Dammit, this still isn’t about Seoul despite my promises. Unfortunately work is kicking in and I haven’t had time to grab the pictures I need… Argh.
So this one is about SF which I visited a couple of weeks ago for under 36 hours on the way to Rifle Colorado (long story) and like any sensible person who likes a combination of great weather with the backdrop of a smell of pee (if you have visited you will understand), I fell in love with it.
For some reason the visit turned into an ultimate hipster trip despite having done no planning and just thinking I would spend the weekend floating around Golden Gate bridge or something (I didn’t quite realise where it was in relation to the overall city).
It began with Bluebottle coffee which I had only vaguely heard of before. Jen said she had a great friend – Tess – who lived in San Francisco and worked at Bluebottle (as a pastry chef) and I could stay with her in the Mission. And I was like “ok”. Little did I realise this was basically like been given a free transferable tattoo, a cool haircut and a really tight pair of skinny jeans. It rocked. Tess’ blog about SF culture and beauty is here.
So let’s start with the coffee, as that and the silky relaxed vibe in SF is what wowed me the most. SF has a lot of world class coffee places places and I hit as many as I can find. The best of the bunch were:
- Bluebottle coffee – the SF MOMA branch has a nice roof terrace but I love the original hole in the wall at 315 Linden St (between Gough St & Octavia St) in Hayes Valley as it is ghetto perfect. That said the SF MOMA branch does super cool “Banquet Events” with alcohol, cake and music which you should try to go to (details here).
- Four Barrel coffee – the coffee here is plain wow and they have a nice bike rack out front. What topped it off perfectly was the fact that you can get a Dynamo donut at the same time. I would get very fat and caffeinated if I loved near here.
- Ritual coffee roasters – this is one of the original best in class SF coffee shops. Whilst I liked the shop on Valencia I though the container store in Hayes Valley was better as it wasn’t full of WiFi indulging slow drinking internet leeches.
Thereafter it was The Mission. Well, kinda. Everybody talks about The Mission and how it is such a cool area and they love to hang out there but they don’t mean “The Mission”; they mean “The Valencia”, the parralel street to Mission Street where all the white people and cool stores are whilst Mission Street itself is full of Mexican people and pawn shops (and much better food).
Still The Valencia rocks, it is full of small boutique shops with expensive American made products. And right at the start of the Valencia is the ultimate hipster dive bar – Zeitgeist. Basically unless you can skid stop a fixie with no hands or have a f-off big motorbike you probably aren’t cool enough to be in there.
Still, they do one of the best Bloody Mary’s I have ever had in my life so go there anyway. Their burgers, whilst not pretty, are everything a dirt-tastic American burger should be. The other great food options in the Mission can be summed up as:
- “visit Delfina Pizzeria”; and
- “eat Mexican”.
Deflina is a fairly famous SF pizzeria and I have to say it deserves to be. It is no Lucalli (the height of US pizzas for me) but it is a damn fine effort. This is classy, clever pizza. If you fancy something a bit dirtier, Tony’s Coal Fired Pizzas are inspired on that front.
We tried a few fancier food options (including Deflina’s new fancy Italian – Locanda) but well, I’m a spoilt European and they were underwhelming. For me with Amercian food is rarely world class apart from when it revels in its base nature or it is… MEXICAN.
Mexican food, just wow. And in any US city it is pretty simple to know where to go. Ignore the blogs, fire up Yelp, look at the best starred place, look at the pictures and go there. So to Tacqueria – amazing. Best food I had in over two weeks in the US. 1 millionth of the price of everything else. The Republicans should be damn glad border with Mexico is wide and it is porous as without it…