Monday, October 22, 2018

Treats & Eats in San Francisco

This past week in San Francisco (and surrounding area) has been amazing. I love so much about California - the people, the art, the self expression, the nature, the weather, and of course the food! During my time there I was lucky enough to try some pretty amazing places in the city with good friends, and I'd love to share some of those finds. So, in case you're ever in San Francisco (run, don't walk!) and looking for a good place the locals love, check out the list below. You won't be disappointed. 😊 If you want to visit any of their websites and see more yummy food, just click the link on their name and address. 

Mensho Tokyo 
672 Geary St., San Francisco, CA 94102

Mensho Tokyo is the first Ramen shop in the U.S. from the chef in charge of the popular Tokyo locations. While the wait time at this small establishment is crazy long, we arrived early and managed to snag a table for 4 as the first wave of diners was leaving. Located in the Tendernob area, there is a high number of panhandlers, but we never had a problem in the area at all. I have found this area one of the best for places to eat. I tried the Tori Paitan ramen, which is what I was told they are known for. The noodles are springy and perfect when slurping up. The fried mushroom appetizer was also amazing and crispy. I've never seen anything like it before. They don't make orders to go or give "doggy bags", because they believe that ramen is best served fresh. A bowl will leave you pretty full, but we left for the wine bar next door SO happy! The prices were very reasonable, but they did have a bowl of ramen with 5 star kobe beef, only 10 bowls served per day, for $40 a bowl. My friend got that one, and I did get to try some of the broth. I still have dreams about that broth! This place is a definite go. 

5 Star Kobe Beef Ramen

Tori Paitan Ramen

my bf's spicy ramen, I forget what this one was! 

School Night
601 19th St., San Francisco, CA 94107

School Night is located in or near Dogpatch, just a short walk from where we were staying. School night is very trendy, and just like the name implies, it is school themed and only open on school nights. Their drinks are slightly overpriced but trendy and tasty cocktails, wisky, wine, etc., and the friends I was with ordered food which they said was amazing. While this place wouldn't become my staple, it was fun and I would recommend checking it out. 

dish of the day, got two thumbs up! 

Chong Qing Xaio Mian
900 Kearny St., San Francisco, CA 94133

Located in Chinatown, Chong Qing Xaio Mian (Xaio Mian means "little noodles") is, according to my boyfriend, the epitome of a good traditional Chinese restaurant, with exception to the higher American/San Fran prices. We tried about 6 different appetizers between 4 of us, as well as bowls of the best noodle soup, and nothing disappointed. This place also comes complete with traditional waiters/waitresses, because if you hesitate on what you want or need a second to glance at the menu, when you look up they will be gone! Haha! The food was so amazing, and you don't want to pass this place up. 

SUCH good noodle soup

an overview of our soup and appetizers

Spark Social SF (Food Trucks)
601 Mission Bay Blvd. North, San Francisco, CA 94158

There are 2 Spark Social locations in San Francisco. Spark Social is basically made up of 10 or so really cool food trucks who reside permanently at each location. The prices were food truck prices, with many items at each truck running around $10-$11 (including smoothies, which I would never pay $11 for a smoothie - geeze! Makes me want to just get a blender). My bf got a Korean bowl that seems very healthy, and I went the other way with a chicken tikka masala burrito from an Indian food truck. They were both amazing, and we each like to order different items so we can try more. 😊 It was walking distance from our area, and across the street is an interesting mini golf place, complete with tee pees. We passed on that idea but enjoyed trying out the truck food. There is also a bare truck in the middle with lots of tables and benches and shade. 

China Live
644 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133

China Live is very touristy, and typically I don't go for touristy places. However, after a long day of walking around and looking at Ferraris, we all wanted a place to sit and drink some wine and hang out. The wine shop we originally intended to visit was closed, so China Live it was. We sat at the bar portion (there is a large gift shop as well as a restaurant area), opened a bottle of Champagne and toasted to a good day. The Champagne was bubbly, the conversations with the bartenders were lively and hilarious, and since they open cook at China Live, we got to watch them cut pork belly, duck and make fresh dumplings, of which we ordered and were delicious. For a touristy place, it was a good time. I even picked up my nephew a pair of kid's chopsticks, complete with biting shark head on the top.

Watching the China Live chefs create art through the glass

394 Grand Ave., South San Francisco, CA 94080

This taqueria (as well as Mission Pie) was highly recommended to us by our bus driver on the climb down from a very windy Twin Peaks visit, and he wasn't fooling. This place is small, the tables can be slightly dirty, there was a pigeon walking around since the doors were propped open, and it was the best authentic Mexican food I've had (including many places in Texas)! We each kept it simple with a torta and a burrito, and the good food combined with the Latino population and culture and the colorful murals on every wall made me completely fall in love with the Mission district. Besides China Town, Mission has my heart. If you're ever there, seek out this place. You won't be disappointed!

The best places are unassuming and frequented by locals. It didn't disappoint! 

What to say about Mission Pie but YUM. This place was a short walk from Taqueria Farolito, and they sell pie slices, whole pies and other lunch and dinner items such as quiche. My boyfriend had a slice of apple and I had berry, and I'm glad it was only one slice or I would've eaten the entire pie. Mission Pie seems more modern than the surrounding Mission district, and it's decorated in what I would describe as a french theme. It was fun sitting at a window table eating pie in a very French type place while admiring the murals across the street. The pie slices aren't as big as, say, House of Pies in Houston, but the quality was there. I would visit Mission Pie again for sure, and it did feel completely justified after 4 miles of 30%-ish grade hill running earlier, ha! 

Our beautiful window view! 

707 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965

This is the 2nd time I've visited this particular chocolate shop in Sausalito. It's located on the more touristy main drag, but the chocolate, however expensive, doesn't disappoint. I paid $6 for two pieces to split and as a small treat it was so satisfying. I was told much of their chocolate is made in house and you can definitely taste the difference. To me it is on par with Ethel M's chocolate out of Las Vegas.

Dark chocolate truffles - made in shop! 
chocolate and flowers - that's a good day haha! 

2824 Jones St., San Francisco, CA 94133

My favorite desert shop by far is the Baked Bear. Custom made ice cream sandwiches, and heated to just the right slightly melty temperature. It is melt in your mouth died and gone to heaven goodness. You have a choice of plain ice cream in a cone or a sandwich made with your choice of cookies, brownies, or donuts. We tried their signature blue ice cream with chocolate pieces in it, aptly named Bear something or other, with a chocolate chip cookie and an M&M cookie, and oreo cookie crumbles on the outside, heated to perfection. Even after splitting this with my boyfriend, half was plenty and I would definitely buy that blue ice cream if I could find a pint in the local grocery store!

heaven in cookie shape
Last but certainly not least, the BEST food I had in San Francisco was with great friends in a beautiful studio apartment in the heart of the city. Chicken Tajin, made in a Tajin, paired with whiskey or wine (wine for me) and the chocolate mousse cake we brought. THANK YOU to a great week, and to even better friends! I couldn't have done it without you.

Home made chicken tajin by one of the best chef's I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. 

Chocolate mousse cake - courtesy of Costco. It was delicious. 
Post cake taste testing going down around here

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