Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
A Patric

San Francisco: Beer, Cheese, and Bread:

Recommended Posts

Hi All,

I'll be in SF in late August. I'm looking for the best cheesemongers, the best bakeries, with excellent sourdough and any other specialties, and places with the best selections of Belgian or Belgian-style beers.

I have had luck searching out quite a few restaurants in the eGullet threads in this forum, but I haven't yet found the above three items.

Any help would be appreciated.

Best,

Alan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi All,

I'll be in SF in late August.  I'm looking for the best cheesemongers, the best bakeries, with excellent sourdough and any other specialties, and places with the best selections of Belgian or Belgian-style beers.

[...]

Are you looking for places to consume Belgian Beer or places to buy Belgian Beer?

Do they also need to serve food? Also, what sort of bar do you enjoy visiting?

Monk's Kettle in the Mission District (very close to the 16th Street BART station) is quite good. Nice selection of beers and some pretty good food.

I like Toronado, but the vibe of the place isn't for everyone. Surly bartenders and the music is likely to be either Heavy or Speed Metal. Good selection of Belgian Beers, though, and a very good Sausage shop next store to pick up take out food. They let you bring it in to the bar.

It is hard to beat ACME Bread Company for Sourdough. And next door in the Ferry Building is the Cowgirl Creamery retail store.

There's a place in North Beach called La Trappe that is supposed to have good Belgian Beer and food, but I haven't been yet to recommend it personally.

For local beer, some in Belgian style, I'd be remiss not to recommend the Magnolia Brewpub in the Upper Haight neighborhood. Good food, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you looking for places to consume Belgian Beer or places to buy Belgian Beer?

Do they also need to serve food?  Also, what sort of bar do you enjoy visiting?

Thank you for the links. I'll take a look.

To answer your questions, I'm looking for both bars/restaurants, and beer stores. As for the bars/restaurants, I am flexible, though speed metal is not exactly on the list of things that I normally enjoy. Bars with some sort of food are definitely better. Here is an example of a bar in NYC that I absolutely love:

http://www.spuytenduyvilnyc.com/generalinfo.htm

They have a wide selection of bottled Belgian beers, charcuterie and cheese. It isn't too crazy, and it has character.

I'm not looking for an SF version of Spuyten Duyvil, necessarily, but just some place with a very good beer selection and decent, simple food.

As for the beer store, selection is of primary importance as I'd like to find some Belgians that I have yet to try so that I can bring a few back home with me.

I'll definitely make it to the Ferry Building. I love Cow Girl Creamery and I though I didn't have the time to stop by Acme last time I was there, I'll do so this time. Any further suggestions are welcome, though, as I won't be limiting myself to visiting only one store of each genre.

Best,

Alan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[...]

To answer your questions, I'm looking for both bars/restaurants, and beer stores.  As for the bars/restaurants, I am flexible, though speed metal is not exactly on the list of things that I normally enjoy.  Bars with some sort of food are definitely better.  Here is an example of a bar in NYC that I absolutely love:

http://www.spuytenduyvilnyc.com/generalinfo.htm

[...]

Looks like a great place! I'll have to add it to my list for the next time I visit New York.

For my money, the two stores with the best selection of esoteric beers are City Beer Store and Plump Jack Wines. City Beer is also unusual in that it has some beers on tap and a small selection of cheeses to nosh on while you drink.

Even though it is primarily a cocktail bar, Alembic Bar, up the street from Magnolia, has a good selection of belgian bottles and some well selected taps. Tasty food, as well. Very similar look and style to Spuyten Duyvil.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Erik!

It looks like this just about covers my beer "needs."

As for bread/baked goods, are there any excellent pastry shops that anyone can recommend?

Also, as for the Cowgirl Creamery, if I recall correctly--and I may not--a large portion of the selection was American-made, which is great, but I also wonder if there are any shops that have a great selection of European imported cheeses that might be similar to Artisanal or Murray's in NYC, or even better?

Best,

Alan

--edited to correct punctuation


Edited by A Patric (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[...]

Also, as for the Cowgirl Creamery, if I recall correctly--and I may not--a large portion of the selection was American-made, which is great, but I also wonder if there are any shops that have a great selection of European imported cheeses that might be similar to Artisanal or Murray's in NYC, or even better?

[...]

Alan, actually cowgirl gets quite a few cheeses from Neal's Yard in England and other places, so not all American. Beyond special trips down to Cowgirl, I tend to buy cheese at the local natural grocery, whole foods, or the Farmers' Market. About the only other places I can think of are 24th Street Cheese Company and Say Cheese. Both are pretty good, but nothing I would go out of my way for.

I'm hoping someone else will jump in on the pastry/bread front, as it's not really my area of expertise. For what it's worth, I like the yeast breads at Arizmendi and the French style pastries at Boulange de Cole. A lot of people seem to like Tartine, but I don't really get the appeal.

