Tag Archives: California

Belated: San Francisco Food Recap

I’ve been meaning to write a recap about all the delicious food I ate while in San Francisco, but as the days and weeks (and now months) passed, I completely forgot. But after being reminded multiple times, I’m finally doing it! Better late than never, right?

After our fun trip in Disneyland, we took a 45 minute plane ride up to San Francisco to spend a few days before heading home. When it comes to trip planning I like to stick to what I know: food, and I leave the rest up to everyone else. So, prior to the trip I spent some time looking up restaurants, per the usual, and was thrilled with the amount of vegetarian and vegan restaurants I found with glowing reviews, along with tons of other restaurants and must-do suggestions. I knew going into this half of the trip that the majority of it would be spent doing two things: walking, and eating.

We arrived in San Francisco mid-day, so after a quick check-in at the Intercontinental San Francisco, we headed to Fisherman’s Wharf via trolley. Riding the trolley was simultaneously super cool and kind of terrifying. I couldn’t help but think of my mom who would have been mildly terrified to know I was hanging off the side of the trolley mere inches away from parked cars as it flew up and down the rolling hills of San Fran, controlled only by a man pulling and pushing levers. Mildly dramatic, but the truth (though not nearly as terrifying in real life as it would be for a mother thinking about it, I’m sure).

Lombard St!

Lombard St!

After spending some time walking around and admiring the tons of seals, we decided to have dinner at Pier Market Sustainable Seafood Restaurant, overlooking the bay. I started off the meal with an Anchor Steam beer since it’s a San Francisco institution, and devoured the pesto penne seen below. There is blackened swordfish on top that I didn’t eat, but I was told it was delicious… and I don’t doubt it was considering how awesome the pasta was. When we got our receipt, I noticed there was a note suggesting a trip to the Biscoff Coffee stand the pier nearby. Being completely obsessed with Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter and Biscoff Spread, I knew I had to get over there for dessert, immediately. I ordered a Biscoff latte, and it was as delicious as I had hoped, and helped warm me up since it was windy and quite cool for an early September evening (for me). After that we headed back to the hotel for an early night, and were up nice and early for the next day of fun.

Pasta at Pier Market Sustainable Fish

Delicious pasta!

One place I knew I needed to get to quickly was the Ferry Building, which is why I started my day there. It came highly recommended to me by a bunch of people, so I knew I had to get there early in the trip to make sure I had enough time. I absolutely loved the Ferry building! It was awesome – food, little shops, and they have a farmer’s market there on the weekend. I had a breakfast of Blue Bottle Coffee, and Cowgirl Creamery toasties. I’ve had Blue Bottle Coffee before in NYC, so I knew I had to have it in it’s birthplace. And, as someone who absolutely loves cheese, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have food from creamery! I ordered the cheddar toasties, which were two pieces of perfectly crunchy and chewy bread topped with grain mustard and melted cheddar cheese. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Blue Bottle Coffee

Blue Bottle Coffee, the best!

In addition to grabbing breakfast, I saw an adorable canvas tote bag with birds all over it that I had to get, and I also picked up some chocolate for a friend (and myself) from Recchiuti Confections. Before leaving I decided to get a second coffee from Peet’s, to make sure I was sampling all the different kinds of coffee the locals love. We walked past the America’s Cup, and made our way to the Painted Ladies, which was another must-do on the list.

Painted Ladies

Painted Ladies!

I must admit, this trip was so long ago (over three months), that I don’t remember the exact order of events for each day, but that isn’t what this post is about – it’s all about the food!

One day we decided to venture to the Mission District with only one goal: a mission burrito. After scouring Yelp and Foursquare, we decided on Taqueria El Farolito. As soon as I looked at the menu I knew exactly what I was getting… they had a burrito with a chile relleno stuffed inside! The burrito was huge, and everything I could have dreamed it would be. And now that I’ve written about it, I want one.

Mission Burrito!

Mission Burrito!

After letting the mound of fried burrito deliciousness settle in my stomach, at the recommendation of a bunch of friends we headed to Monk’s Kettle for dinner. This is a (very small) gastropub that has so many beers to choose from it can be kind of overwhelming. Thankfully the waiters and waitresses as well as bartenders are more than happy to help you pick out a beer. I zeroed in on a beer that I’d heard so much about and knew I could only get on the west coast, Russian River Brewing Company’s Pliny The Elder.

Scranton Swimming box in the background!

Scranton Swimming box in the background!

It was as awesome as everyone said, and it helped ease the pain of having to wait an hour for a table in a small restaurant. And I should mention that while I don’t have any pictures of the food, it was phenomenal. We had a cheese plate (heaven) to start, and I went with their chickpea and spelt veggie burger. I couldn’t have been happier with the entire experience, and riding the bus home later at night is always fun and filled with characters.

