Follow Me Foodie to San Francisco (Round 2)!
The city is synonymous with food and good restaurants, and “good” is an understatement. It’s a food and wine lovers paradise and people visit just to eat. It is truly a treat to be in San Francisco.
I’ve been here at least a dozen times, but I’ve never written about its food scene too intensely. I made a good stab at it last time when I was there in 2010 (see my posts here), and I was long overdue for a visit. Things change so quickly there, but they are always on top of the latest “food trends” on the West Coast. Well, LA and Portland would argue otherwise, but I’ll give credit to any of those. These West Coast food meccas are industry leaders and San Francisco is home to some of America’s highly acclaimed best restaurants and chefs. Some of them were collecting their James Beard Awards in New York while I was there too.
I was originally in San Francisco to judge Cathay Pacific’s Noodles of Asia contest, but I couldn’t help but to extend my stay. No surprise there.
And just in case you didn’t recognize his side profile, it’s Martin Yan of Yan Can Cook who was also judging!
Anyway my 2 day trip turned into 6, but unfortunately I was sick in bed for half the time. I know. I was so disappointed and I have to be really sick to not have enough appetite and energy to “work”. It wasn’t fair for me to try restaurants in those conditions either, so I had no choice but to wait it out. Luckily I tried a good amount before I got sick and also right after. I wasn’t even going to mention it, but I figured you would have found out once you saw the rather small dent I made in the restaurant scene. I know I could have done better, but I did the most I could in 2 days.
It’s not about how many restaurants I could hit up though, it’s about the significance of the restaurant, food, menu, and talent of the chef. How it has influenced San Francisco’s past and present food scene, and what it foreshadows is what intrigues me.
The city has had an exciting dining scene for years now, but currently they have a rock star line up of restaurants. I managed to try a few gems, but not enough to get a solid grasp of what is offered. On that note, I’m not writing an all encompassing post on what I thought about San Francisco’s food scene overall (like I normally would with a Follow Me Foodie to (name of city) post).
Just like many big cities, San Francisco has some of everything. It’s multicultural, urban, heavily populated and full of hole in the walls and Michelin Stars. Calling it “farm to table” basically means it offers Californian cuisine, which is to be expected. The concept of seasonally inspired and ingredient driven menus dominate the West Coast nowadays, so it’s really nothing new, but their chefs make it exciting.
Being from Vancouver, BC we are often compared to San Francisco in terms of food and culture, and there are many similarities in how we approach food. Vancouver’s food scene is heavily influenced by our West Coast American friends, so it is always nice to see the food trends we will be adapting in the later months, and sometimes even years. I say that with no disrespect to my own city, but the trickle up affect happens on the West Coast and generally speaking the “food trends” take a bit longer to arrive.
San Francisco has the benefit of warmer weather and rich Californian agriculture to work with all year round too, which is ideal for any city holding a reputation for its food. Not to mention there is the Bay which provides them with seafood and the perfect climate to make arguably the country’s best sourdoughs. It is hard to believe this sophisticated food city invented the fortune cookie, popsicle, and Rice-A-Roni, although I wouldn’t underestimate these globally recognized and international treats (referring to the first two listed).
This innovative and liberal city may not be the cleanest, but it is alive with culture and flavour. Whether local or tourist, it’s a city any food and wine enthusiast is bound to get spoiled by. If you don’t agree, then you must have done it wrong and I highly recommend doing it again.
Here is just a small taste of things you can expect from Follow Me Foodie to San Francisco!
From $1.50 food truck tacos (from El Gallo Giro Taco Truck)…
… to $3.75 restaurant tacos (from La Taqueria).
From Cali-style French beignets…
… to Cali-style Chinese beignets.
… to Cali-style ‘beignets’.
From rice cracker chip with yogurt and caviar…
… to hamachi-avocado seaweed crostini ‘chip’…
… to salt and pepper squid ‘chip’.
From thousand-year-old quail egg…
… to sous vide Jidori egg.
From deep fried quail…
From pork belly…
… to lamb belly.
From banana cream pie…
From matcha, vanilla, coconut cake…
… to matcha tea cake with English pea mousse.
From State Bird Provisions…
… to benu.
I’m dying to hear what you thought about State Bird – We’re going there next month!
I have the odd feeling this will fall into the “you know you are a ‘foodie’ when you recognize a restaurant because of a dish and tables”: the “Cali-style French beignets” picture seems to be from Brenda’s French Soul Food!
I love SF and would like to go back. It is one of those places where I sort of a have a free pass to eat close to anything because of all the walking around! (Does not help if you wear heels, though, as it has a lot of hills…)
It was nice to meet you, at state brid
I’m off to eat in Lima next, maybe I will see you there.
@Jason – Jason! That was such a random coincidence!!! I would LOVE to meet you in, Lima… but for now I’ll have to click my heels and cross my fingers for that to happen! How was Rich Table?! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment, mystery man!!!
@Sandi – stay tuned!!! So much more to check out in SF, but I’m glad you have resos! They take them for up to 2 people I think 30 days in advance! Hoping to post on State Bird soon!!!
@KimHo – good eye, although they are kind of easy to spot! Nothing like the ones in NOLA, but I’ll get to that in the post! I love SF too!!! If I can manage in EU in heels for half a year.. I can do it here! 🙂
how did you get into State Bird?!!!
I’ll tell you how to get a reservation for State Bird – get up early every morning and check for any availability (that’s when I got my reservation for a party of 4). But I tried for more than three weeks, every day, several times a day….I started to see it as a challenge…