I love to travel, and I love to eat, so it stands to reason that when I travel, I am always looking for good things to eat. My recent trip to San Francisco was no different. I want to share with you my six favorite San Francisco treats (and no, Rice-a-Roni is not one of them). Since I can’t rank them in order of enjoyment, as it would be too hard, I’ve written them in the order I ate them.
Manchego cheese from the Cowgirl Creamery at the Ferry Building Manchego is a sheep’s cheese originally made from sheep of the Manchego breed in Spain. Its texture is slightly course and grainy with a sharp, flavorful taste that reminds me of parmesan reggiano but softer. I first had it at a restaurant here in Edmonton and loved it. When I wandered through the Cowgirl Creamery, I was so overwhelmed with the hundreds of varieties of cheese, I opted to buy one that I knew the taste of but could never find in a regular supermarket. Delightful.
Sushi at Maru Sushi I have this habit of always wanting to eat things that have a place in the name in the place of the name. So, for example, when I visited Turkey the first time, I wanted to eat turkey in Turkey. Fortunately, Roland and I were there for an American Thanksgiving break, so it was easy to do. Thus on this trip to California, I wanted to eat a California roll. We went to a little restaurant just around the corner from my brother Darren’s apartment and ordered a few things, including the California roll. We also had something called a Yum Yum roll, which had shrimp, spicy crab, avocado and crushed tempura batter sprinkled on top. The roll certainly lived up to its name, and it was the largest sushi roll I have ever seen.
A cinnamon twist at Peet’s Coffee and Tea I have always been a sucker for cinnamon rolls and cinnamon twists ever since I was a kid and my grandmother used to let me bake them with her. When I’m in a café for breakfast and can’t find anything super-sweet to eat that wouldn’t normally qualify as dessert, I often choose a cinnamon roll or twist. I tried the cinnamon twist at Peet’s Coffee and Tea in Walnut Creek on Locust Street—yes, “Locust” as in swarms of hopping insects, image naming a street after that! The twist was so moist and delicious that I had another as my dinner substitute the next day.
Mango Beef at Eliza’s I like Chinese food, and San Francisco is a great place for good Chinese food (better than in China itself, if you ask me, but that’s a whole other story). Darren took Roland and I to this place he and I’d gone the last time I was in SF in 2010. I enjoyed the food so much then that I asked for that specific restaurant again this time. They serve this delicious dish, mango beef, that I have never seen on the menu in any other restaurant. It’s a taste-bud-tantalizing mix of sweet and tangy together. I think I need to find a recipe for Roland to try at home!
A Soft Pretzel at Fisherman’s Wharf Ever since I worked at Coney Island Famous Hot Dogs in West Edmonton Mall as a teenager, I have remained a fan of soft hot pretzels despite the hundreds I ate from the store on my breaks in high school. I don’t eat them often because they are not that commonly served around here, except sometimes at football games or midways, which I never go to anymore. Naturally, when I spotted a pretzel stand at Fisherman’s Wharf, I had to have one. Its crisp outer crust gave way to a soft bready inside, which melted in my mouth—along with the gooey goodness of the cheese sauce for dipping, a starchy, fatty snack so bad for the arteries, but so good for the palate. My mouth waters just writing about it; it’s one of my versions of comfort food.
Prawn Scampi at Fog Harbour Fish House at Fisherman’s Wharf On our last day in San Francisco, the three of us went on a cruise on the bay under the Golden Gate Bridge. It was supposed to have been an awesome photo opportunity and a chance to enjoy the water. It was neither of those things due to a strong wind and heavy fog that rolled in and covered most of the bridge. We could neither see the top of the bridge nor get any good photos.
The evening was not a total loss though. After the boat ride, we went to the Fog Harbour Fish House at Pier 39 for dinner. We had a lovely table facing the water (which was close enough that we had a view despite the fog further away), and we could even see parts of the sky turn pink as the sun set. Best of all was the meal. I ordered the prawn scampi in lemon, butter and garlic sauce, served with garlic mashed potatoes and a “vegetable medley,” which turned out to be mostly broccoli, my favorite vegetable. Without exaggeration, I would say that the scampi that night was possibly the best seafood meal I have ever eaten. The prawns were large, abundant, fresh and sweet. The sauce was a tart, garlicky heaven, especially when I dipped the potatoes in it. Truly a divine dinner, one to remember!
See’s Candies My favorite confections from the famous candy store—peanut brittle and chocolates, specifically double caramels (which are only available at limited times of the year) and dark chocolate caramels—are technically San Francisco treat “6½” because I bought them in SF, but I didn’t consume them there. I brought them home to save and savour for later. For me, no trip to the city by the bay would be complete without these delights.
So there they are, my six favorite San Francisco treats. I hope if you ever get to San Francisco that you will try one—or all—of them and have as much enjoyment as I did.