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eating my way out of san francisco

It’s been over a week since I landed in San Francisco and I’m still noodling about the area, busy with a lot of other business which I’ll share with you as I plow through the photos. But, given the choice between living life and blogging about it, I think you already know which one takes priority for me. However, the camera rarely leaves my side. That’s a good thing otherwise I’d have forgotten what I did just ten minutes ago!

Chuck, Anita, and I left the BlogHer Food after party as things were starting to crank up. We ran around hugging people good-bye – most of whom said, “But I just got here! You can’t be leaving NOW?!” I’ll see those good folks again, I’m sure of it. But Hungry Bear was preparing a wonderful dinner for us at their lovely home, we were meeting Anita’s husband, Mike (so neat to now call him her husband instead of boyfriend!), and we were running quite late. While I loved seeing so many of my friends in one place at the after party with, alas – great food, I felt like I could relax and enjoy a pleasant and more personal dinner with a handful of close friends. I really needed that decompression.

we started with gorgeous shrimp egg custard appetizers

chuck models his latest tee

wonderful and wholesome roasted japanese eggplant

hungry bear and chuck at the dinner table

Even after Anita and Mike left, Hungry Bear, Chuck, and I were up pretty late talking. That’s what happens when parents aren’t around to yell at you to get to bed. In the morning, before it got too hot (did I mention it was hot in San Francisco the whole weekend? Well it was – ass hot for San Francisco and it was snowing in my backyard at home) we went out for a walk around the bougie bougie neighborhoods then down to the Presidio. I felt so California!

along the beach

fog lifts over the golden gate bridge

We met up with Lisa at the Sports Basement. At first, I didn’t hear the name of the store and Hungry Bear told me it was a toy store. Then Chuck added, “It’s an adult toy store.” Well, okay! Turns out it’s an outdoor sporting goods store with great deals on all manner of gear… except for tele gear. I suppose that’s not so much a California thing. Since it was nearly Sunday noon, we opted for lunch at Nopalito.

some sort of roasted nut or legume

gorditas campechanas (braised beef in fried corn tortillas)

ceviche verde de pescado y calamari

tamal empipianado de puerco


little cookie bites

The food was terrific, although I felt the carnitas missed the point. The point is to maximize the surface area of the caramelized bits of pork and that’s hard to do with giant hunks of pork. We were all in agreement there. Back at Hungry Bear and Chuck’s place, Lisa helped me gather my stuff as I unloaded much swag (mostly chocolate). During BlogHer Food 2010, Chuck was distributing some slick FoodGawker swag which I hope those who attended were able to score. Lisa and I each got a shirt too. The photo is a little blurry, but Nikons weren’t really designed with bears in mind (especially a Hungry Bear).

lisa and i sport the foodgawker bling

After I thanked Chuck and HB for hosting me and hugged them good-bye, Lisa took me around San Francisco for an afternoon on the town. Since she couldn’t attend the conference, it was nice to spend some girl time together while we hit up the bakeries around the city. Lisa is the perfect guide to anywhere because she’s my OCD friend who researches ALL of the great food places (and shopping destinations, but I don’t do the shopping thing) and is willing to walk around the city in search of passion fruits before they’re in season. We’re both a little obsessed with passion fruit.

macs at paulette

i got two boxes for my mom and grandma

Bi-Rite Creamery had a line from here to ya-ya because it was a HOT day. We both loathe the heat and the thought of standing in line, in the hot sun, outweighed any desire for really awesome ice cream. We agreed to bypass Bi-Rite (me being lactose intolerant and all also helped that decision) and opted to head to Tartine just down the street. As we rounded the corner to the entrance of Tartine, who should Lisa spy through the storefront windows?!

