We’re venturing to the West Coast today, to the place where hearts are left and the Fernet flows freely – beautiful San Francisco, California. The iconic city by the bay is not only a tourist’s dream, it’s food and drink destination, with an abundance of cocktail pioneers and Michelin stars.
When the lights go down in the city…
One of the things I treasure most about being “Daily Blender Jen” is the number of connections I’ve made over the years, both personally and professionally. I first met Mika Takeuchi, aka Food Fashionista, while I was covering the 2009 Vegas Uncork’d weekend in Las Vegas, and over the years, we’ve crossed paths at a number of food and drink soirees across the country. She recently made her way up to Portland for Feast Portland, and it was grand to not only catch up, but to introduce her to my favorite Stumptown spots. Seems only fair to ask for her favorite San Fran spots as well, don’t you think?
Ferry Building Marketplace
1 Ferry Building
You could well spend all day at this San Francisco waterfront food mecca with its multitude of food and drink options including a thrice-weekly Farmers’ market, award-winning restaurants such as the Slanted Door and Hog Island Oyster Company, and sweet local favorites including Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream and Recchiuti Confections.
561 Valencia Street
The key here is to have self-control and not fill up on the tempting Tartine bread so you have room to try many dishes. The unexpected medley of ingredients with a slight Hungarian and Japanese influence via Chefs Nick Balla and Cortney Burns are some of the most unique you’ll find in the city.
547 Haight Street
Like dive bars and craft beer? Then, you’ll love the Toronado. They have an abundant beer selection and offer Pliny the Elder on tap. But just keep in mind, you’re not coming here for the stellar customer service. Enjoy your brew and grab a meaty sausage next door at Rosamunde Sausage Grill.
1747 Buchanan Street
Making homemade manju and Japanese confectionaries since 1906, this is the go-to spot for fresh mochi. In addition to traditional flavors, they also incorporate seasonal fruits such as strawberries and blueberries into the mix. Grab your sweets to go and stroll Japan Town while you’re there. If you’re craving something savory, cross the street for some all-you-can eat Shabu Shabu at Café Mums.
Swan Oyster Depot
1517 Polk Street
Expect to encounter a lengthy line for the limited counter seats, but the time spent is worth it for a historic San Francisco seafood experience. Yes, you’ll find fresh-shucked oysters but so much more to try including the Dungeness crab salad and the still-alive sea urchin.
R & G Lounge
631 Kearny Street
You can’t visit San Francisco without indulging in some Chinese fare. Whatever you do, don’t skip out on the Baked Black Cod. One bite and you’ll know why it’s one of their in demand signature items.
Born in Tokyo and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Mika Takeuchi is an entrepreneur, creator and published author who has had a passion for dining, art and travel since she was a young child. In addition to writing, traveling, getting lost in nature, seeing live music, and drawing, she keeps herself busy as a digital media and branding consultant working with everyone from Mondavi to Michelin. You can keep up with her dining explorations on her site, Food Fashionista, or follow her never-ending food moments on Instagram and Twitter.
*Photo credit, San Francisco: Mika Takeuchi
*Photo credit, additional photos: Jennifer Heigl / Daily Blender