a little more San Francisco love

Justin SchwartzNow for part-two of my San Francisco round-up. That's me on Lombard Street with all the other tourists, wondering if my SF friends are going to laugh at me when they see this photo.  I know it's a little cheesy, but it's fun being a tourist for the day.  If this post and the last one seem long, you'd laugh if you knew how much more food than this we really ate. I not even mentioning Pagolac, Saigon Sandwich, Out the Door, Katana-Ya, Amber, and oops! Well, I'm not sharing photos from those places because, believe it or not, I do put my camera down sometimes. So just the highlights now...Heaven's Dog, San FranciscoAfter an astounding meal at Amber with Shauna, Danny, Lu, Allison, Aran, Molly, Jennifer, Dianne, and Penny, Diane and Todd invited me and Jen to come out with them for cocktails and snacks over at Heaven's Dog. The drinks were a treat, but getting to know White on Rice Couple in person was even better. I'm not even sure how it happened, but we ended up going with Diane and Todd again the next night, for more late cocktails and snacks at Absinthe. I've got so many great memories from those two nights. Why do they have to live so far away?sf3Ferry Building Farmers Market, San FranciscoFerry Building Farmers Market, San FranciscoFerry Building Farmers Market, San FranciscoFerry Building Farmers Market, San FranciscoBack to the food. This is all a bit of a blur now because I was also having fun at Blogher Food 2010, but on Saturday we ended up at the Farmers Market again.  Amazing produce, great people, artisanal foods, and more. I could spend all day here.Namu, San FranciscoWe made it back to the Namu booth. I guess you could say this was a Korean-inspired poutine, sans the gravy, with bulgogi and hot sauce on top. (Or was that meat more like galbi?) Either way, damn, that was tasty.Tartine, San FranciscoOf course we visited Tartine, but what else can I say about it that I haven't said before?Bakeries just don't get much better than Tartine. I still gotta check out their new book.Bi-Rite, San FranciscoThen I stopped by Bi-Rite to pick up a bag of those awesome 4505 chicarrones. Does anyone in NYC sell them?Humphry Slocombe, San Francisco How did I not visit Humphry Slocombe the last time I was in San Francisco? Definitely worth the hype. New Yorkers are pretty lucky when it comes to ice cream, but San Francisco really knows its stuff.La Palma papitas fritasPlease tell me you've tried the potato chips from La Palma? I know they don't always have them available for purchase because they sell out, but that's no excuse for not visiting. So amazing.The Jelly Donut, San FranciscoAfter that failed trip to Dynamo, we popped into The Jelly Donut. I always love old-fashioned style donuts like these, and the countergirl gets serious brownie points for giving me two free donuts because it was late in the day and they were closing soon. Seriously, two free donuts!Little Bird Coffeehouse, San FranciscoNo joke, I don't even like coffee. Maybe it's because I don't have a Little Bird Coffeehouse nearby me, because this was dreamy. And could the people working there be any nicer? No, I don't think it's possible.Bob's Donuts, San FranciscoUmm, OMG! Bob's Donuts!!! Seriously, I've been to San Francisco a fair number of times, like five or six, and no one has ever told me about Bob's?! Tough call on this one, but it's the only place I know of that can come even close to Donut Dip in West Springfield, Mass. If I ever move to San Francisco, I'll need to live within a block of Bob's.  P.S. That photo above is one of my favorites of all time.In-N-Out BurgerI had to do the In-N-Out Burger thing again (only my second visit, ever) because this time I knew how to really order. I got these "animal style" and felt all cool saying that. Yeesh, I'm such a food dork.XOX Truffles, San FranciscoXOX Truffles is probably a total tourist spot, right, with the cable cars rolling by? Eh, it didn't bother me because these were such a treat. If it wasn't so hot that day, I probably would have gotten a box to go.Namu, San FranciscoNamu San FranciscoNamu, San FranciscoWe decided to have our final meal of the trip at the actual Namu restaurant in Inner Richmond, since we'd had so much fun trying their food at the Farmers Market. What a great meal. Everything was so interesting. I guess it's Korean-inspired, but they've got some distinctly Japanese dishes too. Don't let the classification worry you though. This is a really nice spot for a romantic dinner. I'm guessing some locals will think this was a weird choice with all the legendary chefs in San Francisco, but we loved our meal. What a great night (even with the most obnoxious guy on Earth sitting so close by).Union Square Park, San FranciscoAnd did I mention the warm weather? (Yes.) At least a couple of our nights were spent just strolling around and sitting in the park. (In New York City, most public parks are a little dicey after dark.)  Plus it's well into Fall, so it was really nice being able to sit out at night and enjoy the city like that, without the usual crowds around Union Square. I'm told the weather was a bit of a fluke, so I'll consider myself lucky to have been there for it. In fact by the time we left, I could have easily been wearing shorts and flip flops. I want that weather back. I want San Francisco back.