two of my favorite people: todd and diane

more time together just before they left to go home

The place was packed with wall-to-wall customers. Everyone was sticky from the heat and humidity (I know folks don’t think of California as humid, but it felt humid to me coming from Colorado). Didn’t help that Tartine is a bakery which felt 10 degrees hotter than outside the shop. That didn’t deter a single person from ogling the lovely offerings of the pastry persuasion. I’m not crazy for sweets and I wasn’t even hungry, but I couldn’t resist ordering a slice of passion fruit and coconut cake while Lisa got a chocolate croissant. Then we sat down with Todd and Diane to share the goodies around and talk while the Blue Angels roared overhead several times. So cool.

what to choose…

full house

this is when i started going blind

todd is trying hard to finish the banana cream tart (it was heavenly)

goofy most of the time, but they always give me a nice pose every now and again

Todd and Diane had to hit the road home and Lisa continued the tour of the city. After a short stroll along a seaside cliff, we decided to go back to Lisa’s house and have dinner in the South Bay instead of San Francisco. My main motivation? Because I wanted to see Lucca, Lisa’s adorable yellow lab puppy dog. That, and I was really f’ing tired. The conference was catching up to me like a brick at the back of my head.

lucca is a big girl now, but all dogs are puppy dogs to me

Lucca is responsible for my friendship with Lisa. I found Lisa through the Daring Bakers back in the day when there were few enough DBs to still humanly hit all of the posts and comment. It was around that time I saw this chunky, adorable, baby puppy on her blog. You probably heard my squeals in the next county over. I visited often, to catch more puppy pics, but eventually realized that Lisa herself was pretty cool, talented, and funny. And now she’s a good friend of mine. So thanks, Miss Lucca! We ended the evening properly, with sushi and bubble tea (not together, but in that order).

oh hell yeah


nommy rolls

Monday morning, Lisa was so sweet as to drop me off at the airport on her way to work. But I wasn’t flying home. Not yet. I was starting chapter 3 of my Bay Area visit. More on that in the next post. For now, I think I must start a petition to change Lisa’s blog name from Lisa Is Bossy to Lisa Is Awesome. She really is.

26 nibbles at “eating my way out of san francisco”

  1. Kristin says:

    Oooh…I’m sitting here with a very sore throat, & food was sounding very unappealing until I read this post. Looks like such a fun time with great friends & fabulous food!

  2. Alexandra says:

    For some reason macarons and sushi just photograph *so* well. It’s gotta be all those colors and textures!

  3. Stephanie Meyer says:

    Wow. Now those are food pics, stunning. What a blast! And what a city. Thx for sharing the rest of your trip!

  4. Authentic Haven Brand says:

    Can’t wait for the San Fran Garden Show #SFGS in March 2010 to enjoy the eats you have share here : ) Annie

  5. Susan @ SGCC says:

    You are amazing! I love how you squeeze every drop of life out of the world around you. So glad you have such a great time in SF (and the FG shirt is awesome). I hope you’ve been having just as much fun with your family in Napa.

    Oh, and BTW, I was reveling in that gorgeous Cali weather. Hot? You ain’t seen hot until you’ve spent a summer down here with me! ;)


  6. Nichole says:

    i am so glad you are getting your good love-on with all the food, family and friends back in cali. now come home :) we have all that same stuff and snow!! yahoo!

    and i can’t believe that you ate dessert! what?! i don’t think i’ve every seen you eat a sweet before. i’ll admit, that may be because i am always entirely fixated on the sweets that you are serving, and the rest of the world just disappears.

  7. Steph says:

    Glad you loved my hometown, Jen. I couldn’t ever imagine leaving this city!

  8. justcooknyc says:

    those are cute photos of Todd & Diane. i wish i knew when you were all heading to Tartine because Jen & I stopped by too

  9. Phoo-d says:

    Lisa is awesome! It sounds like you hit the best of San Fran and had a wonderful time. I still swoon at the thought of croissants from Tartine. Amazing stuff.

  10. Alyson @ Dates & Quinces says:

    I’m all over the Ingo Montoya name tag! The Princess Bride has got my favourite movie of all time!

