#FoodTour: San Francisco, CA - I

San Francisco, CA. Though I've been wanting to go for quite some time to this highly acclaimed 'food city,' timing just never allowed for the excursion. Exploring a community through food is how I travel and lucky for me, the years have identified a number of local eateries to try. On this spontaneous visit to San Francisco, CA, I applied my method: food, food, and more food. Of course, my only hope was that my friends would share in the interest and help make this #FoodTour a memorable one. Either I have great friends, hungry friends, or both, because that's exactly what we did!

Before heading up, I sent a list of recommended eateries in the SF bay area. "Well don't you want to see any historic sites here?" Sure, I smiled, so long as it's near a good restaurant. As a first time visitor, my friends accommodated my unique entry into the local culture. Already energized by the sunny days ahead (unusual, so I hear), we commenced our rapid tour, exploring San Francisco from what it has been rumored to offer. 

Pork Belly
Boxing Room. Southern was on the mind from the moment we arrived and by way of Cajun influence we ended up at Boxing room. Our cup from Philz Coffee still in hand, we agreed that we needed some comfort eats. The bar/restaurant caters to a professional crowd (meetings happening all around us) or the usual patron just looking to catch up. There were plain views of the street from most seats given the large-scale windows and ample seating for the lunch-time crowd. The choices on the one-page lunch menu offered up some seafood staples but all of us agreed on their Plate Lunch Special - Pork Belly Special: Fried Grits topped with Pork Belly, paired with an Arugula Salad, and a Brownie for dessert; fixed drinks also accompanied, with a choice of tea, lemonade, or an Arnold Palmer. The pork belly was salty, fatty, and tender, and the grits resembled a buttered polenta with crunch. The brownie was as any other. At the lunch's end, our plates and forks were licked clean and there was certainly no need for a lip moisturizer for the next few hours (butter, fat..no explanation required). What's the special today? Guess you'll have to go and find out!

Boxing Room
399 Grove St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 430-6590

What's inside??

Tartine Bakery. As I was warned about, there was a line out the door, soon to run onto the curb and not a table with a glimpse of a moving party - this place is either so incredibly well-known, well-loved, simply delicious, or maybe all of the above. The famed restaurant came as a top bakery recommendation from fellow pastry lovers. Though also a well-established eatery of plates, the pastries and other baked items lining the visual display are hard to miss when considering what to eat. Sure, I'll have a scone with my croque, I mean...I'm on vacation right? We grabbed a few cups of coffee, and opened up our collection of food to share among the table. What exactly did we get? There's so much to choose from, but a few of our choices are highlighted in another, lengthier introduction to Tartine Bakery: Read More...

Tartine Bakery
600 Guerrero St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 487-2600

Reuben Sandwich

Ike's Place. Looking for a sandwich to suit almost any occasion? Enter Ike's Place. The small sandwich shop situated in Castro (and several other large neighboring cities) has almost no seating but plenty to eat. Whether you're hungry for meat, veggies, or both, Ike's has quite a lengthy selection to choose from...whether written on the menu, a post-it note, a wall sign, or just your very own customized order. The sandwiches are heated, mildly pressed, and served with any number of sauces that drip down your chin and onto your lap, if you aren't careful. Napkins became our best friend as we indulged on quite the colorful Reuben Sandwich. A tasty choice, and difficult to explain, but we'll certainly try in another entry! Read More...

Ike's Place
3489 16th St
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 553-6888

White Pizza, Thin Crust

Little Star Pizza. I'm a pizza guy. What? I can't help it! Offer me a deep dish, thin crust, New York style, California style (what?), etc....and usually I'd say yes, I'll try it. I'll also try to save you a slice (maybe). We chose to eat in Mission at a dimly light, tightly tabled, and otherwise intimate spot. We settled on the Deep Dish Classic and Thin Crust White Pie to share across the table. The Classic included a salty sausage with mushrooms, onions, and green peppers thumb-deep in a hearty marinara. It was true to a pizza pie - the deep dish crust held up well, with an emphasis on the filling. I'm ok with this. The White Pizza has been done countless times with mild variation. Here, it's served with garlic olive oil, mozzarella, feta, zucchini, and tomatoes and piping hot: gooey and so cheesy that the ribbons seemed endless from the pizza serving plate. At the end of our meal, I found myself counting among the table and nibbling on the unclaimed remaining slices until all were gone (others followed suit until it became a fork battle for the last few pieces). Orders take some time, so bring good company you can sit with for a half hour before the pizza feasting begins!

Little Star Pizza
400 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 551-7827

To think, this was only day one of our #FoodTour and we were loving it already. Onward to the next few highlights!