Tag: San Francisco

Traveling & Eating in and around San Francisco

A week ago, Jonah and I got back from a week and a half in California. The real reason for this trip was a work retreat in South Lake Tahoe, but because it was around the time of my sister’s birthday, we extended the trip and made it into a visit. And of course, being Fasslers, my sisters know how to eat very well. We spent a few days in Berkeley (where my sisters both live) before heading to Lake Tahoe, and then a few days in San Francisco staying at a friend’s place (thanks Sheel!) after. Here were some highlights:

Vientian Cafe

Vientian Cafe | Traveling & Eating in and around San Francisco | Serious Crust My little sister’s one request this trip was to take us to this Laotian/Thai/Vietnamese restaurant. Who were we to say no? The thing to know about eating with Molly is that you should just let her order. She didn’t lead us astray – we had some delicious Laotian sausage, chicken wings, a curry noodle soup with chicken and pig’s blood (not my favorite part of the soup), and, my favorite, some Nom Kao, or deeply fried rice with ground pork, coconut, and sauce, and served with lettuce and mint. And of course, sticky rice.

Ice cream: Tara’s, Smitten, and Bi-Rite

Ice Cream | Traveling & Eating in and around San Francisco | Serious Crust

Ok, I like ice cream. Maybe it runs in my family – my dad has been known to keep sundae fixings in the house, and I think because of him I’ve always had a particular weakness for ice cream. Our first ice cream stop on the trip was Smitten, a neat spot where they churn your ice cream to order with liquid nitrogen, meaning it’s incredibly smooth and custardy. They had some wacky flavors, but we went with salted caramel and the cookie dough with pretzels. Our second ice cream stop was Tara’s, which my sisters had taken me to last time I visited. On this visit, I went with the rooibos ice cream in a black sesame cone – I love the subtle, more grown up flavors they offer. Lastly, once we got into San Francisco, we discovered we were staying only a few blocks from Bi-Rite Creamery. So we got a scoop (I went with a split scoop of chocolate and matcha) and went to sit in Dolores park and enjoy the view.

Mission Chinese Food

Mission Chinese Food | Traveling & Eating in and around San Francisco | Serious Crust Once in San Francisco, I knew I wanted to go to Mission Chinese Food. It seems to be kind of a staple, and while some say it’s a little past its prime, it’s definitely a fun stop. Traditional Chinese food with a twist would be the best way to describe the food, and my favorite dish by far was the thrice cooked bacon and rice cakes (which, actually, we got without the bacon so our vegetarian friend could enjoy them as well). I’ll also say that with all of the food and drink we got, we were surprised at how reasonably priced it was – we were stuffed and took home leftovers.

Craftsman and Wolves

Craftsman and Wolves | Traveling & Eating in and around San Francisco | Serious Crust

For breakfast, my fellow blogger Michelle of Hummingbird High recommended we hit up Craftsman and Wolves for some incredible baked goods. This gal knows her pastries, so I knew if she recommended something this highly, I had to go. We went for it at breakfast, ordering The Rebel Within (a cheesy muffin with a soft cooked egg in the middle), a chocolate croissant stack, a financier with stone fruit, hazelnut, and sesame, and a classic morning bun. These pastries were damn fine, let me tell you. My favorite was the financier – cakey and moist with this caramelized almost brittle-esque layer of fruit and sesame and hazelnut.

Zuni Cafe

Zuni Cafe | Traveling & Eating in and around San Francisco | Serious Crust We had a hard time deciding where to eat for our nice dinner out in the city. If I’d had my druthers, I would’ve eaten at AL’s Place, but it wasn’t open either of the nights we were there. So we decided instead to eat at a classic SF restaurant, Zuni Cafe. I’ve read a lot about Zuni (and the cookbook) on both Molly Wizenberg and David Lebovitz‘s blogs, and had always thought it’d be nice to eat there. We got there early and enjoyed a cocktail at the bar before heading to our table where we enjoyed the caesar salad, a tomato salad with burrata, the ricotta gnocchi with lobster mushrooms, roasted quail with spice carrot puree and greens, and for dessert, the lightest, fluffiest flourless chocolate cake I’ve ever had. It was a simple, classic, and stunning meal.

Tartine Bakery

Tartine Bakery | Traveling & Eating in and around San Francisco | Serious Crust

Of course, I had to go to Tartine. The timing worked out perfectly to eat a snack (read: dessert) and pick up a couple loaves of country bread (one for me, one for my baker friend) just before we headed to the airport. The dessert highlight was the lemon cream tart which was buttery, creamy, with the perfect pop of citrus. There’s no other word to describe it other than perfect. The loaves we brought home were HEAVY and may have made our BART car, then airplane, then car home smell like bread. It’s not a bad thing though. It toasted up perfectly and, topped with butter, made a fantastic breakfast the next morning.

Other places we went and enjoyed: Juhu Beach Club (get the small plates and strong cocktails), Kusina Ni Tess (Filipino lunch in downtown SF), KoJa Kitchen (awesome Korean/Japanese lunch in Berkeley – get the kamikaze fries and braised pork KoJa), Southie (sweet lunch spot in Oakland; I liked the fried chicken salad), Outerlands (a great breakfast spot with great service, a beautiful interior, and delicious food).

Weekend Finds 1:25:14

Well, friends, it has been a long week. An emotionally tiring, physically exhausting week, full of phone calls and to-do lists. But it’s finally the weekend, which means weekend finds.

1. Toast and more at Trouble Coffee

Trouble Coffee in the Bay on Weekend Finds // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Not only does Trouble Coffee serve toast. It also serves coconuts.

This article starts out about the new toast crazy (funny, I read it while enjoying a large piece of toast slathered in lemon curd at The Sugar Cube), but then winds its way into a story about community. I really like the story of this coffee shop and it’s owner, Giulietta Carrelli. Also, I like that she has freckles tattooed on her cheeks.

2. Gougères

Gougères on Weekend Finds // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Little perfect light bites of cheese.

All I want to do is make gougères. And I have everything in my fridge to make them. So, you ask, why am I writing this and not currently stirring together large amounts of butter and cheese? I ask you the same thing.

3. The Salted Peach

The Salted Peach on Weekend Finds // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
I love how Dylan caught the flour in the air as Caitlyn was flouring her dough.

I don’t know if I’ve told you about my friend Caitlyn before, but I find her to be rather impressive. She went to culinary school for baking and pastry, and now works around Portland. She has this blog, the Salted Peach, and I love her writing – it is guaranteed to make me smile. Her most recent post for a S’more Tart has some of the most gorgeous pictures (which her boyfriend Dylan takes). I told them if they ever want to get me a  present, they can give me a print of the picture above.

4. To remove or not to remove garlic germ?

On removing garlic germ from David Lebovitz on Weekend Finds // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
While we still may not have a certain answer, we’re a little closer.

I have always wondered whether or not you should remove the green garlic germ from garlic. And while you can really do whatever you want, this post from David Lebovitz seems to get us a little closer to at least understanding what that green germ does for our mouths.

5. Salted Rose and Honey Pie

Rose and Honey Pie from Adventures in Cooking on Weekend Finds // Serious Crust by Annie Fassler
Tell me that doesn’t look so delicious.

I still can’t get over this blog. And this recipe is not helping. I love a gentle rose flavor in some dishes (my dad made a rose water and harissa fish dish once that was incredible), and this pie looks so beautiful and sweet.