Promptly upon arriving into SF, our priority was to get checked in at our hotel and get to the Ferry Building ASAP to explore the supposed foodie heaven for lunch. Our first stop was for some delicious cured meats made by Boccalone Salumeria. Among our sampling (and ordered from my most to least favorite) were: soppressata, lardo, prosciutto crudo, mortadella, capocollo, and brown sugar fennel salame. And much to my delight we chose Dry rhubarb soda to accompany our meaty treats. After completing our purchase we beelined outside to find a bench to eat at overlooking the Bay Bridge and water.
After some good people watching we headed back inside for round 2. We knew we had to choose wisely because our stomachs only have a limited capacity and we were planning to indulge in more San Francisco goodies on our walk up Columbus later that afternoon. After perusing the different shop fronts we made a split second decision to stop at Miette for some sweets to enjoy with a coffee from Blue Bottle. The impulse goodies included a rose-geriamum macaroon, a vanilla macaroon and buttermilk panna cotta with diced strawberries. But before enjoying the goodies we got in the long line for the famous Blue Bottle coffee, where we ordered a pour over coffee and a macchiato.
Before heading on our walk up Columbus we picked up a sourdough baguette from Acme Bread, a triple cream cheese called Mt Tam from Cowgirl Creamery, and a bottle of wine to drop off at our hotel for later. And just to push our limits we splurged for an empanada from El Porteño with local mushrooms, shallots, parmesan, and crème fraiche before heading out.
After dropping off our snacks at the hotel we started our walk along Columbus with beers at Comstock Saloon (which our 2011 travel book wrongly said was still the San Francisco Brewing Company- tisk tisk). Satisfied with a local pilsner and Anchorsteam we continued north to Molinari Delicatessen where they’ve been making their own salami, sausage and cold cuts since 1896. There we picked up some hot salami to enjoy later with our bread, cheese and wine purchase from earlier in the day. Next on our list was Sotto Mare Oysteria and Seafood restaurant where I had my first oyster shooter and raw west coast oyster. But of course we had to try the clam chowder, and who in their right mind would enjoy such wonderful seafood treats without some house white wine? Not us.
After that we made a detour off Columbus to check out the crooked and curvy Lombard Street, which I can assure you is quite a climb from Columbus.
Nearing the end of Columbus we headed to Ghirardelli Square which we quickly found out was nothing more than a tourist trap so we continued onward along the tourist trap of Fisherman’s Wharf where we made a stop at Boudin Bakery to sample some sourdough and learn more about its relationship with SF. So how did SF get its sourdough? Immigrants who came to California during the gold rush brought their live yeast starters with them, and many slept with their starters on cold nights to keep it from freezing. And other tidbits like, how in the late 19th century Boudin delivered fresh, warm bread to customers homes by hanging the bread on a nail peg on the homeowner’s door.
At this point all the stops on our list were crossed off, but we still hadn’t seen the famous sea lions, so we went in search of them and found them happily nestled near Pier 39 and celebrating their 40th anniversary. I wish we would have taken a video so you could understand how obnoxious they seemed, you know just coughing in one another’s faces, rolling and climbing over their sleeping friends and biting one another for sport.
After the successful sea lion spotting we traveled onward to take the Powell-Hyde cable car back to Union Square before heading to dinner.
Dinner was at Boulevard. Where we shared our first foie gras experience, which was amazing (much much better than bone marrow, we were also informed that the Sonoma ducks were treated humanely and not force fed). The foie gras came with white nectarine slices, brandy peach coulis, cornbread, mint julep gelee, and sorghum and spanish peanut cracker jacks. Honestly I could have gone without the cracker jacks. As for entrees I had the pan roasted California white sea bass which was served with dungeness crab and mussel beignets, black risotto with a shellfish broth and topped with tomato relish as well as saffron aioli. Bourbon had the duck breast wrapped in the house pancetta which was served with ricotta and buckwheat cavatelli, roasted chanterelle mushrooms, sauteed spinach, and a zucchini blossom filled with duck sausage. Although the pancetta wrapped duck seemed a little tough and too rich at the time, overall we enjoyed both entrees.
To read about our second day in San Fran click here.