missing San Francisco

San Francisco sidewalk sign

Whenever I read on a blog, Facebook or Twitter about someone taking a trip to NYC, I cringe a little bit when they list all the restaurants they plan to try. Since I don't run a food tour-guide business, I should keep my opinions to myself. It just drives me crazy when someone is hitting up all the most predictable spots, especially the tourist traps. But here I am recapping my last trip to San Francisco (for the fun Blogher Food 2010 conference), and I know the list of places I visited is pretty predictable. Sorry San Francisco-ites (wait, what do they call you, Franciscoans?) -- this list may be lame, but I had a really great time. I was going to write one huge post, but then the first day-and-a-half turned into 20 photos, so you'll have to deal with more posts about what we ate (blah blah blah). And before you email me about the fancy places I missed, don't worry, I've tried those too. Sometimes I do the upscale thing in San Francisco, but I really love the cheap eats. Plus, it's no fun busting out the camera in a fancy restaurant.

Mission District, San Francisco

We went straight from the airport to the hotel to drop off our bags and then to the BART to visit the Mission District.

Tortas Los Picudos, San Francisco

Tortas Los Picudos, San Francisco

I dream about San Francisco tortas when I'm back home, and Los Picudos came to the rescue.

Mexican bakery, San Francisco

Then a quick stop at one of the Mexican bakeries in the area where nothing seems to cost more than a dollar.

Bombay Ice Cream, San Francisco

Next stop, Bombay Ice Cream. Yes, I know about all the countless great ice cream places in the area. I've been to all of them and will write about at least one more in an upcoming post. But last year when I was in town, Bombay was sold out of the cardamom rose ice cream. I had to go back, and my luck was much better this time, so we got a shake.

Ferry Building, San Francisco

The next day was sort of epic, starting at the Thursday Ferry Building Farmers Market for, umm, breakfast?

Namu, San Francisco

Namu, San Francisco

Namu is something straight out of heaven. This is their take on the Korean taco, served on some nori. I gotta say, NYC has a lot of people trying to do stuff like this, and most of it sucks. Seriously. Namu is pretty bold with these tacos -- they're no more than two bites. But flavor wise, they're a must-try, something I'll be craving until I go back.

4505 Meats, San Francisco

4505 Meats, San Franscisco

Next booth -- 4505 Meats. Yeow, now that is a serious hot dog. How is it possible these guys don't have a shop? The dog has kimchi from Namu on it (awesome) and then some of 4505's signature chicarrones. If I'd known how good the chicarrones were at the time, I would have asked for a whole bag, but more about that in another post. Hot dogs are something else that a lot of stands are doing in NYC lately, and you know what? They are mostly pretty lame. Sorry, but it's true. This dog from 4505 is in a whole different league. NYC just got schooled on hot dogs.

Miette, San Francisco

Quick stop by Miette to get some treats to-go... because how can you not?

Arlequin, San Francisco

And then of course I had to try this maple bacon doughtnut (or I think they called them bombolini?) from the Arlequin booth. I was really into this, but later that day Cynthia from a cool boutique called Seedstore told me about the same kind of doughnut at Dynamo that is supposed to be amazing. On Sunday I finally made it all the way over to Dynamo just to try them for myself, and no joke, I got there 5 minutes after they closed, at 4pm?! I wanted to bang on the gate and say, "but I came 3,000 miles!"

Burma Superstar, San Francisco

After that epic "breakfast," we hopped on a bus to Burma Superstar. Yes, I've been there before, and I dream about this tea salad. Can anyone explain to me why it's so incredibly good? When they describe the ingredients before mixing it up for you, it doesn't sound like it's going to be one of the best things you've ever tasted. But it is.

Burma Superstar, San Francisco

Burma Superstar, San Francisco

Burma Superstar, San Francisco

Oh, the samusa soup, and a dazzling shrimp curry. Burma Superstar deserves all the hype

Japantown, San Francisco

Quick stop by Japantown. Hmm, I don't think we ate anything, but it's kind of fun over there.

Luna Park, San Francisco

Luna Park for dinner. No photos because it's too dark. I love this place, and for me, no trip to San Francisco would be complete without a slice of their amazing coconut pie. Did you know they once opened a Luna Park in NYC? It didn't last long though. Very weird.

Cako Bakery, San Francisco

And somewhere in the first day or two, we stopped by Cako on the way to the train. I'm not even going to claim to have done my homework on this one. It was an impulse visit, but come on... how gorgeous is that thing?