The only thing I knew about San Francisco prior to Summer 2014 was what I learned from Full House and The Princess Diaries. So my idea of SF was fog, roller-coaster hills, trollies, the Painted Ladies, and the Golden Gate Bridge - not much.
Before flying to the west coast, I did my research, gathering information from my favorite bloggers who live or have visited San Fran. I compiled quite the list, and loved getting to explore some of the sides of the city that are lesser-known to tourists. This past summer I got to visit SF again and return to some of my favorite places, as well as make stops at places I didn't get the chanced to go to last time. Here's part one of my San Fran city guide - first, food!
CAFE ST. JORGE // Bernal Heights
I'm a foodie, so as soon as we stepped off the airplane, I was thinking about where we were going to go for lunch.
Enter in Cafe St. Jorge: charming, small, just outside of the city. Lights strung from wall to wall, with Stumptown coffee bottles serving as flower vases.
Besides incredible atmosphere, the cafe also excelled in its coffee and food, making for a great experience.
What to get: Iced Almond Milk Mocha, Avocado Toast, Quinoa salad
www.cafestjorge.com, 3438 Mission St
LOCAL MISSION EATERY // The Mission District
Still adjusting to the time change, we rolled into the Mission District for a late dinner, only to find out that our intended restaurant destination had a two hour wait. Phones were pulled out, dining options Googled, and thus we landed on Local Mission Eatery.
Now, the Mission District is hipster-central during the day. At night? The area takes on a less appealing look, a little more trashy and sketchy than in the light.
Things weren't going as planned (when do they ever?), the restaurant was farther than anticipated, but the night was redeemed at Local Mission (yes, it was that good).
Sitting at the bar, watching the chefs compose their dishes, and simply tasting their creations made our experience a highlight (for me, at least).
The menu is ever-shifting; while some dishes are constants, others change daily, or are tweaked slightly. Yep. I loved it.
What to get: Anything and everything
PLANT CAFE // multiple locations
Classic Californian cuisine. Great breakfast, salads, chai lattes & coffee (they carry Blue Bottle!), sandwiches, etc. Visited the cafe twice!
What to get: Sambazon Bowl, Breakfast Bowl, Avocado & Grapefruit Salad
THE MILL // Alamo Square
So San Francisco has this thing with fancy toast (also known as tartines, I made up the fancy toast name). Most cafes offer their own varieties, which usually include avocado toast, some cinnamon-sugar, whatever.
The Mill is solely a coffee & toast place. It's known as THE place to get toast in SF so I had big expectations for it. Maybe too big. First, the decor was incredible. Coffee - great. Toast - just okay. But that could have just been what I ordered! (I got cinnamon-sugar toast with almond butter).
www.themillsf.com, 736 Divisadero Street
JANE // Pacific Heights
Great little lunch place in the middle of Pac Heights - salads, sandwiches, TOAST! Also (I feel like a broken record), the decor is cute. Stop here while getting your shopping on on Fillmore Street.
itsjane.com, 2123 Fillmore St
PIZZERIA DELFINA // Mission
Last day in San Francisco, the obvious place to return was the Mission (plus, I wanted to visit Bi-Rite Creamery). With a short wait, we had a quick lunch of paper-thin, yet crispy, Neapolitan pizza. Plus, a killer corn salad.
www.pizzeriadelfina.com, 3621 18th Street
BI-RITE CREAMERY // Mission
Bi-Rite Creamery is like the Georgetown Cupcake of San Francisco; it's the dessert symbol of the city. And I will tell you that, like Georgetown Cupcake, Bi-Rite was well-worth the wait! Also, right down the street, you can visit the original home of the ice-cream, where it was churned out at the Bi-Rite Market (think very small Whole Foods).
www.biritecreamery.com, 3692 18th Street
RAMEN UNDERGROUND // Financial District
Now, this may not be the best ramen in SF, but it was my first ever ramen, so I figured it was worth noting. The portions are HUGE and delicious. This is a cash-only restaurant.
ramenunderground.com, 356 Kearney Street
UMAMI BURGER // multiple locations
A California chain with excellent burgers! If you're near one, I would definitely recommend trying one out!
What to get: Maple Bacon Fries & the Greenbird
San Francisco has some of the best coffee places - there are many that I did not get to try, but here are some that I did!
BLUE BOTTLE COFFEE // multiple locations
Blue Bottle is an SF staple. It's everywhere (PTL), and there will always be a line. But hey, that's the sign of good coffee, right?!
CRAFTSMAN & WOLVES // Mission
This spot was on my list my first trip to SF, but we only got to peek in. When I visit this summer, C&W was my first stop from the airport for lunch and a coffee (both delicious). They're known for their pastries, but don't count them out for the other items on their menu! Stop by here when shopping in the Mission.
craftsman-wolves.com, 746 Valencia St
OTHER COFFEE SHOPS:
Beacon Coffee & Pantry
Ritual Coffee Roasters
Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters