Dining Destination: San Francisco
By Fabiana Santana
San Francisco residents have a lot more to celebrate than just winning the 2010 World Series. The city of brotherly love has a culinary scene that is bound to impress any foodie.
Mexican in the Mission
You’ve got to make your way to the Mission district to sample some of San Francisco’s finest Mexican fare. Spanish missionaries arrived in the area during the late 18th century, so you know roots run deep here. The Mission is said to have introduced the burrito to America, so be sure to sample one at the many roadside stand inspired restaurants.
Hangar One Distillery
Go to any bar in town and you will likely see the same bottle of premium vodka behind the bar: Hangar One. That’s because Hanger One is kind of a hometown hero. The brand’s distillery is located on a former airfare base and come happy hour, its more happening than most of the bars in town. Hangar One hosts distillery tours (free) and tastings ($10) that will leave you buzzed on bevy of the brand’s uniquely flavored vodkas (Buddha’s Hand Citrus, Kaffir Lime, Mandarin Blossom), absinthe, and if you are lucky, a few premium tequilas and rums. But that is not all – you will with no doubt leave the place with souvenir shots of you standing next to the shark from Deep Blue Sea. How? Ah the secret stays within the distillery, so you have to visit to find. The distillery is also available to be rented out for private parties and easily houses from a few to a few dozen of your closets friends and features a private pilot’s lounge perfect for private parties. Say that 10 times after a Hangar One happy hour tasting. 2601 Monarch Street, Alameda, CA 94501, (510) 769-1601. hangarone.com
Chef Mark Franz focuses on coastal cuisine with French influence at the famed Farallon restaurant. The menu changes daily depending on what’s fresh, so don’t get your heart set on one dish. This winter, lucky diners might get to sample a poached half main lobster with haas avocado mousse, burgundy black truffles with crisp spaetzel and heirloom tomato bisque dressed with basil Chantilly and extra virgin olive oil. While seafood is the standout here, meat lovers will be more than satisfied by what Chef Franz can do with a Jones Farm rabbit loin, filet of beef and Sonoma squab. An impressive raw bar offers up sushi, sashimi and a variety of oysters among other things and the open kitchen lets you in on all the action from Chef Franz and his team. 450 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94102, (415) 956-6969. farallonrestaurant.com
Bourbon and Branch
You’ve got to know the password to get into this super secret bar set in the Tenderloin section of San Fran. The place gives you a glimpse of what is was like to live in the 1920s prohibition era. Think secret rooms hidden behind faux bookcases and back parlors designed to replicate Boardwalk Empire style salons. House rules include no cell phone use, no standing at the bar, no screaming – speak easy please, and no cosmos. Master mixologists create libations that are way more interesting. 501 Jones Street, San Francisco, CA 94102, (415) 931-7292.