Visiting San Francisco and looking for some unique culinary treats?
San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood is a great place to start. One of our contributors recently took a Sidewalk Food Tour of the neighborhood, here’s her report.
North Beach Food Tour
We met our charming, witty, and highly knowledgeable guide, Casey, near Caffe Trieste, the first coffee shop on the West Coast.
Casey started the tour with tales about the Gold Rush, weaving the history of surrounding buildings, including St. Francis Church, into her story.
She brought four types of focaccia from Liguria Bakery. Although it opens at 7am and sells out within three hours, we were able to sample its delicious breads because of Casey’s good planning. Two brothers opened the bakery more than 100 years ago and it still runs as a family business.
Our first stop of the tour was at Molinari Delicatessen, where we tried sandwiches that were not even on the menu. The owner called them “Casey’s Specials.”
We then walked down a European-like street toward City Lights, a beatnik landmark.
After going through Chinatown, we arrived at U.S. Restaurant enjoyed some tasty homemade meatballs and panelle.
Our next stop was Tony’s Pizza, where each slice was a taste of heaven. Tony is an 11-time world champion Pizza Maker and was also made it into the Guinness Book of World Records (Biggest Pizza and Most Consecutive Rolls Across the Shoulders). Tony’s most well-known pizza is Neapolitan-style margherita, and he only makes 73 of those pizzas per day.
While tasting the pizza, we learned about an interesting addition to San Francisco: parklets. A parklet is a small space, about 2 or 3 parking spots, which becomes an extension of a sidewalk and is used for seating by nearby restaurants and cafes. These parklets allow people to relax and enjoy surrounding atmosphere. Tony’s pizza has a parklet in front.
The truffle shop’s owner demonstrated the process of truffle making and let us taste his chocolate creations. The highlight of this place was the hot chocolate–the best I’ve had in a very long time. In fact, I’d say it’s the first time I’ve had a real hot chocolate in the US.
On the way back, we went through Washington Square Park and had a chance to look at the tribute to firefighters statute. The one on the left was holding a chair leg. Casey told us that the object in the his hand changes on weekly bases.
Our tour concluded with some delicate cannoli from Cavalli Café.
It was an amazing tour with a great company on a gorgeous San Francisco day. Casey, in the picture above, is an excellent guide. My personal food favorites were the Molinari sandwich and XOX’s hot chocolate.
If you’re interested in a tour, check out FoodToursOfSanFrancisco.com.