North America West Coast Part 1: San Francisco
During these few days, we managed to hit some of the places that are kind of cool at the moment, especially with the help of local foodies such as my colleague and fellow blogger Melissa of Serving Seconds.
In the same neighbourhood we also visited, a couple of nights later, another local spot, gastropub The Tipsy Pig. I really enjoyed my pulled pork and kimchi sliders (yes, I do like pork at the moment) but @bmcboy wasn’t so convinced by his chicken dish and unfortunately the place was full of very loud people with particularly high pitched voices. We left in a hurry.
|Lolinda rooftop view|
Yet we did have a pre dinner drink at Lolinda, opened by local restaurant entrepreneur Adriano: while its food is supposed to be top quality Argentinian fare, we went straight up to the cool rooftop bar to enjoy an average mojito with a great view towards the north of San Francisco and its bay.
We then walked across the next street up (Valencia) et voila’, the ambiance turned leafy and arty and much safer looking. Just a street away. Oh yes, that is San Francisco.
On Valencia we had dinner with Serving Seconds and her husband and had a great night, enjoying Italian food at Locanda. I loved my Tagliolini Cacio and pepe and our starters (including zucchini fritters). A great, researched wine list and decent desserts completed our fun evening. I loved the Duran Duran’s 1987 Rome gig poster in the loo, by the way.
|S’mores at Luna Park|
Our first taste of the Mission however had been a couple of nights earlier when we met my long time friend Nevada, first for a beer in artisan brewery el Porteno accompanied by freshly baked empanadas. This was followed by more food at Luna Park, a bar and food venue which was pretty good (including the mojito we had). We ordered S’more for dessert and not having any idea of what it was like, we discovered its origin from Nevada, always good to have a local at hand!
Spenger’s is apparently an institution: it’s been opened for many decades (over a century in fact) and it’s a family run fish restaurant, and even became a landmark in 2001. Unfortunately, it seems they are stuck in a time warp. Everything is dated and has probably not been renovated in centuries too: dark carpet, dark wooden furniture. The menu is extensive and mainly fish based. Shame it is not even local fish (my swordfish came from Hawaii) nor sustainable (no information on source, methods etc). The food was fine, a bit greasy but pleasant. The service slow. At least we had our friend’s company but we were back in town by 8 and ended up visiting Castro district on one of those stunning vintage street cars that grace the streets of San Fran.
We had a team lunch in the very bright and hot sunshine at Market Bar at the Ferry building; I had a seared Ahi nicoise which was delicious (with me failing to ask about its sustainability).
|Market Bar Nicoise|
The Ferry building is home to a small but very interesting gourmet market: the stalls sell high quality, organic produce such as artisan cheeses from Cowgirl Creamery and breads from Acme, rated amongst the best bakeries in the USA. I tried the famous San Francisco sourdough, of course.
It’s time now to leave the sunshine and face the rain.