Gourmet Live and BlogHer Road Trip: San Francisco Food Guide

BlogHer Original Post

April 27ATLANTA August 31CHICAGO
San Francisco
This month, we're heading all the way west for a summertime stop in San Francisco. From light and fresh fare to the city’s dynamic ethnic food scene, eat your way through one of California’s hippest and healthiest cities while being guided by food-loving locals.

Photo by by Travelpix Ltd / Getty Images
San Francisco Food Guide: Tips From Local Bloggers
Elisa Camahort Page
Where do you go for vegan food, and what do you order?
Cha Ya vegan Japanese in the Mission District is my favorite vegan restaurant in the City, and Greens in the Marina is my favorite vegetarian place. Both serve incredibly rich and indulgent food. For anyone who thinks being veg*n requires culinary sacrifice!
--Elisa Camahort Page, Veggie Goes Vegan (and BlogHer cofounder)
Hank Shaw
Where can you find the best charcuterie?
Tough one. Both Chris Cosentino's Boccalone and Paul Bertolli'sFra'Mani are excellent.
--Hank Shaw, Hunter Angler Gardener Cook
Genie Gratto
Where is the best place in the city to go for a romantic dinner date?
My favorite date spot is the bar at Gitane, at 6 Claude Lane. Tucked down a narrow alley in the Financial District, the warmly lit bar is unabashedly decadent and sexy. I’ve never even made it to the dining room -- the bartenders are so good at talking about the cocktails they’re mixing, but also know exactly when to leave a couple alone to share intimate conversation over a coca (Catalan flatbread) or paella. Try the bacon bonbons (prunes stuffed with goat cheese, wrapped in bacon, and glazed with spiced port), and check out the carefully curated list of cocktails, including a selection of vintage drinks. Intoxicated by your date, or by the Ganamos (Buffalo Trace bourbon, Canton ginger liqueur, Bonal aperitif, Angostura bitters & Regan’s orange bitters)? Either way, it’ll be a night to remember.
--Genie Gratto, The Inadvertent Gardener and BlogHer Food Section Editor
Julie Ross Godar
What is the best Bay Area food treat to take as gifts to people who don't live here?

Wine: I hope your road trip contains a detour to Sonoma County -- its bucolic beauty produces gorgeous zins and pinots. Sweets: Buy two Marcona almond and salted caramel brownies from Tell Tale Preserves (you're going to eat one) or anything from Recchiuti Confections. Savories: The broth from Napa-grown Rancho Gordo's Good Mother Stallard beans can be spooned as soup; and the pretty-pretty pantry items like spice blends and Lebanese rosewater from Boulette's Larder always impress (especially if you forget to remove the price tag, but they're worth the money for their rarity and quality). Pick everything up at the Ferry Building -- yes, it's food snob central, but deservedly so: out-of-this-world prepared foods and a legendary farmers' market on the bustling but still somehow serene Francisco waterfront.

--Julie Ross Godar, Managing Editor, BlogHer

Stephanie Stiavetti
Where's the best independently made ice cream in the city?

The Bi-Rite Creamery has a very unique option: Sam's Sundae.The creamery, one of the most incredible in the Bay Area, constructs Sam's Sundae of quintessentially San Francisco (read: hipster-chic) ingredients: chocolate ice cream, bergamot olive oil, and large-rock sea salt. You'll have to stand in line for half an hour on a hot day, but it's so, so worth it. If you're not the sundae type, I also highly recommend their salted caramel and fromage blanc flavors.

--Stephanie Stiavetti, Wasabimon

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Kristen Noia
Where should we go to get old-school San Francisco crab, cioppino, and sourdough bread without hitting a total tourist trap?
Chef Gigi Fiorucci, a San Francisco restaurateur since 1967, serves the best cioppino in the city at Sotto Mare. Just off tourist-laden Columbus Street in North Beach, Gigi’s place is packed with regulars taking advantage of incredibly fresh fish specials, oysters and clams, the best clam chowder outside Boston, and really flavorful seafood pastas and risottos. At Sotto Mare, you'll experience the boisterous, old-school-Italian North Beach atmosphere: Gigi's also known for his sassy back-and-forth with the hostess, kitchen staff, and servers ... and often with the customers too!

--Kristen Noia, Batter Licker

Sean Timberlake
To which neighborhood would you direct a food lover first? Where should she definitely stop?
The Mission, no doubt. There's every flavor of Latin food imaginable, including the famous San Francisco burrito. Everyone has a favorite taqueria, but I favor Papalote. The salsa is like crack.

--Sean Timberlake, Hedonia and Punk Domestics

Elaine Wu
If you could create a dream menu of San Francisco food, what would be on it?
My dream menu in San Francisco would really cover a variety of spots and kinds of foods. 1) Town Hall's chocolate butterscotch pot de creme. That thing is heaven in a bowl, and I don't even have a sweet tooth! 2) A potato croquette from Delica in the Ferry Building. These fried goodies are like the smoothest, creamiest, lightest mashed potatoes wrapped in a crispy panko crust. 3) Xiao long bao (steamed soup dumplings) from Shanghai Dumpling King. The combo of perfectly thin dough wrapping and flavorful meat filling is harder to find than you think. 4) Margherita pizza from Pizzeria Delfina. Perfectly charred crust and simple ingredients make a great Neopolitan style pizza. 5) Finally, anything from 4505 Meats. Get a sandwich, fried chicken, or even their chicharrones. You won't be disappointed.

--Elaine Wu, VirgoBlue

Denise Woodward
It's a great day for a picnic. Where should we go, and where should we grab supplies?
It is a rare sunny summer day in San Francisco: Grab the sunscreen, a blanket and a good book, and head to Dolores Park (Dolores Street and 18th Street). Before you jaunt over to claim your grassy, green space, you must stop off at Bi-Rite (3639 18th Street) for some yummy picnic supplies. Bi-Rite is like dying and going to foodie heaven. They have the freshest produce in town -- they even grow some of it on their rooftop -- plus prepared salads and sandwiches made with local, seasonal ingredients. If it's strawberry season, you must pick up a basket of the Blue Moon Organics; nature's candy. Our favorite picnic is very French: a fresh loaf of bread, creamy cheeses, and some charcuterie. Don't forget a chilly rose from their amazing wine collection (they have some great bottles under $10). After pulling yourself away from the market, walk up to the park, claim your spot (we love finding a space a bit higher up on the hill, so we can people-watch), and enjoy the day.

--Denise Woodward, Chez Us

Lynn Forbes
Where do you like to eat when you play tourist?
Seal Rock Inn Restaurant is a real-deal coffee shop that probably hasn't been updated since it was built along with the hotel in the '60s. But the locals and tourists who rub elbows here to indulge in endless cups of freshly brewed coffee and breakfast done right could care less. Open for breakfast and lunch only, the place is known for its omelets but you can't go wrong with a patty melt sandwich, tomato stuffed with tuna salad, or a cup of tapioca pudding. To work off the bacon, so to speak, the historic Cliff House and Sutro Baths are right down the street.

--Lynn Forbes, Vice President of Product Strategy, BlogHer

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