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San Francisco, eats and sights

Great food, clean streets and friendly bums. What’s not to like about San Fran?

Linda and I recently went a short trip to the United States. It was our first time visiting the country and its left a lasting impression on us. We visited both New York and San Francisco, both amazing cities with contrasting cultures, people and life styles.

We only had two and a half days in San Francisco meaning we didn’t have much time to do much.  Instead, we kinda winged this part of the trip but still managed to fit in a nice ride over the Golden Gate Bridge and a few decent feeds here and there.

Golden Gate Bridge

It’s a touristy thing to do, but I reckon the scenic bike road over the bridge is a mandatory part of anyone itinerary. It takes at least 2-3 hours, but the ride goes through several parks, along blue waters and then finally over the bridge which involves dodging tourists and fog.

Better yet, you can try doing jet star-like poses.

This is a common sight in San Fran, tall buildings with New York like stair cases on the outside. I can imagine this coming handy when needing to borrow sugar from the neighbour.

Lombard Street

Lombard Street is an east-west street in San Francisco and is famous for its steepness. Its quite easy to get to, just hop on the tram from downtown and its a 15-20 minute ride. Its also walking distance to Fisherman’s Wharf, another tourist trap spot.

Breakfast, Farm Table

After receiving a tip off from a reliable source, we spent most our mornings having breakfast at a downtown cafe called Farm Table. You’d be hard pressed to find better coffee and breakfast in the downtown area. The menu changes every day and the only way to find out what noms they are serving is to follow their Twitter account.

Macchiato

Full bodied, rich and a nice change from the caramel “macchiato” which everyone seems to order from Starbucks. This was the best coffee I had in the US, even trumping New York.

Eggs over baguette, pureed spinach, royal trumpet mushrooms, peas

Eggs over baguette, ham, spinach

Lunch, In & Out Burger and Tacos

Cheeseburger

Just putting it out there, one of the best burgers I’ve ever tasted. A few reasons:

  • Made fresh, on the spot. You can see them putting your burger together, even if it is by someone who looks like Gary Coleman.
  • Meat is cooked to order, with cheese put on top of the meat patty during cooking
  • You can specify how you want your chips cooked. well? well done? soft?
  • Cheap. You can get a meal with chips and drink for maybe $6 US?

Tacos on Mission Street.

After eating tacos in San Francisco, it makes me wonder how Mexican food in Sydney got to where it is currently. The tacos on Mission st are on another level, packed full of flavour and fillings. In addition, they are cheap as chips with most average at $2.50 US each taco.

Dinner

Incanto

Once again another tip off from a reliable source, Incanto exceeded all expectations.

The highlight was the seared foi gras dish below which was a daily special. Delicately seared foi gras with toasted macadamias and raw mushrooms.

Simplicity, freshness, kick ass-ness.

Boccalone salumi platter

What makes this salumi platter is the house made pickled vegetables and roast garlic. Melt in your mouth meats, crunchy and acidic pickles and a gentle crush of roasted garlic left us contemplating getting a second serving of this entree, which was more the size of a main.

Commonwealth

Described as a “progressive American Restaurant’, we could see why. We initially didn’t have this restaurant on our radar but I somehow spotted it through the corner of my eye whilst looking for more Taco’s on Mission st, in San Francisco’s Mission District.

crispy young hen, carrots cooked in hay, marble potatoes, dill, buttermilk mousse

lemon sponge cake, thyme ice cream, candied honey, créme fraîche *

San Francisco has a little bit of Sydney and a little bit of Melbourne. One thing I did notice was the abundance of bums roaming the streets. They were harmless, but it was interesting to see the contrast of a beautiful city (albeit being only in Downtown) and the issue of homeless people and how it was being managed.

We only had two days in San Francisco, but I wouldn’t hesitate to return to perhaps check out Sonoma or Napa Valley. I better get that French Laundry reservation in asap.

19 Comments

  1. Love how Farm Table changes its menu every day – you’d never get sick of eating there (judging by the pictures anyway)! I have a friend who raves about In&Out burger, but I never really knew the details. Now after your post I’ll keep on the lookout for it next time I’m in the US. Your pictures are stunning too!

  2. In and Out burgers FTW!

    I’m glad you found good coffee, I was such a coffee snob when I was in the states, damn to the percolated coffee crap.

    I loved SF, and it was a shame you couldn’t spend a longer time there. Loved every moment of the bike ride throughout SF and across the Golden Gates. Did you go down the hill after the bridge into the next town. So awesome going about 40kph down that hill and fearing hitting cars or falling into rocky ditches.

    I need to go back there! Can’t wait to read your NYC adventures!

  3. ang

    Great pictures! Great choice in restaurants…I havent tried farm table or incanto but that is next on my list when I return to sf for good. I am very homesick right now in London and I miss the charm and the scale of sf.

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