If you have been following me on Instagram, you will know that I have been taking a tour of sunny California. We started our trip in foggy San Francisco. A historic city that is famed for its iconic architecture, earthquakes and delicious food. During our five days we ate and drank non stop whilst pounding the pavements and exploring everything the bay area had to offer. Whilst there are a multitude of great places to eat in SF, we didn’t have time to hit them all up but I wanted to share with you our favourites. Just one word of warning the San Francisco Bay area is pricey when it comes to food, in fact it is one of the most expensive cities I have every travelled to, so plan carefully if you are on a budget.
1. China Town – I know we had just flown in from Asia but I had to go check out China Town. And boy was I glad we did (even with the hill climb) as we had the most incredible dim sum from Good Mong Kok Bakery. The bakery itself is just a tiny shop to go, with a huge menu on the back wall. Everything was super cheap, just try and go in the morning as we arrived after lunch to find them out of quite a lot of items including my favourite BBQ pork buns which they are famed for. However while we were disappointed to miss out on the pork buns, the pork shao mai and prawn hargow made up for it. We ended up with 8 dumplings, two kinds of scallion breads and some noodles and paid just over $11 for our goodies, so it is crazy cheap. Since there is no seating in the place, we walked down to Washington Square Park to enjoy it picnic style, which also allowed us to have little stroll through Little Italy where we picked up some cannoli for dessert. It was the perfect alfresco lunch.
2. Half Moon Bay – You can’t come to California without spending some time on the coast. We headed down to the little town of Princeton, just along from Half Moon Bay. We came across Barbara’s Fishtrap which was too cute not to eat at. Despite the long lunch queue outside we managed to get a seat within 20 minutes so sat down to a bowl of their award winning clam chowder in a bread bowl, this is not to be missed. Neither is the calamari which was fried food goodness. Lastly we had to check out the Dungeness crab sandwich which according to Linus Kim of Linus’ Bama BBQ was a must eat in SF. The only item we didn’t really care for was the mussels, but all the other items were delicious including the key lime cheese cake which we split at the end. There were also cheap bottles of beer and glasses of wine on offer. With drinks and food for four it worked out to around $120 which we thought to be really reasonable considering how full we all were.
3. Spark Social – When exploring a new city I am always down to check out a food truck park. Spark Social in Mission Bay was a very charming spot. There was a huge variety of different food trucks hosting food from every continent. We got breakfast from Spro which is very popular for its unique coffees. We tried the Cold Fashioned $6, a coffee made with cold brew coffee, orange bitters, flamed orange twist and a maraschino cherry which my Chubby Hubby adored. To eat we got the Sousvide Eggs on Toast with Bacon $11. While rather on the pricey side it was the perfect breakfast to set us up for a day of food crawling. If we didn’t have so many other restaurants to visit that day, it would have made an amazing day drinking spot to hang out in as all the trucks seemed to sell booze. There were even fire pits for when it gets cold.
4. Ferry Building – One of the most famous places to eat in San Francisco is in the market in the Ferry Building. On Saturdays they have a huge fresh food market, but if you arrive on a week day like us there is still plenty to see. The main building itself is massive and is filled with artisanal shops selling all kinds of fancy foods, plus little cafes and restaurants. One of the most famous spots is Hog Island Oyster Company, where they sell a huge variety of local oysters and I’m told an amazing clam chowder. We tried the Sweet water Oysters which were $19, expensive but by far the best oysters I have ever eaten in my life. If you are in the mood for something sweet after do not miss out on Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream. OMG was that ice cream good, we got the Brown Butter Ice Cream $4.75 and seriously regretted not making it a double; it was so tasty.
5. New England Lobster Market & Eatery – Okay so I’m not usually one to head in to a sketchy neighbourhood near an airport to get food, but this place was too good to not mention, even if it did involve a rather dodgy walk over a freeway bridge to get to it. If you have a layover at SFO Airport then this is a must for sure. As the name suggests it is both a market and restaurant where you can buy all manner of freshly caught seafood. We were most interested in the Lobster Rolls $19 which were absolutely delicious. Since it was happy hour (3pm-6pm) we got a couple of Shrimp Tacos $3 too. Along with a Lobster Cocktail $14, beers $6 and a half bottle of wine. They even have a couple of cocktails on the menu and there is seating inside and out. It was the perfect meal to end our trip. However if you aren’t driving I’d avoid walking from Millbrae station and just get an Uber or a taxi.
Wine Country – Just north of San Francisco is wine country, most famously Napa and Sonoma. You’ll find every bar in the city serving locally produced wines but if you love to drink then hitting up a few of the wineries is not to be missed. We ended up doing a wine tour in Sonoma, see my full review here.