancakes. I smuggled back some chanterelles from Far West Fungii and just now made myself a nice pasta with wild mushrooms. I had a couple oysters from Hog Island which were the best oysters I've ever tasted in my life served to me by two friendly oyster shuckers. I tried the levain from Acme and enjoyed the Andante triple cream cheese on a beautiful day on Pescadero beach. speaking of which...my friend brought me to the taco stand in the gas station in pescadero and those fish tacos were delicious.
Next day, I went crabbing by fort baker with some friends and we cooked up some fresh crab for lunch. This was followed by ice cream at the Bi-Rite Creamery and the Folsom Street Fair (wow...half of the stuff I saw didn't appear to be legal) but I was far too full of crab, beer, and ice cream to fit into my assless chaps.
Second to last day I went on a tour of the Anchor Brewery which was great and I got a taste of 6 beers (only 2 of which were new to me: the Small Beer and the Summer Beer). Followed that with some tacos at Papalotes and an ice cream from Bombay Creamery (saffron pistachio and rose cardamom). Also hit La Palma Mexicatessen on recs from the chowhound book for the fresh fried potato chips, tortillas, and some tamales. Those chips were the best airplane snack I've ever had.
Finally, after walking by this place the whole week, I went to Pizzeria Delfina for lunch. We had two delicious appetizers: sardines in saor (some kind of picklend onion, currants, and orange) and the mozzarella en carozza (fried mozzarella on skewers with some kind of anchovy oil to dip into) The special speck and escarole pizza was tasty but the starters were the highlight for me.
And I couldn't leave for the airport from 24th and Mission without grabbing a carne asada super burrito for the plane. I don't care if they had a Hep-A outbreak (as my friend told me), these burritos are amazing. Better than anything you can get in NYC.
Thanks for all the great tips and look forward to returning to try new treasures in your beautiful city!