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?

a new blog and a gluten-free gathering

Gluten-Free party in San FranciscoWelcome to the first post of my new blog.  (Okay, so I eventually migrated my old blog into the new one, so this post makes no sense anymore.) I ended my old blog with my 500th post (holy cow) about an amazing gluten-free party in Brooklyn where I first met Shauna James Ahern in person, to celebrate with friends the publication of her cookbook, Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef.  So I thought it fitting to start my new blog with a post about another party with Shauna.  This one was the day after the end of Blogher Food 10, where we spoke together on a panel about writing cookbooks.  What an honor to sit with Shauna, Dorie, Susan, and Nancy on that panel.  Plenty has already been written about the conference in San Francisco, much of it far more interesting than anything I might say, so I won't write another recap.  I will say that I had a blast from start to finish, and I made some great new friends, way too many to mention here, but especially the amazing Todd and Diane of White on Rice Couple, who inspired me to switch over to Wordpress.  Back to the party... I guess it was more of a gathering, in gorgeous Dolores Park.  The park is huge, so it took us a while to all find each other.Gluten-Free party in San FranciscoGluten-Free party in San FranciscoA few tweets later and we started gathering in the shade because it was in the mid-80's that day.  Talk about Indian summer.Gluten-Free party in San FranciscoGluten-Free party in San FranciscoIt was a pot-luck, but many of us were from out of town.  I picked up some snacks at Bi-Rite like guacamole, chips, and those heavenly 4505 Meats chicharrones which I had sampled at the Farmer's Market a few days earlier.  Lucky for us, the locals brought homemade dishes.Gluten-Free party in San FranciscoGluten-Free party in San FranciscoI did a little toddler-sitting, which I didn't mind at all.  Actually, I wasn't quite dressed for the sand pit and monkey bars (all in black and in dress shoes), but it was fun climbing the ladders and riding the slides.Gluten-Free party in San FranciscoGluten-Free party in San FranciscoGluten-Free party in San FranciscoGluten-Free party in San FranciscoThen the crowds started to gather.  I didn't count, but there were a lot of people there. And before you worry about us, let me assure you that anyone with a sweet tooth was more than satisfied.  Check out that guy with the blow torch making huge s'mores. (Actually, I don't think his graham crackers were gluten-free, but it was still a lot of fun to watch him in action.)Gluten-Free party in San FranciscoGluten-Free party in San FranciscoGluten-Free party in San FranciscoIrvin Lin showed up a little late, but with all the gorgeous he desserts he brought, no one minded the wait.  I asked him to cut me a slice of that gluten-free fig and raspberry tart immediately.Gluten-Free party in San FranciscoI can't help but be amused by the photos from Dolores Park because of the palm trees. They look so, well, tropical.  And there they are, right in the middle of the city.  I've got plenty more food stories to tell about my trip to San Francisco with Jen.  And I'll probably tweak the look of my new blog a few times, but I'd love to know what you think.  I also want to give a little shout-out to some of new friends who were at the party like Penny De Los Santos, Allison Day, Irvin Lin (oops, mentioned him already, but this guy can bake!), and Stephanie Stiavetti.  And to Shauna, how lucky that we got to see each other so many times in just a few short weeks after waiting so long to finally meet in person.  I can't think of a better way to celebrate the new book.