Stuff I Ate In California- San Francisco

San Francisco is famous the world over for their food.  And rightly so.  Hidden among those monstrous mountains the locals refer to as hills lie some of the city’s finest secrets.  This was actually my third visit to this beautiful city by the bay and I was determined to eat as much as my greedy soul could hold.

Day One

The first thing I did was head to the Ferry Building.  Based on my previous trip just a few short months before, I knew this to be a mecca of fabulous food.  On my way there, I checked my phone for tweets from the Crème Brûlèe Cart to find out where they were going to be that day, and woohoo!  they were on my way to the Ferry Building!!  I’d had their lavender crème brûlèe in the past and had been hoping, dreaming, it would be available again.  No luck.  They did have something called the .COM (Cinnamon Orange Maple) and chocolate peppermint as well as honey-vanilla.  I ordered the .COM and chocolate peppermint crème brûlèes because I didn’t want to be greedy and get all three flavors.  😛  These I put into my folding tote bag to consume later.

As soon as I got to the Ferry Building, I went straight to Roli Roti on the south side of the terminal.

Who was not there.

I wandered shell-shocked among the other tourists who were blissfully unaware of the sublime porchetta sandwiches for which Roli Roti is famous.  I wanted to do one of those hyper-dramatic heavenward screams of despair and fury that you see on TV or in movies.   “WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!??!!”

All I can do is show you a picture of the porchetta sandwich I got on my previous trip.


Need another picture?

It was as awesome as it looks.  Succulent pork belly wrapped around a pork loin with herbs and garlic, rotisserie-grilled, then sliced and dressed with onion marmalade and parsley for health on fresh ciabatta.  Yeah, I ate that!

But not on this day.  And as it turned out, I didn’t get to eat a porchetta sandwich at all during this trip.   I was too busy eating everything else.

Disappointed, I wandered the Ferry Building visiting old favorites and looking for new ones.  I stopped at Recchiutti, purveyor of fine chocolates, who also sells cups of hot chocolate with handmade marshmallow for $4.50.  A bit steep for hot chocolate, but it’s pure chocolate rather than cocoa, which are two different things, so who am I to say no, especially on a “chilly” day?

Wow.  This was R-I-C-H.  And dark.  This was a very luscious drink that had a thick mouthfeel.  Now anyone who knows me knows I love me some dark chocolate, but I think I would have been satisfied with half as much hot chocolate because that’s about how much I left in the cup.  Don’t get me wrong, this was stupendously good hot chocolate, but overwhelming after a while.

It was lunchtime and I was starving.  You know, because I didn’t get my much-anticipated porchetta sandwich.  I’ll be holding this grudge forever!

So my next stop in the Ferry Building:  The San Francisco Fish Company.  I utterly adore seafood and everything on their menu sounded tempting.  I simply could not decide on what I wanted to eat.  How could I possibly choose between the lobster quesadilla and Dungeness crab enchiladas?  Didn’t both of them deserve the honor of being eaten by me?  For once, my head overruled my stomach with the rationale that I eat lobster way more often than I do Dungeness crab at home, and chose the enchiladas as well as a bowl of their New England clam chowder.  I don’t regret it for a moment!

Big hunks of tender, sweet clam swam in this creamy but not too rich chowder.  No complaints here!

Loved this!  Look at all that crabmeat!

Despite my seafood lunch, I stopped El Porteño for some of their Argentinian empanadas.  I remembered from my previous trip that they had an umami-tastic empanada filled with mushrooms (I tasted some porcini and shiitake as well as button) as well one filled with what might have been mincemeat or maybe beef with raisins.  I’ve never had real mincemeat so I couldn’t tell you for sure.  But damn, that was good!

Mushroom empanada

Meat empanada

No sooner had I purchased my empanadas than I looked over and saw a sign that said, “Dulce de leche y banana empanaditas.”

This does not look like a turnover to me, and it did not contain bananas, but it did have dulce de leche in it.  As enticing as this looks, I was not impressed by the shortbread cookies.  It was buttery, but it also crumbled EVERYWHERE.  I don’t like shortbread that is so delicate, a stern glare could shatter it to pieces.

I went to Miette with every intention of getting their chocolate pot de crème that’s charmingly served in a wee little jelly jar (they refund you a dollar if you return the jar to them) because I hadn’t had a proper dessert.  Except I saw macarons.  Vanilla, chocolate-hazelnut, pistachio, espresso… I bought two of each.

Miette’s pistachio macarons

Miette’s espresson macaron


Miette’s chocolate-hazelnut and vanilla macarons

I liked the chocolate-hazelnut and vanilla macarons best and the espresso ones least.  Actually, I haven’t ever had a coffee-based macaron that really stood out to me.  Maybe I need to go on a macaron tasting and compare the results?  Food for thought, eh?  Anyway, these were light and crisp, and the fillings were creamy and rich but not overwhelmingly so.  Win!

At this point, I was just being gluttonous.  I mean, really, who eats this much in the space of three or four hours?

Me.  Because I kept eating.

Next stop: Far West Fungi, a local mushroom company. I slobbered over their display of truffles, both summer as well as the more pungent winter truffles.  But I wasn’t here to buy mushrooms.  I was here for their truffle macarons.  Yep, you read that right, they sell savory macarons!  I’d read about it somewhere during my research on San Francisco and decided I had to have them.  I love truffles and I love macarons.  Why the hell not?

Far West Fungi in the Ferry Terminal

Far West Fungi’s porcini macaron–I accidentally squished it

Far West Fungi’s summer truffle macaron.  Earthy yet HEAVENLY!

I’d been in the Ferry Building for about three hours by now and all the food I’d consumed was starting to catch up to me.  I was whimpering at the thought of  walking back up Market Street to catch the bus to my friends’ house for a nice Chinese dinner cooked by a real old-school Chinese mama at six.  Her mom comes from the same region of China as my dad, and I had been looking forward to her cooking as my folks are abroad for the winter. That is, I HAD been looking forward to her cooking until my eyes got ahead of my belly at the Ferry Building.

So I made myself walk a mile to try to burn off a couple of macarons.  I feel terrible for not scarfing down my friend’s mom’s yummy food- I just couldn’t squeeze more than a few bites of each dish into my already distended belly.  Never had I been more grateful for stretchy yoga pants than I was that night when I got back to my hotel room and collapsed in a food stupor.

And that, my friends, was how I spent my first full day in San Francisco.

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7 thoughts on “Stuff I Ate In California- San Francisco

  1. everything looks delicious! are you going to try to replicate any or all of these dishes, for those of us who can’t make it to San Francisco? those empanadas are calling to me!

    • Funny you should mention recreating some of these dishes because I was just telling a friend that I plan to recreate the beet salad soon. And I’m teaching myself to make macarons but I got a little frightened off after my attempt at chocolate macarons back in November.

      And empanadas are on the horizon too. So is the porchetta sandwich. I just need to find the time to do all of that!

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