I can safely say that I've tried bagels from every single shop that bakes their own bagels on premises in San Francisco and East Bay. I didn't begin this quest hoping to find greatness, but a few bagels stood out from the pack. Bagels that are more than just bits of round bread. Bagels with properly crackly-crisp crusts with dense centers. Bagels that have soul.
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I visited over two dozen torta shops and taquerias in my search, and while so-so sandwiches abounded, they only made the great ones—and there were quite a few great ones—stand out even more.
When it comes to cheap eats, there's no comparison: Oakland's budget food scene beats San Francisco's offerings across the board. We got on the BART and ate for days, focusing on savory bites for $5 or less that were especially satisfying—more than just a handful of popcorn or a well-made cookie. What we found was awesome: soulful Mexican comfort food, complex Sichuan creations, killer bánh mì, and of course, more than a few excellent tacos.
I moved to San Francisco from New York a few months ago, and it's been fantastic. But despite it all, there's one thing I've been missing: A good New York-style slice of pizza. And I'm not talking a sit-down-at-the-table-order-and-wait-thirty-minutes type of slice. I'm talking the kind of slice that you grab on your way out of the train station or late at night while stumbling home from the bar. The kind of slice that can be hot and in your hands for a couple of bucks and a wait of no longer than five minutes. Luckily, it turns out there is great pizza by the slice in San Francisco. You've just gotta know where to look. I visited over 30 pizzerias and tasted over 40 slices of pizza to find the best in San Francisco and the East Bay.
I asked the Tartine crew if they'd let me behind the scenes a bit to learn about what makes Tartine's sweets and loaves so special. The results: this guide to pretty much every darn thing their kitchen creates, and the scoop on what's next for the San Francisco bakery. Hint: it involves pizza.
I asked Brett Cooper (formerly of Outerlands) for his San Francisco favorites: the bites he returns to again and again. Here are his picks, from breakfast to burgers to late night kimchi fried rice.
I may no longer be a New Yorker, but I am a die hard fan of the New York hot dog. Aside from a good slice of pizza, it's the thing I'll undoubtedly miss most at my new home on the West Coast. But as a recent (and permanent) Bay Area resident, I know that unless I'm making them myself, I'd better start scouring those supermarket shelves for a worthy hot dog to become my new go-to. Here's what we found.
SF Chefs celebrated its fifth anniversary as one of the city's favorite food festivals. The 2013 Grand Tasting Tent saw leading local restaurants prove why the Bay Area rocks the culinary world.
Locals and tourists mob San Francisco's historic Ferry Building for awesome food with locavore flare. We're taking a tour with stops at our favorite vendors.
From home brewing and Thai cooking classes to foraging walks and farmers markets, the San Francisco Bay Area has dozens of events on offer for food lovers of all stripes. See what's on the calendar for the next two weeks.
From hand pulled noodles doused in a savory sesame paste sauce, to a bowl of Chinese bacon and smoked peppers, to tender Afghan mantoo dumplings, Chinatown's offerings go far beyond the wide ranging variety of Chinese cuisines. Thai, Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Middle Eastern restaurants all hold court here.
Oakville Grocery is almost as much a Napa institution as the rolling fields of wine grapes that surround it. A gourmet grocery-store-cum-sandwich-spot, Oakville has long been a destination for wine country picnickers and limo tours in need of sustenance in the middle of a long day of tasting. We recently tried all the sandwiches on their menu, and then took a tour of nearby Rudd Farms, which provides much of the grocery's goods directly.
Cheap oysters, BYO beverages, beach setup, and water views? Tomales Bay Oyster Company has it all. Here's a look at one of the cheaper, more fun ways I know to knock back a few dozen oysters.
It began as a hobby, with a musical nickname bestowed upon him by satisfied diners. Informed by years on the road that involved making pizza for musicians from Naples, music manager Greg DiGiovine was slowly consumed by his alter ego, Tony Tutto.
Mozzeria is a great spot for Neapolitan pizzas, both traditional and imaginative. They do everything right by using the best oven, wood, and ingredients. But what sets them apart is that the owners and many of the craftspeople and waitstaff involved in building and running the place are Deaf.
Piccino provides a most inviting setting for a lunch of salad, pizza, and a glass of wine. Yet if the Margherita mostly fulfills the promise of the ambiance, the more daring topping combinations can prove quite jarring.
San Francisco pizzaiola Sharon Ardiana makes her money turning out pies with unorthodox toppings, yet the ingredient list on her pie that most lingers in my memory would almost be at home in your corner slice shop. The Atomica pizza that Ardiana serves at Gialina arrives covered in tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, strips of mushroom, and some red onion. She also adds some chili—not enough to go thermo-nuclear, just a gentle heat that ties together the sweet of the sauce, the bite of the onion, and the earthy mushroom flavors. I've called her a topping wizard in the past, and that certainly holds true on this pie.
If you're looking to take advantage of one of the few true summer days in the Bay Area, and wouldn't mind enjoying a slice of wood-fired pizza along with your vitamin D, Bar Bocce's patio might be right up your alley.
Delarosa, while still a great exemplar of the power of seasonal, fresh ingredients on pizza, falls short of its two predecessors. This isn't to say that Delarosa is not good. It is—very, and the Marina restaurant is almost always packed to the gills. However, when considering their pizzas, I continually find myself drawing unfavorable comparisons to the Italian-style classics of Beretta and the winning California pies at Starbelly.