If you're lucky, Chris Cosentino's new Boccalone store front in the Ferry Building will be open by the time you visit in August.

Not cheese, beer, bread or pastry, but did you know that that Le Sanctuaire now has a store here in San Francisco? I mean, if you want to blow through a bunch of cash...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I vote for Cowgirl Creamery and Acme Bread, which I both love. Arizmendi, which is an offspring of the Cheese Board Bakery in Berkeley, is another fav.

For pastry I point people to Citizen Cake: http://www.citizencake.com/

Chef-owner Elizabeth Falkner of Citizen Cake has a new cookbook out too: http://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Falkners-D...12888163&sr=8-1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It occurs to me that Rainbow Grocery is a fun place to go. I mean, if you're the sort of person, like me, that finds going to a grocery store fun. It's kind of like Bell Bates in Tribeca, except bigger and weirder.

They do have a very nice cheese selection. In addition, it's just kind of a cool, funny, San Francisco kind of place with a lot of really amazing things. Wacky bulk herbs, unusual condiments, herbal supplements, bizarre sweeteners, bulk nuts, etc.

It's where I get my raw almonds and apricot kernels for orgeat. You can't find that everywhere!


Edited by eje (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[...]

Also, as for the Cowgirl Creamery, if I recall correctly--and I may not--a large portion of the selection was American-made, which is great, but I also wonder if there are any shops that have a great selection of European imported cheeses that might be similar to Artisanal or Murray's in NYC, or even better?

[...]

Alan, actually cowgirl gets quite a few cheeses from Neal's Yard in England and other places, so not all American. Beyond special trips down to Cowgirl, I tend to buy cheese at the local natural grocery, whole foods, or the Farmers' Market. About the only other places I can think of are 24th Street Cheese Company and Say Cheese. Both are pretty good, but nothing I would go out of my way for.

I'm hoping someone else will jump in on the pastry/bread front, as it's not really my area of expertise. For what it's worth, I like the yeast breads at Arizmendi and the French style pastries at Boulange de Cole. A lot of people seem to like Tartine, but I don't really get the appeal.

If you're lucky, Chris Cosentino's new Boccalone store front in the Ferry Building will be open by the time you visit in August.

Not cheese, beer, bread or pastry, but did you know that that Le Sanctuaire now has a store here in San Francisco? I mean, if you want to blow through a bunch of cash...

Erik,

Thanks again for the recommendations. I may just try to make it to all of these and take some notes for next time. Also, I don't know how you read my mind that I consider charcuterie to be one of the 5 major food groups, along with the three in the title of the thread and chocolate, but I'll be crossing my fingers that Boccalone is open too.

Along the same lines, if you haven't visited Salumeria Biellese in NYC, then you are really missing out:

http://www.seriouseats.com/newyork/2008/05...sandwiches.html

http://www.salumeriabiellese.com/retail.html#curedmeats

The place looks like nothing interesting on the outside, or on the inside for that matter, but Mark Buzzio does amazing things with pork and salt. The charcuterie is not even displayed anywhere, but if you ask for a menu, you'll see why the place is heaven for foodies. Fresh Berkshire pork sausages are also available.

Alan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I vote for Cowgirl Creamery and Acme Bread, which I both love.  Arizmendi, which is an offspring of the Cheese Board Bakery in Berkeley, is another fav.

For pastry I point people to Citizen Cake: http://www.citizencake.com/

Chef-owner Elizabeth Falkner of Citizen Cake has a new cookbook out too: http://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Falkners-D...12888163&sr=8-1

I've read about Falkner. I'll definitely stop by. Thanks for that.

Alan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It occurs to me that Rainbow Grocery is a fun place to go.  I mean, if you're the sort of person, like me, that finds going to a grocery store fun.  It's kind of like Bell Bates in Tribeca, except bigger and weirder.

They do have a very nice cheese selection.  In addition, it's just kind of a cool, funny, San Francisco kind of place with a lot of really amazing things.  Wacky bulk herbs, unusual condiments, herbal supplements, bizarre sweeteners, bulk nuts, etc.

It's where I get my raw almonds and apricot kernels for orgeat.  You can't find that everywhere!

Great! I do enjoy a good trip to the store--especially when it sells things that I can't find elsewhere. I'll have to stop by.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with the recommendations for La Trappe and City Beer.

Toronado's selection of Belgian beers has been very uneven lately, and their prices have also climbed. I've tried to go to Monk's Kettle several times, but it's always packed. The menu and beer list look ok, but not that impressive and a bit pricey.

If you'll spend time in the east bay as well, the Trappist in downtown Oakland is an excellent bar for (obviously) Belgians:

http://www.thetrappist.com/

Also in Oakland, Luka's has good food and a decent beer selection, with quite a few Belgians:

http://www.lukasoakland.com/

Both are easily accessible by public transit (BART).

