We get our fair share of requests for recommendations of what to do, where to go, what to eat as we have lived in the city for a while now. There’s nothing more we love than spreading the knowledge around. This extends to other things beyond San Francisco. Other finds like that lovely bakery, this great cooking show, that awesome dim sum place, this fantastic cheese. There are many things we would like to share with you on this space which don’t seem to fit in any other posts, created or run by wonderful folk. So starting today, every Thursday we’ll share three spectacular finds in San Francisco, in the shops, on the Internet, on the Web or just simply anywhere we come across them. Hopefully through here, you’ll find your new favourite pastry shop, Chinese take-out or a fun evening hangout.
On todays I love SF to bits edition
Good things come in small sizes at Delise Dessert Cafe on Bay Street. This little cafe totally gets the concept of wanting to indulge without feeling like killing yourself right after. The desserts are sized just about right so you can get a couple to sample or four to share with prices to match the size of the pastry. They opened about a block away from where we lived just about six months before we moved. Yes folks, they made us really think about wanting that move.
The owners Dennis and Eloise are the most welcoming and enthusiastic people. They were pastry chefs working for prestigious other places in San Francisco before they opened up this little endeavour. They have lovely, not-too-heavy sandwiches on the menu. The cakes and cookies are baked fresh everyday. With wonderful flavours like Irish Dream, the cakes are a slam dunk. What I’m crazy about here are the brownies. The chewy little dark chocolate squares with little sprinkles of salt have a texture unlike any brownie you’ve eaten. I have gone crazy trying to figure out how they make it. One of these days I’m just going to have to beg them for the recipe. They also have a fabulous range of ice-creams which change seasonally. Quince Poppy seed and Buttermilk Ginger are the bomb! (Does anyone say the bomb anymore? Way to be uncool, me. Wait, isn’t uncool…? Oh, dagnabit.) They surprise you with sudden Asian twists in unexpected places.
Don’t be fooled by their proximity to Pier 39. This is the most non-touristy little food option you will find in a ten block radius. Come here for lunch, say hello to Dennis and Elise, (and if you’re lucky their adorable little Gabe) have a sandwich and a cupcake and sit on their bar stools and watch the world go by out the window. You will leave just full enough.
You feel like you are in the pages of Archie Comics when you visit The Ice Cream Bar Soda Fountain in Cole Valley. Yes, they do have soda fountains! And soda jerks (hey, I’m not being rude, that’s what they were called. I read my Betty and Veronicas religiously.) This place makes the little girl in me who will never, ever stop loving ice-cream very, very happy. As soon as you enter you see an ice-cream counter to your right and a soda counter in the back. Step up to that soda counter and confidently order an egg cream as if you’ve been doing it for years. Did that guy just put in an egg in with the watermelon? Yes he did. Don’t worry, it is going to be peachy. Breathe, and let those who know what they are doing do their job. Now take a long swig out of that lovely tall glass they put in front of you? There, what did I tell you? It’s the bee’s knees! (Besides, the eggs are pasteurized.)
We’re partial to places with cheerful service and Ice Cream Bar scores major points in this area. Everyone here is happy to help you and will let you take your sweet (pun intended) time as you figure out what you want. You will agonize over the offerings because you want everything on it. Amble over to the ice-cream counter and watch the utter delight on children’s faces as they look at all that ice-cream. The Mint chip is refreshing with a mint flavour so fresh, you’d swear they crushed the leaves just before they served you your scoop. Rich, buttery with caramel tones, the Butterscotch is my favourite. Amey loves the fromage blanc. They have these ridiculously good sodas with house-made flavours like fennel and allspice. Man, the Archie generation knew how to live.
Their best kept secret? They make awesome cookies. Over the summer, they had sweet corn cookie so good, I would arm wrestle little old ladies for the last one. Come over a settle down with a soda and ice cream sandwich (or a grilled cheese, they have those too.) Happiness by the scoop.
Go to Macy’s Union Square for macarons at Tout Sweet Patisserie. Forget that jacket and spend your time in the calm white environs of this little pastry shop above the square. One could assume there is hype associated with this Top Chef Desserts winner’s eatery, but really it is a solid sweet shop that delivers on its name, all sweets, all the time.
I love getting a citrus-vanilla panna cotta and snagging a table by the window, watching the capsule elevators of Westin St. Francis Ferry people up and down. The macarons are inspired and the Tesla tart is as charged as its name suggests, a lemon-yuzu curd filled zinger of a lemon tart. The flourless chocolate cake is the perfect foil for the Tesla Tart. Come hungry and make your meal a dessert filled one.