Monday, December 27, 2010

Voyager Bien: Weekending in Urban San Francisco

While I was in the bay area for Foodbuzz Fest last month I had the unexpected pleasure of staying with two of my best friends from the Northwest who had recently transplanted themselves in San Francisco's surly Tenderloin district. The urban dwelling was a far cry from their bungalow in Portland, and a new view of the city for me as well.
Always amazing hosts, a handwritten cocktail menu awaited my arrivial! Casey muddles with the best of them and her Lemongrass Mojito was supreme.
What a welcome.
For morning coffee Catherine (also a blogger) lead me through the drizzle to a nearby outpost of the Mission staple Philz Coffee. The Turkish coffee here is served to go, not in a tiny china cup, and surpassed any expectations. My frothy cardomom blend came topped with a mint leaf and was an aromatic delight.
Exploring the neighborhood by day provided some stark contrasts sans creatures of the night, historical downtown storefronts and sleepy neon signage imbuing the streets with charm.
Wandering into Nob Hill, the Swan Oyster Depot (1517 Polk St.) caught my attention, a line outside on the sidewalk patiently waited for a spot at the crowded bar inside, gorgeous fresh seafood in the window explaining why. On my list for next time...
Down Polk, at the hip dive Hemlock Tavern a lovely lass called Kelly tends bar - One of the city's finest.
 A few BART stops away, we walked the streets of the culture-rich Mission.
I dug the interiors at Therapy's furniture and decor shop.
I always pop into Little Otsu and The Curiosity Shoppe on Valencia for artful gifts.
Upon deciding to make a big pot of pozolé, Catherine suggested a stop at iconic Bi-Rite Market for supplies.
I cursed my full belly when we passed the neighboring Bi-Rite Creamery and Bake Shop, brown sugar and honey lavender begging for my attention...
Another icon delivered a primo afternoon delight - An "original" Irish Coffee at The Buena Vista. Our server was as old as the drink itself, the strong concoction fueling a brisk walk up the hill and all the way back to the Tenderloin.
Back at the homestead, Catherine brewed us each a cup of pick-me-up (so much coffee!) and introduced me to her "patio" - with a world class view. I wouldn't have rather been anywhere else.

Philz Coffee
748 Van Ness Ave. San Francisco, CA 94102; 415.292.7660

The Buena Vista
2765 Hyde St. San Francisco, CA 94109; 415.474.5044

Bi-Rite Market
3639 18th St. San Francisco, CA 94110; 415.241.9760

Bi-Rite Creamery and Bake Shop
3692 18th St. San Francisco, CA 94110; 415.626.5600

1 comment:

  1. There are a lot of sweet photos in here, but I think my favorite is the one of Cat sitting on the fire escape. Classic.

    Hand written Cocktail menu! Amazing. Especially "Beer in Can"