Bill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Patric,

I'm going to confine my suggestions to the city of San Francisco, because if I did Berkeley, Marin, Oakland, Somoma, etc. this would take forever. For what the neighborhood names mean, see this handy neighborhood map.

Bread: Arizmendi Bakery Coop is probably the single best bakery in the city, especially for sourdough (Inner Sunset). Boulange (multiple locations) is probably second, although Acme (Ferry Building) has won international prizes. For non-bread baked goods, Tartine Bakery (Mission) is pretty hard to beat. For that matter, just about any corner grocery in the city is liable to carry bread from Grace Baking, Semifreddi, Bakers of Paris, and/or Boudin, any of which are worth freezing and taking home to your relatives.

Cheese: I agree with everyone that the #1 cheese stop is Cowgirl Creamery in the Ferry Building. Among your #2 stops could be Say Cheese (Cole Valley), Lucca Delicatessen (Mission or Marina), and Bi-Rite Market (Castro).

Also, for bread and cheese, if you're going to be here on a Saturday you must must must go to the Ferry Building Farmer's Market.

Beer: San Francisco is not a really good place for Belgian beers. There are no direct flights from Brussels, and few from Amsterdam, so you'll have a hard time finding real Belgians on cask. I'd recommend instead going to local brewpubs (where they make the beer on the premises) in hopes of them having a Belgian-style. Best shots among these are Magnolia's (Haight-Ashbury), 21st Amendment (SOMA) and Thirsty Bear (SOMA). The Beach Chalet also makes some decent beers (and has a terrific view of the Pacific Ocean) but I've never seen a Belgian-style there.

Now, San Francisco does get 5 flights/day from Frankfurt, so it's an excellent place to have German beers. Good places for German beers include the Toranado (Lower Haight), Suppenkuche (Hayes Valley), and Shroeder's (Financial District).

Feel free to ping me for more recommendations.


Edited by TheFuzzy (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Patric,

I'm going to confine my suggestions to the city of San Francisco, because if I did Berkeley, Marin, Oakland, Somoma, etc. this would take forever.  For what the neighborhood names mean, see this handy neighborhood map.

Bread:  Arizmendi Bakery Coop is probably the single best bakery in the city, especially for sourdough (Inner Sunset).  Boulange (multiple locations) is probably second, although Acme (Ferry Building) has won international prizes.  For non-bread baked goods, Tartine Bakery (Mission) is pretty hard to beat.  For that matter, just about any corner grocery in the city is liable to carry bread from Grace Baking, Semifreddi, Bakers of Paris, and/or Boudin, any of which are worth freezing and taking home to your relatives.

Cheese: I agree with everyone that the #1 cheese stop is Cowgirl Creamery in the Ferry Building.  Among your #2 stops could be Say Cheese (Cole Valley), Lucca Delicatessen (Mission or Marina), and Bi-Rite Market (Castro). 

Also, for bread and cheese, if you're going to be here on a Saturday you must must must go to the Ferry Building Farmer's Market.

Beer: San Francisco is not a really good place for Belgian beers.  There are no direct flights from Brussels, and few from Amsterdam, so you'll have a hard time finding real Belgians on cask.  I'd recommend instead going to local brewpubs (where they make the beer on the premises) in hopes of them having a Belgian-style.  Best shots among these are Magnolia's (Haight-Ashbury), 21st Amendment (SOMA) and Thirsty Bear (SOMA).  The Beach Chalet also makes some decent beers (and has a terrific view of the Pacific Ocean) but I've never seen a Belgian-style there.

Now, San Francisco does get 5 flights/day from Frankfurt, so it's an excellent place to have German beers.  Good places for German beers include the Toranado (Lower Haight), Suppenkuche (Hayes Valley), and Shroeder's (Financial District).

Feel free to ping me for more recommendations.

Fuzzy Chef,

Thank you for your suggestions. I'll get them all down on paper.

Alan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By Rene_lorraine
      I'm a pastry cook working in NYC. We have a seasonal bread that we do with chickpeas, garlic (fresh and confit) and pecorino. We drain and rinse the chickpeas and it was working for a while but it hasn't been consistent. Bread turns out flat. What is it in chickpeas that kills the yeast and how can we counteract the effect? I'm taking a long shot by posting but wanted to further educate myself and fellow team members. Thanks so much. 
    • By Tara Middleton
      Alright so as of a few months ago, I decided to take an impromptu trip to Europe--mostly unplanned but with several priorities set in mind: find the best food and locate the most game-changing ice cream spots on the grounds of each city I sought out for. One of the greatest, most architecturally unique and divine cities I have visited thus far has gotta be Vienna, Austria. But what in the heck is there to eat over there?! (you might ask). 'Cause I sure as hell didn't know. So, I desperately reached out to a local Viennese friend of mine, who knows and understands my avid passion for all things edible, and she immediately shot back some must-have food dishes. Doing a bit of research beforehand, I knew I had to try the classic "Kasekreiner". Please forgive my German if I spelled that wrong. But no matter how you say it- say it with passion, because passion is just about all I felt when I ate it. Translated: it basically means cheese sausage. Honestly, what is there not to love about those two words. Even if that's not necessarily your go-to, do me a favor and give it a shot. Trust me, you won't regret it. A classic Austrian pork sausage with pockets of melty cheese, stuffed into a crisp French Baguette. No ketchup necessary (...and as an American, that's saying a lot). YUM. Best spot to try out this one-of-a-kind treat?! Bitzinger bei der Albertina – Würstelstand. Now here's a shot of me with my one true love in front of this classic Viennese green-domed building-- Karlskirche. Now, go check it.
       