Strikin' a pose at the Golden Gate Bridge

Strikin’ a pose at the Golden Gate Bridge

The second to last day involved being super touristy with a trip to the Golden Gate Bridge and a breakfast burrito at the little Warming Hut that was actually really delicious! After a lot of walking around, we refueled at Source, a vegetarian/vegan restaurant that wasn’t too far from our hotel. I ordered the Hummus platter and paired it with a house made kombucha, which were both awesome. I wanted to try everything on the menu, but resolved myself to grabbing a vegan twinkie on the way out instead of getting a second meal.

Hummus plate with falafel

Hummus plate with falafel

Our final day was spent up in Sonoma and Napa Valley, stopping at a few wineries. I had two favorites; Cline Cellars because their wines were phenomenal (we bought some to bring home with us – if you’re ever there, try their Cashmere wines), and V. Sattui Winery because they had an awesome little deli where you could buy food and then just sit outside and relax with wine. Also, the Jacuzzi Family Vineyards (yes, the same family that invented THE jacuzzi) has a little shop inside their main tasting building called The Olive Press that has tons of different kinds of fresh olive oils and balsamic vinegars. As soon as I locked eyes with their jalapeno olive oil I knew I had to have it. It was so good I bought a bottle to bring home with me, and have been babying it every since.

Jalapeño olive oil

Jalapeño olive oil

Before I knew it, it was time to pack up and head home. It was so fun to spend the majority of this trip based around delicious food… and I feel like I didn’t even crack the surface of the San Francisco food scene!  But at least that’s a good excuse to have to go back.

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Filed under Food Review, Restaurant, Vegetarian/Vegan

Breakfast for Dinner: Monte Cristo style!

I had my first Monte Cristo sandwich my freshman year of college. We were on a training trip to Mission Veijo, California and in between practices one day a few teammates and I ventured to a restaurant near the hotel called Sugar Shack. After we discovered that place I think at least 5 members of the team were there for lunch every day.

University of Scranton Swim Team '04-'05 in California

*Sorry guys, I just had to post this. Just a little nostalgia!

I was never a big breakfast person, but it’s slowly been growing on me. The Monte Cristo is a good middle ground dish; it’s a little breakfast with the French toast style bread, and also lunch/dinner-like with the ham and cheese.

I found this particular recipe on Serious Eats‘s “Dinner Tonight” section and took out the strawberry preserves and mustard. I’d never heard of either on that particular sandwich, and I’m not big on jelly and my fiancé won’t eat mustard (or mayo). I also couldn’t find gruyere cheese at ShopRite – their cheese display is confusing. I did, however, find chipotle Gouda so I snagged that. I know Gouda isn’t the best for melting, but since it’s my all time favorite cheese, I didn’t care.

After a solid 3.1 miles regretfully on the treadmill (thanks a lot mother nature!) I set to work on the sandwiches. The recipe didn’t specify what type of bread to use, so at the store on Monday I grabbed a big crusty loaf of Italian bread. I cut the slices on the thicker side, to make it a little gourmet looking. I cut a few slices of the chipotle gouda, and added about a slice and a half of smoked ham. In terms of the French toast part, I followed the instructions for the mixture and ran with it. Since I know gouda isn’t the best melty cheese (thank you Bobby Flay’s Throw Down episode on grilled cheese), after I cooked them on each side to a golden crisp, I threw them in the oven for 5 minutes to assist in the melting.

We paired the sandwiches with some tater tots and a salad, and we were stuffed. We had plans to tackle another cupcake from Monday, but we were just too full.

Even though I’m not a huge breakfast fan (gasp!) I would absolutely make this again. It’s definitely the type of recipe you can play with in terms of different ham and cheese types, and I like that flexibility! Now if only I could transfer that flexibility to my legs. Boy they’re tight!

Monte Cristo
– Serves 2 –

Ingredients:
4 slices bread
Mustard
6 slices ham
2 slices gruyere cheese
2 eggs
2 tablespoon milk
Pinch of cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons butter
2 teaspoons powdered sugar
2 tablespoons strawberry jam

Directions:
1. Smear some mustard on two slices of bread. Top each with three slices of ham, one slice of cheese, and a slice of bread.
2. Whisk together the egg, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla in a shallow pan.
3. Dip each sandwich into the egg mixture, making sure to evenly coat both sides.
4. Add the butter to a large skillet set over medium heat. When melted, add the sandwiches and cook on both sides until browned.
5. Sprinkle with the sugar, and serve with the strawberry jam.

Happy breakfast, lunch, and dinner nomzing!

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Filed under Breakfast, Recipe