For my past two trips to San Francisco, my protocol has been to fly there via Virgin America at 6-argh-em. I arrive in the city at 8am and get to the Union Square area before 9am. I used to abhor early flights, but trust me when I say this: functioning on an hour of sleep to catch that flight is worth it when you go to SF. You simply do not want to waste time by arriving in the afternoon!
I took the Bart to Montgomery station and had just enough leftover credit from my ticket last September. I love that SF is a walking city, coming from another one myself. From the train station, I walked to Galleria Park Hotel (great value and service — highly recommended) and left my luggage there. I went straight to the Tully’s a hop away for my much anticipated coffee. It was a balmy weather for me (I say this because it was cold for some) and I enjoyed the soft mist in the air — it wasn’t even a drizzle.
I met up with Arnold (Mr. Inuyaki himself) a little later and we trekked down to the Ferry Building to catch Chrystal and Amir (the awesome DuoDishes who won the Bertolli contest), but they already left when we got there. We still wanted to get some food, but there were too many choices. I eventually settled for some bread from Acme Bread (I didn’t want to eat too much in anticipation of Delfina a few hours later) and Arnold got his beef bowl and roast beef sushi from Delica rf-1. That sushi tasted so good and it’s perfect for those who prefer their sushi without seafood (yes, yes, they do exist). The catch is that you have to put it in your mouth full, unless you have a knife to slice it with.
One thing that’s great about hanging out with someone local is your quick access to knowledge of places to go to. Guidebooks can’t talk to you if you’re not sure where you want to go. Ha ha. I was a mess that morning, running on almost no sleep, so I owe Arnold for navigating me through the streets and eats. Thank you! Not only did he tell me about Chef David Chang’s book signing the next day (more on that in the next installment), he also brought me to that chocolate place across Market Street from the Ferry Building called Fog City News — “San Francisco’s destination for the world’s information & chocolate.” It was a nice little shop full of magazines, newspapers, cards, and a corner full of chocolates from all over the world, including a couple from the Philippines. I was SO delighted! I immediately showed it to Arnold, who is also Filipino.
I found out about Askinosie Chocolate from Kristina’s ice cream post last September and made a huge mental note of it. Growing up in the Philippines and moving to North America over a decade ago, I knew that the Philippines wasn’t a source of artisan chocolates that made a dent in the international market — so it was a surprise and a source of pride to have these. us being food bloggers, we grabbed some to take home and test for ourselves. Yay! I’ve only been there for a few hours but I was already shopping. Heh.
At some point, the rain got ugly so we had to just cut our walk after I got my backup battery from the Apple store. More shopping.
I headed back to the hotel to dry up a bit and meet Gaby (WhatsGabycooking.com), Sonja (Active Foodie) and her boyfriend, for a late lunch of yummy pizza at Pizzeria Delfina. We were already late when we skyrocketed to the Mission area. The cabs in SF are downright scary, but they do get you to your destination in a wink.
We were greeted by fellow travelers Rachael (La Fuji Mama) and friend, Jessica (A Fete for Food), and locals Chef John (award-winning Food Wishes) and the dynamic duo Denise and Lenny (ChezUs). We were starved, but thanks to Chef John for plopping down an extra pizza on the table for us to eat while we decided what to get, before he sauntered off back to his place. After much chatter and deliberation (everything sounded good), we decided on some some funghi and four cheese pizza. I did say we were starving, right? In fact, no one took photos of the food. It was that bad! We remembered to take a photo of the frontage on the way back, though. Ha ha.
And what’s a Mission run without a visit to Bi-Rite Creamery?
Damn right, I got the Salted Caramel again and tried the Toasted Coconut with it. Heaven, my dears.
We walked to the train station at Mission and met up again at Hotel Vitale, after I picked up Dan from the train station. Whoa, hectic! We registered for the conference, met a few of the Foodbuzz staff, got our schedules and goodie bags, and headed up to the 8th floor patio for the Welcome Reception. We zoned in to the bar right away and things started to get blurry after drinking that fruity (apple?) drink from Skyy. Haha.
We made it to the other end of the patio where we enjoyed some stunning views of the street from the top:
And here we are kicking off the evening with drinks, appies, laughter and good conversation.
We had no clue what we were in for at the next building at this point.
After having too much fun talking, we eventually made our way out to the Ferry Building for Taste of SF Street Food Fare.
Oh, my word.
This was a life-changing burger for some:
There were also melt-in-your mouth chicharonnes, tacos, cupcakes (they ran out!), ice cream from Straus Family Creamery (my FAVORITE milk), fresh oysters, yummy beets, and many more I can’t even remember!
It was quite a feast and I was too stuffed to try everything, really. I need to re-learn how to pace myself, as I used to do for Philippine Fiestas. One thing’s for sure: Foodbuzz sure know how to organize a feast for the senses! It was amazing. Thank you Foodbuzz!!!
To be continued…