The last destination on my road trip that started in Seattle was San Francisco. Known for its rolling hills, foggy weather, unique architecture, the Golden Gate Bridge, the former Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Chinatown, San Francisco definitely has a lot to offer for both locals and travelers. My trip consisted of a lot of exploration by foot and spontaneous foodie finds. Here are the most memorable culinary experiences from the city.
Located across the road from Ocean Beach, Beach Chalet is an ideal place to enjoy craft beer with the view. All of the brewery’s beers are handcrafted on site with the highest quality ingredients by Master Brewer Aron Deorsey. My beer choice was their Raspberry Wheat Ale.
The brewery’s menu features a great selection of seafood dishes, along with other San Francisco favorites.
Pacific Chowder – sourdough bowl, Manila clams, smoked bacon, and oyster crackers. The chowder is also served in a cup instead of the sourdough bowl.
Beach Burger – grass fed beef, lettuce, tomato, pickled onion, garlic aïoli, and fries. Bacon, jack, swiss, cheddar, Pt Reyes blue cheese, sautéed mushrooms or avocado also can be added to the burger.
Established in 1849 by Isidore Boudin, son of a family of master bakers from Burgundy, France, Boudin Bakery is the place to taste famous trademarked bread, “The Original San Francisco Sourdough”. The ownership of the bakery has changed several times since then, but the bread is still made by using original methods of blending the sourdough starter which was prevalent among miners in the California Gold Rush era with French techniques. With multiple locations in San Francisco and throughout California Boudin Bakery has definitely become one of the most popular tourist attraction in San Francisco. The bakery’s flagship location on Fisherman’s Wharf near San Francisco Bay is home to the Bakery Museum, where you can learn about evolution of Boudin and history of San Francisco and the influences of different cultures on its cuisine in the past 200 years. Watch Boudin bakers in action, creating legendary sourdough bread. If you feel adventurous and would like to roll up your sleeves, enroll in the bakery’s “Roll with the Baker” program. The program includes an all-access bakery tour and one to one experience with a baker who will teach you how to roll bread. Along with the museum, the flagship location features Bakery&Cafe in Baker’s Hall, the marketplace where you can purchase gourmet gifts, and full-service restaurant, Bistro Boudin.
Bistro Boudin’s menu offers an excellent variety of fresh seafood, farm-raised meats, and vegetarian dishes. Enjoy your dinner with the beautiful bay views with a glass of fine California wine. For a raw seafood experience grab a seat at Bistro Boudin’s “OTR” aka Oyster Bar, which is not limited to only serving oysters. Ceviche, Dungeness crab, and other exceptional seafood items are also available at the bar.
Dungeness Crab Cake – crab cake, roasted corn salad, and whole grain mustard aioli; Red Wine Braised Beef Stew – slow braised beef short-rib topped with dijon mustard with glazed carrots, pearl onions, and creamy garlic mashed potatoes; and a glass of cabernet sauvignon to compliment the stew.
Boudin Sourdough Bread Bowl – choice of traditional clam chowder or crab & corn bisque.
The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company was founded by and an Italian chocolatier Domenico Ghirardelli, a son of an exotic foods importer from Rapallo, Italy. Ghiradelli who was introduced to a process of chocolate and candy making at an early age – working as an apprentice in confectionery store – moved to South America to continue to work in the industry in his 20s. After hearing about the Gold Rush boom in California, he decided to sail to the USA where he opened a general store In Stockton, California. In 1849, Ghiradelli opened his first store in San Francisco; and in 1852 he opened his second store in the city selling confections, Ghirardely&Girads; and finally in 1893 the company moved to a larger facility at the Ghirardelli Square, to its current location. In 1998, the ownership of the company moved from the Ghiradelli family to the Swiss confectioner Lindt & Sprungli. Methods of chocolate making developed by Ghiradelli continue to live on under the new ownership
For an authentic Ghirardelli experience, visit the Original Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop, where you can view chocolate manufacturing process, enjoy their World Famous Fudge Sunday and other desserts, and sample and purchase premium chocolates.
World Famous Fudge Sunday – vanilla ice-cream, handmade hot fudge, whipped cream, chopped almonds, and a cherry.
Ghiradelli Chocolate Shop.
Located in the heart of Chinatown, Far East Café is one of the oldest cafes in Chinatown. Established in 1920, the cafe has an ambiance of its own. The palatial chandeliers, painted murals on the walls, carved screens, emperor’s throne, and other antique items make up the decor of Far East Café. The cafe’s menu features both classic and modern Chinese dishes, and their alcohol menu offers mostly California wines, local and imported beers, sake, and cocktails. The following dishes from their dim sum menu caught my eye.
Pan Fried Potstickers.
Shrimp, pork, and vegetable dumplings.
For a taste of an authentic Mughal cuisine popular in Old Delhi, stop at Little Delhi Restaurant. The restaurant’s menu offers an array of flavorful curry and tandoori dishes, soups, salads, breads and desserts. Savor their dishes with a side of delicious house-made breads or rice.
Taj Mahal Premium Larger – crisp and refreshing, curry beer.
Assorted Tandoori Platter – an assortment of chicken tikka, lamb seekh kabab, and fish tikka; and Chicken Tikka Masala – diced tandoori chicken cooked in creamy sauce with tomatoes and spices.
At Dianda’s Italian American Pastry you can find a great selection of pastries, cookies, cakes, and other desserts. All their delicious products are baked fresh daily at their two locations. Their cream and custard filled pastries are absolutely delightful.
The best way to explore San Francisco is by walking. Grab a coffee to go, and take a stroll in the beautiful city, and if you need to stop for a moment “Shaking Man” at the Yerbe Buena Center for the Arts is more then happy to hold your coffee for you. Happy travels!