San Francisco: The Food
Alright, it’s time for me to tell you about the other part of my San Francisco trip – the food. (If you missed part 1, you can read about it here.) When I wasn’t all business…
… I could be found doing one of three things: shopping, sight-seeing, or eating. I’ll just start off by saying that the food was nothing short of amazing. Prior to leaving home I’d plotted out a few restaurants that I thought would be good, but because we were provided with meals as part of the conference, there weren’t enough eating-out occasions to get to them all. However, the conference food was great so I wasn’t complaining.
The breakfast served was the same each morning, but this was totally fine by me. It included a bunch of baked goods (banana bread, muffins, cranberry loaf, etc.) toast, bagels, yogurt, and my personal favourite, very large platters of this:
I may have eaten my body weight in honeydew melon over the last week. It was delicious! There were also individual-sized Kashi cereals, and I was all over those too.
(x4 on the fruit…. there were many laps to the buffet done each morning!)
I arrived last Tuesday at noon, and I already knew where I was going for lunch. Having just sat on a plane for 5 hours, my bod was craving some wholesome veggies and my fix was found at Mixt Greens.
If you’ve ever been to Freshii (or Lettuce), Mixt Greens is a restaurant with a very similar concept. They have several suggested sandwich and salad combos on the menu, but you can also build your own salad with a ton of different ingredients like roasted red peppers, various raw veggies, seeds and nuts, caramelized onions, olives, artichokes, cheeses, corn, meats, tofu, edamame… the list goes on!
I chose a base of mixt greens (or mesclun mix, as it’s labeled in stores) with edamame sunflower seeds, hearts of palm, and a ton of other vegetables. Unfortunately they were out of the seared ahi tuna, or else I’d have been all over it.
Cravings for greens: Satisfied.
Later on Tuesday night, I was in charge of picking our dinner destination. Since Greg, my co-worker, had never been to or heard of Whole Foods, I made an executive decision and did the necessary Googling to get us there.
The inside looked very similar to Whole Foods at home…
…but the salad bar didn’t appear to have as much as we have at the Canadian locations I’ve visited. There were fewer grain-based salads and unfortunately they didn’t have the Edamame Caviar or the Detox Salad, but I certainly didn’t leave disappointed. (Apologies for the very yellow/green lighting in this next picture!) My dinner included a sturdy layer of greens, steamed zucchini, tuna, carrots, red bell peppers, red onion, shredded chicken breast, and mushrooms. A mess, if you will, but a tasty one, doused in balsamic vinaigrette.
Rather than collecting souvenirs on trips, I’m beginning to think it would be more fun to try to visit as many different Whole Foods locations as possible before I die. Anyone up for joining me on a tour?
That night, it was time for another restaurant visit. This time, we headed to Chinatown. We’d heard from several other conference attendees that R&G Lounge was an absolute must-see in San Francisco. More specifically, if you want to eat a deep-fried crab the size of your head, it’s the place to get it. As soon as Greg heard about this famous crab deal, he was convinced we needed to go.
That is it. And I’m not exaggerating, it really was the size of my head. He opted for the very clever strategy of removing all of the shells and placing them in a bucket while keeping the crab meat in a nice little pile on his plate, to be devoured when all shelling was complete. It was a lot of work, but he finally enjoyed the fruits (or meats?) of his labour.
As for me, knowing that my stomach doesn’t cope well with fried things, I opted for the steamed rock cod, which I assumed would arrive as a fillet. But this was oh so not the case. Instead, I received 1 1/2 pounds of cod – head, eyes, tail, skin and all. You can’t really see it, but there is fear in the eyes below (and by that I mean mine – not the ones on the fish.)
I’m pleased to report that I handled the situation like a pro. I skinned the fish with my fork and slid the meat off the bones until every last little bit was gone.
To be very honest, once I got over the scales and the eyes, it was delicious! I can now cross “eat a fish with head and tail still in tact in Chinatown” off my bucket list… not that I’m sure it was on it in the first place.
The cod wasn’t my only seafood adventure. Many of you told me about the Farmers Markets in the Embarcadero District, and after having read countless reviews and recaps from last year’s Foodbuzz conference (that sadly I won’t be attending this year), it was another top priority for my visit. After visiting Alcatraz at Pier 33, we took the cable car down to the Ferry Building at Pier 1. I’ll let the photos do the talking.
What about that seafood encounter I mentioned earlier? It was an oyster, my very first oyster to be precise.
The vendor told me that the ones on the left behind the clams were more on the sweet side, whereas the monstrous ones on the right were more briny and strong in taste. I opted for the sweet ones, just to be safe. I had no idea how to start, so Greg instructed me to use a wooden stick to detach the slimy bit from the shell, then slurp it back. And I did.
I let it sit in my mouth for a few seconds to get a sense of the taste, and I’m on the fence as to whether or not I liked it. It wasn’t bad, but I can’t say it’s seafood that I’m dying to eat again. To wash it down, we found a fantastic juice bar a few shops over.
My order was the Sunrise juice, a blend of carrot, apple and ginger. Typically I’m more of a smoothie gal, but this juice was absolutely delicious.
After all of our sampling and juice drinking, we walked all the way up to the Fisherman’s Wharf at Pier 39. After spending some time there and cabbing over to the Full House house (more details on this in yesterday’s post) we headed back to the downtown area near our hotel for an early dinner. Our flight wasn’t until 9:50, but we decided to eat and get to the airport early just to be safe. After considering a few options, we both decided that our Thai dinner at Ar Roi on the first night of the trip was so amazing that we should go back. What did we order?
If you’re thinking those fresh spring rolls look familiar, you’d be correct. We ordered the exact same meals we’d eaten on the first night because they really were that good. Red snapper in spicy red curry and sweet basil sauce with a large side of veggies for me!
After dinner, we were off to the airport. After having spent the majority of the day on my feet, I was pretty much sleep walking by the time we got there. I’d already passed out before the plane left the runway, and slept the entire 5-hour plane ride and 1-hour car trip back home.
And that, friends, is my first trip to San Francisco in food. We’ve got a whopping high of 12 degrees Celsius today, and am already missing the California sun!
Questions for today:
- What’s the best restaurant you’ve ever been to while visiting another city/state/province/country?
- Oysters: fan or not?