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gfron1

San Francisco digging deep gourmet shopping

22 posts in this topic

I'm going to have a week in San Fran next week and want to do some serious shopping.  You know, like hard core stuff that only eG folks would be interested in and may not even know what it is.  I'll be hitting Chinatown hard and maybe the Japanese District (is there a Korean area because I've been hunting down an acorn liquor).  Any suggestions?  Anyone in town and want to say hey while shopping?

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I don't live in SFO, but used to, and visit often, as I have a son and his family that live there.  And we're all very fond of Korean food.  My former husband spent a year in Korea and came back as a fan, so there are several Korean dishes that I learned to make.

 

In San Francisco, there doesn't seem to be a formal "Koreatown," but there are a great many Koreans that live there, and there are lots of good Korean restaurants.  I've noticed what seem to be Korean restaurants and stores near the "Japantown" area. 

 

There is a high concentration of Korean Restaurants here:  http://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=best+korean+restaurant&find_loc=San+Francisco%2C+CA

 

We've eaten at several of them and, while wandering the neighborhood, noticed several small markets that seem to cater to a Korean populace.

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I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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As it happens, one of my favorite Korean markets is half-a-block from Japantown.  It's called Woo Ri, on Fillmore just below Geary.  No idea whether they have acorn liquor.  It's a medium-to-small store and liquor is a special license.  Worth dropping in on regardless, if you're in the neighborhood.

 

Will give thought to other suggestions.  In the meantime, please, SF ("Ess Eff"), not San Fran.

 

ETA to correct spelling.


Edited by pbear (log)
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My suggestions...

 

Cheese Plus on upper Polk St, for its selection of American artisanal cheeses, other fine foods.
http://cheeseplus.com/

 

Dandelion Chocolate on Valencia St in the Mission, for its single-source chocolate bars, other chocolate goodies sold in the cafe also.
https://www.facebook.com/DandelionChocolate

 

Littlejohn's Candies on Market St X Van Ness Ave. I love the English toffee, a friend is a fan of the salted caramel marshmallows. Very good chocolates also. https://www.littlejohnscandies.com/ 
Next door to Littlejohn's is a new-ish trendy restaurant, one of Daniel Patterson's, named Alta Cafe. Signature dishes, beef tendon puffs, hen of the woods mushrooms over cracked wheat porridge. I've only tried the porridge, and remembered I don't like oatmeal. But this dish tasted good and I appreciate the concept.

 

Kamei Housewares and Restaurant Supply on Clement St in the Richmond district, especially for Asian cookware. A friend is in awe of this place, I'm less enthusiastic due to the uneven quality of the goods. Nevertheless, the place is huge and worth visiting if you're in the area. Green Apple Books, mentioned in SobaAddict's blog, is nearby.
http://www.yelp.com/biz/kamei-restaurant-supply-san-francisco?sort_by=date_desc

 

Your mention of Korean acorn liquor reminded me of St George Spirits in Alameda in the East Bay. They don't have acorn liquor. They are, however, an exemplary craft distillery and worth a visit for that, if you're willing to cross the Bay. You can take the ferry from SF. 

http://www.stgeorgespirits.com/

 

...and while you're in the East Bay, you can check out Spun Sugar on University Ave in Berkeley, aka pastry chef's heaven, which stocks an immense amt of ingredients and equipment for baking and confectionery. They also sell candies made in their on-site kitchen, always very good. The Photo Gallery on their website tells the story.
http://spunsugar.com/cart/index.php?main_page=index

 

have fun in SF!

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So, here are some places you may like:

 

Ferry Building - Recchiuti is a must for chocolate. Really some of the best stuff around. Love Miette Bakery (though I love the Miette in Hayes Valley even more because of the candies - who can resist gourmet cotton candy?). Plenty of other foodie stuff to browse. Il Cane Rosso (Daniel Patterson) is my go to breakfast place. You can get Blue Bottle coffee there without having to stand around waiting for half an hour.

 

Japantown - Soko Hardware and a few surrounding shops for great Japanese housewares. Look there if you want great Japanese knives. Benkyodo is where you will find a variety of fresh mochi.

 

San Francisco Wine Trading company - for fine wine and spirits. Knowledgable and friendly staff. Happy to give you samples of stuff they have open.

 

Le Sanctuaire - haven't been able to make it there but I've always wanted to go. Got stuff for the very serious cooks.

