This is the first of three segments chronicling my week long trip to Northern California with the boyfriend; the focus of course, being food. The second will focus on select landmarks, and the third, my personal favorite, shall include snapshots of people around San Francisco.
Much to our delight, we found that the greatest advantage of weekday haunts is not having to wait in line over an hour to eat!
For the first feature here, I am ecstatic to present, Crepes of Brittany. Tucked away in a tiny corner of a coffee shop on Fisherman’s Wharf of Monterey, Crepes of Brittany offers sweet and savory crepes with authentic French style. The boyfriend and I opted for one of each; I ordered a strawberry melba, whilst he ordered one with brie, egg, and mushrooms. A melba, according to our friendly crepe-maker, Thierry (who actually grew up in France!), is a sweet sauce made of strawberries and raspberries. This is drizzled over the light and crisp pancake, stuffed with freshly cut strawberries surrounding a large scoop of vanilla ice cream. Thierry was also kind enough to let us sample the in-house made caramel. Normally, I am not a fan of caramel, as they tend to be saccharine, but the salted butter caramel had just the perfect amount of sweetness. The taste reminded me of a nougat.
Though the boyfriend’s savory crepe seemed a bit unusual to the sweet ones I am used to seeing, it was also delicious. A bit like a large, flat omelette, the seamless blend of crepe, soft brie, egg, and button mushrooms was melt-in-your-mouth goodness.
Since first trying Brenda’s French Soul Food earlier this year, I looked forward to having this for our first brunch in SF. While very different from each other, the apple cinnamon and crawfish beignets are standouts. Another example of sweet and savory variety, the beignets are large, fluffy, and hot. I also love their watermelon iced tea – the watermelon pulp adds extra bits of fresh and fruity goodness. Pictured above are the shrimp grits. Loaded up with a layer of cheese, topped with flavorful tomatoes, bacon bits, and large shrimp, this dish is carb-heavy. We got a bit greedy and also ordered the catfish po’boy (didn’t think anything special about it, though the fish was cooked decently), which made this meal a complete struggle to finish.
Headed over to Swan Oyster Depot before they closed for some clam chowder, seafood combination salad, and, of course, OYSTERS. Clam chowder was different from most I’ve had, as the “chowder” resembled a watery soup more so than the creamy, thick stew I had come to love. The clam flavor was strong, but the soupy part threw me off. I also don’t know why people rave about the salad – other than size, I didn’t find the assortment of crab and shrimp over shredded lettuce very fresh or particularly tasty. Ah, well this place is supposed to be for oysters, so we (among friends), ordered a total of 3 dozen oysters. Included in the assortment were Blue Point, Kumamoto, and Miyagi. Freshly shucked, I enjoyed the smallest oysters, the Kumamotos, best for their smooth and succulent flavor.
L: Strawberry Basil Martini from Playland. R: Virgin Hakka from Hakkasan
Since my tolerance for alcohol is practically non-existant, I cannot comment too much on martinis or the like. The Virgin Hakka was overwhelmingly sweet, but I did appreciate the small peek and introduction to the kitchen. Apparently, the main chefs are each assigned a wok; each are of different size and purpose. The hierarchy of chefs are determined by where they are along the line (the head chef is at the very front), and their well-kept, mostly stainless steel kitchen follows a very efficient system.
What makes this Super Duper Burger super duper? The patty. With every patty cooked medium rare, the meat tastes fresh and juicy. You can even spot the chef methodically placing rounds of meat on the grill. Plus, their housemade pickles are great: slightly spicy, sour, sweet – yum!
Sought out 4505 Meats at the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market at the recommendation of my coworkers. Unfortunately, as I was later chided, I was supposed to have also added egg and tried the lime mint iced tea. Oops. Anyway, we had settled for a classic cheeseburger, which turned out to be pretty tiny considering the cost. The onion buns were tasty, albeit oily, and the awkward chunk of lettuce made eating this burger unwieldy.
Once you step into HRD Coffee Shop, you can tell that you are in Giants territory. As they’re also not too far from AT&T Park, the extremely down-to-earth employees were all wearing their black and orange with pride. Apparently, this place has also been on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives (they have a signed Guy Fiero poster up on the wall). Since this place seems to be a Korean fusion diner, I truly regret not trying the kimchi fried rice burrito. Instead, I had short rib bibimbap, which was cooked well and had good ingredients; however, I don’t think it’s their specialty, and I still prefer eating my bibimbap in a stone pot.
Located by a parking lot near Fisherman’s Wharf is the unassuming, permanent food truck, The Codmother Fish and Chips. Headed by an enthusiastic lady from Britain, Suzanne, these fish and chips are the real deal. I ordered the baja fish tacos (shown above), which blew every other fish taco I’ve ever had out of the water. Fried with just the right amount of batter, the fish tasted fresh and was cooked to a perfect, flaky white. I’m not a fan of the traditional malt vinegar option (blasphemy, I know), but the baja sauce was a fantastic pairing to the fish tacos; just a hint of spice, creaminess (some people have described it as a chipotle+ranch combo), and homemade! Upon sampling the generous portion of sauce atop my tacos, the boyfriend was set on getting his own cup of sauce for his chips.
Honestly, with many of my friends calling Sushiritto an over-priced novelty, I was not expecting much. We ordered the Geisha’s Kiss, which utilizes Yellowfin Tuna. To our surprise, we thought the sushiritto quite delicious. Yes, the burrito is not jam-packed with fish; however, the combination of fresh ingredients – especially the crunch of the lotus chips – came together well for this relatively healthy meal. Peter, founder of Sushiritto, also happened to be in and chatted with us for a few minutes, hinting at possible plans to open up shop in LA!
If you’ve made it through this long post, congratulations! Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Stay tuned for the other SF-related blogs – they’ll definitely be less wordy!