       

    • By pastrygirl
      If so, what was it like?  Sounds similar to kouign-aman ... https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-44486529
       
       
    • By Doofa
      FYI. On todays Food Programme, BBC Radio 4 which will be podcasted I think tomorrow after its repeat. He outlined the Bread tome, and I found very interesting the economics of bread. It's all a bit beyond me as a Coeliac most of it is out of my reach. One can listen to it on Radio 4 website. Furthermore R4 is my constant companion and the last bastion of civilisation
    • By liuzhou
      These have been mentioned a couple of times recently on different threads and I felt they deserved one of their own. After all, they did keep me alive when I lived in Xi'an.
       
      Rou jia mo (ròu jiá mò; literally "Meat Sandwich") are Chinese sandwiches which originated in Shaanxi Province, but can be found all over China. Away from their point of origin, they tend to be made with long stewed pork belly. However in Xi'an (capital of Shaanxi), there is a large Muslim population so the meat of choice is more usually beef. In nearby Gansu Province, lamb or mutton is more likely.
       
      When I was living in Xi'an in 1996-1997, I lived on these. I was living on campus in North-West University (西北大学) and right outside the school gate was a street lined with cheap food joints, most of which would serve you one. I had one favourite place which I still head to when I visit. First thing I do when I get off the train.
       
      What I eat is Cumin Beef Jia Mo (孜然牛肉夹馍 zī rán niú ròu jiá mò). The beef is stir fried or grilled/BBQd with cumin and mild green peppers. It is also given a bit of a kick with red chill flakes.
       
      Here is a recipe wrested from the owner of my Xi'an favourite. So simple, yet so delicious.
       

      Lean Beef
       
      Fairly lean beef is cut into slivers
       

      Sliced  Beef
       

      Chopped garlic
       
      I use this single clove garlic from Sichuan, but regular garlic does just fine.
       
      The beef and garlic are mixed in a bowl and generously sprinkled with ground cumin. This is then moistened with a little light soy sauce and Shaoxing wine. You don't want to flood it. Set aside for as long as you can.
       

      Mild Green Chilli Pepper
       
      Take one or two mild green peppers and crush with the back of a knife, then slice roughly. You could de-seed if you prefer. I don't bother.
       

      Chopped Green Pepper
       
      Fire up the wok, add oil (I use rice bran oil, but any  vegetable oil except olive oil would be fine) and stir fry the meat mixture until the meat is just done. 
       

      Frying Tonight
       
      Then add the green peppers and fry until they are as you prefer them. I tend to like them still with a bit of crunch, so slightly under-cook them
       

      In with the peppers
       
      You will, of course, have prepared the bread. The sandwiches are made with a type of flat bread known as 白吉饼 (bái jí bǐng; literally "white lucky cake-shape"). The ones here are store bought but I often make them. Recipe below.
       

      Bai Ji Bing
       
      Take one and split it. Test the seasoning of the filling, adding salt if necessary. It may not need it because of the soy sauce. 
       

      Nearly there
       
      Cover to make a sandwich  and enjoy. You will see that I have used a bunch of kitchen paper to hold the sandwich and to soak up any escaping juices. But it should be fairly dry.
       

      The final product.
       
      Note: I usually cook the meat and pepper in batches. Enough for one sandwich per person at a time. If we need another (and we usually do) I start the next batch. 
       
       
      Bread Recipe
       
       
      350g plain flour
      140ml water
      1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

      Mix the yeast with the flour and stir in the water. Continue stirring until a dough forms. Knead until smooth. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and leave to rise by about one third. (maybe 30-40 minutes).
       
      Knead again to remove any air then roll the dough into a log shape around 5cm in diameter, then cut into six portions. Press these into a circle shape using a rolling pin. You want to end up with 1.5cm thick buns. 
       
      Preheat oven to 190C/370F.
       
      Dry fry the buns in a skillet until they take on some colour about a minute or less on each side, then finish in the oven for ten minutes. Allow to cool before using.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×