    Also: passionfruit. YES.

  11. Randi says:

    Yum! My city never looked so delicious!

  12. Chuck says:

    It was great hanging out with you last weekend! If Hungry Bear’s photo was blurry, I don’t want to see how bad my shots were. I knew 1/100 was too slow for me, but figured she could handle it…. guess not. Anyway, here’s that article about packing the carnitas in tightly in a smaller vessel…

    I’m going to try this method with my current carnitas recipe and see if it makes it even better.

  13. Melissa says:

    Lucca is beautiful. So is the sushi. So are Todd and Diane. And it was a great time to see the water up north wasn’t it?

    Agreed about the carnitas too. Boo.

  14. Raj says:

    i think those legumes/nuts are black chana (a cousin of the chickpea), native to india

  15. Wei-Wei says:

    I love how well you can document fun times with friends on your blog; it’s times like these when it becomes a journal and less of a recipe resource. That’s actually what I love about your blog – you don’t just talk about the food! Though that part’s good, too.

  16. Hungry Bear admirer says:

    Any way to get Hungry Bear’s recipe for the shrimp egg custards? They look amazing!

  17. The Italian Dish says:

    Enjoyed your post, as usual, and really loved that photo of Hungry Bear at the table! hee hee!

  18. Jaya says:

    Jen, I always love your photos (and writing) but that shot of the foggy bridge is really special!
    San Fran looks like a food lovers mecca! I’ve heard such wonderful things, but I think that your love for food travels so much farther when its coupled with lovely friends. It’s so wonderful to see how people come together as though no time has passed at all…

  19. Diana says:

    It’s been a long time since I lived in San Fran, and every-time I think I’ve finally really accepted living elsewhere I see blogs or posts that leave me heartbroken that I had to leave. I miss it So Much.

  20. angelitacarmelita says:

    I love going on trips with you! and I don’t know (yet) what nommy roll is, but I want one NOM!

  21. Susan says:

    MMmmmmm ! I was lucky enough to eat my way thru SF last Spring….what a feast!!! And since i was OCD and searched websites I had lots of the same experiences…but missed Paulette’s…..So sad…a good reason to return, right? Your pics of the macaroons make them look too pretty to eat!

  22. Joy says:

    It looks like you had a great time. Great pics.

  23. Andrew says:

    looks like an AWESOME time! lovely pics as usual!

    actually, how do you travel with your dslr? i’m always too lazy to bring a full camera bag to hold a couple lenses and the body along with my carry-on on the plane. any suggestions or cool products you recommend to help pack a dslr?

  24. Pei Lin says:

    Continuing on the good genes topic, Jen, you look like you are 28 in that photo of you and Lisa!!! Amazing! I think you great now. Totally fantastic the way you are now!

  25. Stephane says:

    I’m pretty sure those are roasted chickpeas in the pic directly below the one of the bridge!

  26. jenyu says:

    Alexandra – or the fact that they are DELICIOUS?! :)

    Susan – I know you speak the truth about the heat, babe! I suggest you and I always meet up on the west coast – someplace nice and dry. xoxo

    Nichole – xoxo I heart you.

    Steph – what a GREAT town you live in.

    justcooknyc – bummed we missed you!

    Alyson – double yes on the passion fruit :)

    Chuck – thanks for the link and thanks for hosting me. You guys are so great!

    Melissa – absolutely!

    Raj – cool, thanks :)

    Hungry Bear admirer – I’ll try to get the recipe from her.

    Jaya – SF is an awesome city *especially* if you love to eat. I hope you plan a visit or two – soooo worth it :)

    angelitacarmelita – I don’t recall the name of the roll either, I just called it nommy roll because it was really… nommy.

    Andrew – I use ThinkTank Photo bags. The best. But yeah, it’s a lot of weight to carry around.

    Pei Lin – you’re soooo sweet :) I think I look younger than I am because I dress like a slob.

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