By Allison Levine, Foodable Contributor
What happens when two foodies travel to San Francisco for two days with individual lists of places to try? We merged our lists, mapped our plan and hit the road for 48 hours of non-stop eating and drinking.
Day 1: Sunday
9:45 a.m. — Depart Los Angeles for San Francisco.
11:00 a.m. — Arrive in San Francisco. Through Airbnb, we have rented a room in the Mission District so that we are central to the BART. We drop our bags off and head out for brunch. As we begin to walk, we spot Panchita’s Pupuseria with a woman making fresh pupusas on the sidewalk, so we stop for one and continue on our way.
1:00 p.m. — Brenda’s French Soul Food
652 Polk St. (Tenderloin)
We arrive at Brenda’s, considered one of the best restaurants in the city for “French Soul Food,” and put our names on the list. Next door is Libby Jane, a café owned by Brenda’s that serves coffee and baked goods, and where you can get Brenda’s housemade jams, watermelon pickles and okra pickles. We enjoy a glass of sweet watermelon tea made with black tea, watermelon and Thai basil, while we wait for our table next door.
After a short wait, we sit at our table at Brenda’s. In line with the Southern theme, we order the Beignet Flight, which comes with molten Ghirardelli chocolate, Granny Smith apples and a Crawfish Beignet spiced with cayenne, scallions and cheddar, and a Hangtown Fry (crispy oyster, bacon, scallion scramble with hash and cream biscuit).
3:30 p.m. — B. Patisserie
2821 California St. at Divisadero St. (Pacific Heights)
Owned by pastry chefs Belinda Leong and Michel Suas, everything they make gets rave reviews. But it is their sought-after kouign amann, sugary croissant-like pastry that hails from Brittany, that we are on a mission to try. Still full from brunch, we decide to take it with us for later and carry around our little bags of kouign amann the rest of the day.
4:30 p.m. — State Bird Provisions
1529 Fillmore St. (Western Addition)
One of the most difficult restaurants to get a reservation at, we decide to line up and see what happens. We arrive at 4:30, and there are already at least 30 people ahead of us in line. The doors open at 5:30 p.m. and when we get to the hostess stand, she tells us to return at 7:30 p.m. Perfect!
5:45 p.m. — 15 Romolo
15 Romolo Place (North Beach)
With some time to kill before our reservation at State Bird, we hop in a taxi for a pre-dinner cocktail. Located on the tiny street of Romolo Place, off Broadway St., inside The Basque Hotel, 15 Romolo has been serving craft cocktails for 15 years, yet we had never been. We arrive in time for Happy Hour and start with a Picon Punch and a Pimm’s Cup (ginger syrup brewed by a ginger fairy choice: anything but scotch, Pimm’s, cucumber, mint, lemon juice, ginger, bitters, soda water). The next round comes from the regular menu — Off The Clock (reposado tequila, pear eau-de-vie, ginger, lime, egg white, seltzer, rosemary) and a Socialites & Cigarettes (rye, Carpano Antica, Benedictine, lapsang tea, Angostura bitters, flamed orange).
7:30 p.m. — State Bird Provisions
We return to State Bird and get seats at the counter where we watch the cooks work. With a small selection of “Commandables” that you can order off the menu, the majority of the menu is classified under “Provisions” and are served like dim sum style service with pushcarts and trays. This is great, as you can have a plate in front of you within seconds of sitting at your seat and it doesn’t stop.
10:00 p.m. — Hogs & Rocks
3431 19th St. at Mission (Mission)
Hogs & Rocks is known to be San Francisco’s first ham and oyster bar. We arrive too late for the food (although we were plenty full), but are able to enjoy a few cocktails. With a rotating list of seasonal cocktails, our picks are Son of a Rhubuddha Mint Coolha (Green mark vodka, rhubarb, shiso, yuzu, lemon, mint, ginger) and a Strawberry Balsamic Margarita (Tapatio reposado, strawberries, lime, agave, balsamic reduction, black pepper, mezcal float).
Day 2: Monday
We wake up and see the bags with the kouign amann that we carried around with us all day on Sunday. So, we eat them and are on our way.
10:00 a.m. — Craftsman and Wolves
746 Valencia St. at 18th St. (Mission)
A contemporary patisserie, we have one purpose: “The Rebel Within,” a muffin with asiago, sausage, green onion and a soft cooked farm egg inside. When the muffin is cut in half, a perfectly runny egg is found. We wash it down with a brown rice caramel horchata.
11:00 a.m. — Ritual Coffee
1026 Valencia St. (Mission)
A few blocks away from Craftsman and Wolves is the flagship location of Ritual Coffee, one of the leaders in the coffee revolution in 2005.
1:00 p.m. — Trou Normand
140 New Montgomery St. (Financial District)
A light lunch is in order at the recently opened Trou Normand, the sister restaurant to Bar Agricole. More of a liquid lunch, we enjoy cocktail after cocktail: the Fruit Cup (London gin, lemon, chinato, ginger, soda), House Old Fashioned (single cask cognac, two bitters), Plaza (gin, Italian vermouth, pineapple), and Sleepyhead (Armagnac, ginger, mint, cava). We also order a selection of housemade Salumi (Sage, Thyme, Rosemary and Porcini) and Mortadella with garlic, cinnamon and pistachio. Named for the Norman tradition of taking a small shot of Calvados between courses of food to clear the palate, we finish the meal with some sips of Cognac.
4:00 p.m. — Palace Hotel
2 New Montgomery St. (Financial District)
As we wait for our next stop to open, we make our way to the historic Palace Hotel for a cup of tea and a breather.
5:00 p.m. — Local Edition
691 Market St. (Financial District)
A subterranean cocktail bar hidden beneath Market Street in the historical Hearst building, Local Edition offers a visual tour of the newspaper business in an intimate speakeasy environment. Our selections: Fidel and Che (Denizen rum, aperol, yerba mate syrup, lime, mint, soda water) and Yellow Kid (gin, lemon, dill syrup, Velvet Falernum, Vya dry vermouth, ginger beer).
7:00 p.m. — Verbena
2323 Polk St. (Russian Hill)
Featuring products inspired by local farmers, ranchers and artisan food producers, Chef Sean Baker has created a seasonal California menu that highlights produce. Highlights include the Sprouted Seed Bread,chevre, beet sauerkraut; Beets and Strawberries, black walnut-beet miso, ginger, cress, oxalis; Meatballs braised in black mole, hominy cooked in whey, kale; and Pea Tendril Cake, chamomile ice cream, rhubarb.
10:00 p.m. — The Hideout
3121 16th St. (Mission)
Tucked in the back of the dive bar Dalva, The Hideout is a hidden gem and is the last stop for a final nightcap.
48 hours later, with more than a dozen locations covered, we have managed to literally eat our way through the city, and we walked a lot. The lists have already begun for the next foodie trip.