 

Cookin' - if you like to browse through used/antique cookware.

 

Omnivore Books - this is the place if you want cookbooks.

 

Off the Grid @ Fort Mason - if you're into food trucks, that is where you want to be.

 

Farmer's Markets

Alemany - my favorite market in SF. Not much of a tourist attraction, but has some amazing food. That is where the locals go.

Ferry Building - you can find nice stuff there, for $$$$.

Stonestown - it smaller than the other 2 but it has a nice mix of stuff.

 

Berkeley

Artis Coffee for serious coffee - live roast coffee and various brewing methods.

PIQ - my favorite Italian bakery. Love, love, love the mushroom bread.

Cheese Board - the cheese rolls!

 

This is making me miss SF....

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Again great stuff - Summarizing and marking what's really striking my interest from here and other friends:

 

Berkeley Bowl - groceries

Crixa Cakes - Euro pastry

Burma Superstar - restaurant

Kermit Lynch wines

Castro Village Wines ** small production wineries

Craftsman and Wolves **

B Patisserie

Dandelion Chocolate

Trick Dog - cocktails **

Outerlands - restaurant suggested by Judy Shertzer formerly of Terra Spice

Atelier Crenn ** Judy says, "to have your mind blown"

Tartine

BiRite

Little John's Candies

Woo Ri **

Cheese Plus **

St. George Spirits **

Kamei Housewares **

Recchuiti chocolates in Ferry Bldg

Alemany Farmers Mkt **

Cookin' used cookware

Off the Grid @ Ft. Mason **

Soko Hardware **

Kenkyodo - fresh Mochi **

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Don't forget the Rancho Gordo store in the Ferry Building.

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I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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B Patisserie is known for its kouign amann, but really, everything I've tried there has been good.

 

Outerlands Cafe has had a change of chef. The rising star chef who caused so much buzz is no longer there. I haven't been to the restaurant since it reopened, so I can't tell you anything more.
http://insidescoopsf.sfgate.com/blog/2014/05/13/outerlands-reopens-in-the-sunset/

 

Outerlands is located in my old neighborhood. Across the street is Other Avenues, a worker-owned food coop where I used to shop.
http://www.otheravenues.coop/

 

 

...This is making me miss SF....

 

I tell people, the song should go, "I left my sto-o-mach in San Francisco...."  :wink:

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I live in SF.  The list looks above looks pretty complete.. I would also add TCHO factory for chocolate, Church Key for beers, Source for excellent vegetarian food, and The Interval for a drink (it's quiet, but Alan the bartender is a genius)

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The stuff already mentioned would take you much more than a week, so I'll just mention a few in the spirit of "if you're in the neighborhood."

 

If you're on Clement in the Inner Richmond (where Kamei is located), don't miss Green Apple Books (mentioned above).  Also,nearby is the New May Wah Market (the original, in Chinatown, has long since closed).  To my mind it's the best all-around Asian market in the city.  BTW, that area of Clement is also where you'll find Burma Superstar.

 

If you go to BiRite (Mission district), Tartine Bakery is just a couple blocks away, so that's a twofer.  Then, a few more blocks away is Rainbow, a really cool vegetarian health food store (employee owned).

 

If you're at the Ferry Building (recommend highly), there are several interesting shops in addition to those already mentioned.  Two standouts are Boccalone (Chris Cosentino's salume shop) and Delica (Japanese-style prepared foods).

 

If you're at Cookin' (on Divisidero, near the Panhandle), another two interesting spots nearby are Falletti Foods and Nopalito (both a block away, on Broderick).  Falletti's is a market, Nopalio is perhaps our best Mexican restaurant (good ones being surprisingly hard to find in this town).  Another good restaurant nearby (same owners) is Nopa, on Divisidero (at Hayes).

 

Finally, racking my brain for one gem not already on the list, what I've come up with is Polarica.  As you can see from the website, their business is supplying unusual items (mostly meats) to restaurants.  As someone in the trade, I bet you could score a walk though of the warehouse.  (Ordinary customers just get the counter.)  It's the one place I can think of which might give you a relationship, not just a bag of goodies, to take home.

