Nestled amongst the many Fauxtalian sidewalk cafes clustered in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood, I have managed to find one authentic, non-touristy spot that's actually worthy of your time and money – Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store Cafe. Despite the shop's name, it actually doesn't have anything to do with cigars. They say it's just more of a nod to a time when food was prepared fresh every day, the kind of simple, old fashioned Italian food you can still experience at Mario's.
I didn't set out on this venture necessarily looking to have a full, sit-down brunch. In fact, it was coffee that drew us to this place called Dolce Amore on the cusp of Lower Pac Heights and Lower Nob Hill on this particular morning. We had pulled up Foursquare in search of a new or interesting place to get a quality cup and this cute cafe serving Illy was calling our name.
Austin, Texas is loaded with plenty of epic eating. Even breakfast – dominated by massive egg-filled breakfast tacos – is out of control awesome. But, for the most part, breakfast is limited to fast-casual options. So, if you want something sit-down and just a bit more formal, you've got to look a little bit harder. While I was in town looking for a nice, relaxed breakfast, we got a recommendation to head to a nearby spot called Elizabeth St. Cafe to get our fix.
I told you guys I'd be back. I knew you couldn't keep me away from New York for too long. And Thanksgiving was just the right occasion to come back East for a few days of powering through my old stomping ground. To be honest, this rampage sort of turned into a food and drink greatest hits extravaganza. You'll see what I mean when I get around to publishing everything I ate... Anyway, while in SF, one of the things I've been missing most from my time in NY is access to great, simple, Italian comfort food. I just haven't been able to find a reliable red sauce joint out here yet. So, I made sure that one of my first stops in NY was at one of my old NYC favorites, Fiat Café in Nolita, for a cheap, filling, and reliably delicious meal.
To celebrate my lovely girlfriend Amy's
redacted birthday, we planned a glorious weekend getaway to the Paso Robles wine country. We had heard excellent things about the remote region's beauty and density of high-quality wineries so it seemed like a great way to spend a couple of days and the perfect way to mark the occasion. On the Friday of her birthday weekend, Amy drove down from San Francisco to pick me up from work in Sunnyvale before we headed off into the beautiful, winding, south-of-SF countryside only to stop quickly in Moss Landing for dinner before reaching Paso Robles at around 11 PM.
Ever since I was seven years old playing Crusin' USA on Nintendo 64, I've wanted to see the gigantic Californian Redwood trees in person. Finally, almost 20 years later, now that I've moved from NYC to San Francisco, I easily have the ability to go to them whenever the urge strikes. All it takes is a short drive over the Golden Gate Bridge to the North Bay followed by a truly treacherous, narrow, winding, fog-shrouded, mountainside drive up to Muir Woods.
In a neighborhood where models, fashionistas, and shopping enthusiasts roam wild it's almost unsurprising that a cafe like Chobani exists. I'll be the first to admit that I openly scoffed at the idea of a fresh Greek yogurt specialty shop when they first opened up in SoHo, but I'll also be quick to tell you that everything is actually incredible. You, like me, are probably saying "Really? It's just Greek yogurt with toppings in a bowl?" Well yes, that would be the simplistic way of looking at it. But, there are actual chefs back there behind the glass wearing actual chef coats putting together super-fresh, interesting, flavorful sweet and savory Greek yogurt and gourmet topping combinations.
I get strange cravings sometimes. Escargot and Beef Tartare probably are not the first things you'd think of having on a hungover Saturday solo lunch, but I guess I'm a little different than most people. I knew what I wanted and I knew where to go to get it, so I took a fifteen minute walk from my Union Square hotel on a very grey, rainy San Francisco day to quench my thirst for fine French cuisine. Café Claude, whisk me away to Paris!
The other day I stumbled across a tiny shop called The Frog's Crown Bakery tucked away on a minimally trafficked section of West SoHo. This little cafe serves bakery standards like coffee and sweet pastries, but I was actually drawn inside by the ethnic savory options I noticed advertised on their front window.
When I first spotted Cafe Nadery on this quickly growing, but still quiet section of 8th street, my interest was piqued. It appeared to have a quiet and leisurely vibe and really seemed more like a cafe for coffee and tea than a restaurant. Functionally, it is a coffee shop in every respect with many of people plugged into their laptops working silently. The biggest difference between it and your usual coffee shop is that their kitchen prepares homestyle Persian comfort food. I don't know much about Persian food, but I certainly wanted to try this very underrepresented cuisine in NYC.