I had the good fortune to be asked to speak at a pediatric health conference in San Francisco in June. Due to the childcare generosity of my parents, my husband Mike met up with me, and we spent four glorious adult nights in SF and Sonoma Valley.
The first night, I randomly ate crab at Lou’s Fish Shack on Fisherman’s Wharf. I discovered that Fisherman’s Wharf has turned into the Times Square of San Francisco. But that’s ok.
It made sense to me to eat crab chowder out of a sourdough bread bowl. I also ate the feet off of this sourdough turtle from Boudin Bakery.
The Ferry Building Marketplace is the best.
Cowgirl Creamery is a true delight. I walked around there, sniffing cheese like a cheese perv.
I have a tradition of booking a food tour in every major city I visit. This is a very clever way to eat my way through a new neighbourhood. This time it was the Mission District, with Avital Tours. Harley Adams was our entertaining culinary guide. We drank bourbon early in the morning, slurped oysters at Hog and Rocks, happily consumed American artisan cheese at Mission Cheese, and licked salted caramel ice cream at Bi-Rite Creamery. My favourite food was the empanadas at Venga Empanadas, which were hand-made by a heavily-tattooed gentleman in the hot sweaty kitchen in the back.
What was special about Avital Tours was that Harley had a friendly and authentic rapport with the owners and chefs of the food establishments. I didn’t feel like an apologetic cheesy tourist, even once.
Later that night, we joined up with the conference faculty at Slanted Door for a generous dinner for the speakers and organizers. I have written about Slanted Door before. Last time, I ate alone; this time I was in a crowd of 40, and was subject to a continuous loop of family-style food and red wine. It was quite glorious. Again, my favourite was the crab with cellophane noodles.
Then, we ventured up to Sonoma County for biscuits and gravy in breakfast in Sonoma at the Fremont Diner. As recommended by Conan O’Brien: Conan O’Brien Just had the best breakfast of my life. Sorry, Mom. http://bit.ly/1281Lzu When Conan speaks, we listen.