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If you're at Cookin' (on Divisidero, near the Panhandle), another two interesting spots nearby are Falletti Foods and Nopalito (both a block away, on Broderick).  Falletti's is a market, Nopalio is perhaps our best Mexican restaurant (good ones being surprisingly hard to find in this town).  Another good restaurant nearby (same owners) is Nopa, on Divisidero (at Hayes).

 

Falletti was the first place I was able to buy Jamon Iberico from in SF. I tried not to frequent the place because of that. The hot food bar has some pretty good stuff as well.

 

If you're around Castro, Bisou Bistro is lovely. Nick creates some beautiful food at extremely reasonable prices. He is now bringing produce in from their farm in the wine country.

 

Amelie is another favorite. Very nice wine bar with great food. You can hop across the street to Bob's Donut late at night for the best fresh out of the fryer donuts. The team behind Amelie opened Michel over in Oakland recently. It offers great food and lovely wine. Glad we were able to make it there when we're back in SF in May.

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BTW, I should have mentioned that, while Nopa has the same owners, the menu is completely different, what I call American Bistro.  In fact, it came first.  Nopalito was an offshoot, inspired (the owners have explained) by meals the cooks would prepare for staff dinners.

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Vanilla Saffron Imports 

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To fuel up for the big exploration I hit many pastry shops.  Arizmendi wasn't on a list but had a huge line so I jumped in.  Good pizza and baguettes and a little cookie for the trail.

 ArizmendiBakery.jpg

I've been fans of Craftsmen and Wolves for a while so I stopped by for Chocolate Croissant and Hazelnut Financier.

Craftsmen2.jpg

Then I grabbed a Berry tartlet.  My take on C&W is that they are a great pastry shop but their design changes aren't necessarily an improvement on the classic design.

Craftsmen.jpg

Next door is Dandelion and got exactly what I expected - great chocolate

Dandelion.jpg

Around the corner to Tartine.  I'm pretty familiar with their work so I just grabbed a Fragniappe croissant.

Tartine.jpg

Went around the corner and fell in love with the BiRite grocery where I snagged cheeses and a Michael Mischer chocolate.

BiRite1.jpg

Across the street to grab an ice cream: The Trifecta: Salted caramel, Brown sugar and Malted.  Great and totally worth the wait in line.

 

In Chinatown I had fun at the WokShop where I bought a flat bottomed cast iron wok.  She also shared a recipe for mooncakes since I bought a few new molds for this year's festival.

Chinese1.jpg

We lucked into a Szechuan place where we were asked to share a table with who turned out to be the chef's daughter so we got lots and lots of food.

Chinese2.jpg

Last day we crossed over to East Bay for a lunch at Chez Panisse and a stroll through Berkeley Bowl.  I was blown away by the produce which is what I bought but I coveted this...which I can't even get through my restaurant distributor.

 

I tried to get knives at the hardware store in Little Japan but they were mostly factory knives - good knives but I wanted something special since they were a gift to myself for such a great year.  I ended up at Bernal and got a sharpening lesson

Knife3.jpg

But here's what I ended up with - two very sharp Fujiwaras.

Knife2.jpg

Knife1.jpg

On our last day we headed to Berkeley where we had lunch at Chez Panisse and then cruised the Berkeley Bowl.  Amazing produce which is what I bought but what I coveted was this:

Berkeley.jpg

What I missed - Castro Village Wines, Atelier Crenn.  Hit Outlander and was very much not impressed although our server was fantastic.

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Too late to help the OP but The Wok Shop on Grant in Chinatown is a must-stop for me.

 

http://www.wokshop.com/

 

While there's loads of Asian stuff there, it has a little or a lot of everything.

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Sounds like a great trip, gfron1. Thanks for posting all those photos. The new knives are gorgeous!


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Too late to help the OP but The Wok Shop on Grant in Chinatown is a must-stop for me.

 

http://www.wokshop.com/

 

While there's loads of Asian stuff there, it has a little or a lot of everything.

I did hit the wokshop and loved it.  Grabbed a specialty wok, but also picked up some new mooncake molds and got a lesson in using them.

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For spices, herbs, and the like I am a huge fan of this place in the Mission. They sell a lot of the stuff in bulk sizes (usually 1 lb.), so you have to be careful not to overbuy (dry thyme, for example is $5.20 for 1#, which is a lot but at a good price, comparably).

http://www.sfherb.com

Store address: 250 14th St (between Mission & South Van Ness), San Francisco CA 94103

800-227-4530

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