Over the Fourth of July holiday weekend Gary and I, along with the kittos (kittens/kids), took a trip up to visit my mom in the San Francisco Bay area. As usual, we had a jam packed schedule mostly filled with delectable produce and pastries. We visited our usual favorites: Chez Panisse, Cheeseboard, Ici Ice Cream, Tartine, and Bi Rite, but also added a few new places to our itinerary. Once again I failed to take very many pictures with my camera, so many of these are from my iPhone. (How do you get over hauling a big camera out without feeling self conscious?) It took me a little while to gather this post together because 1. I've been having some post vacation blues, and 2. Writing does not come easily to me. So I hope if you're taking a trip up north that this is helpful!
Bouchon Bakery - Yountville
Having been to the Las Vegas and Los Angeles locations, I knew I had to visit the original location. We ordered a strawberry almond croissant, monkey bread, and a TKO. The monkey bread was a complete miss, the TKO was slightly different than usual, but the croissant was out of this world (pictured below). There was nothing particularly remarkable about this location other than the long line, so I wouldn't say you're missing out if you've only tried other locations. (Not to be construed as an insult, but rather a compliment that each location is consistent!)
Ad Hoc Addendum - Yountville
After arriving late Thursday night, I somehow woke up at 5 am the next morning eager to plan out our weekend. I discovered that Ad Hoc offers their famous fried chicken to go on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Making sure not to miss out, I downloaded their iPhone app and paid for our chicken lunches in advance.
You guys, it's worth the wait. It's worth the drive. It's worth The $16.50. It is by far the best fried chicken I've had in my life! Moist, juicy, crispy, aromatic, with a slight tang from the buttercream. I wasn't a huge fan of the sides or the cornbread, but the chicken was just about perfect.
We scheduled our chicken pick up for noon and had some time to kill, so we visited the French Laundry garden. On our walk back towards Ad Hoc, we ran into Thomas Keller. That was pretty cool. For the record, he was friendly and gracious for taking a photo with Gary, even though it was obvious he was on a mission to get work done.
Sketch Ice Cream - Berkeley
I first found out about Sketch Ice Cream from instagram, and I'm so glad I did! Sketch offers soft serve ice cream made from organic and locally sourced ingredients, focusing on clean and simple flavors like plum sorbet, basil, burnt caramel, and classics like chocolate and vanilla. I ordered their vanilla bean soft serve with candied cocoa nibs and a mini chocolate chip cookie on the side, while Gary had their burnt caramel soft serve. In addition to ice cream, they offer a small selection of treats as well as some savory options. The clean and calming aesthetic of their shop certainly matched their offerings; Gary and I kept trying to find more excuses to visit again!
Outerlands - Outer Sunset
Outerlands has been on my list for over a year now but we never make out to the Outer Sunset. It wasn't until we went to Trouble Coffee that I realized it was on the same block! Unfortunately we already had meal plans for that day, but we vowed to come back.
We went on Saturday morning, hoping they'd be serving brunch. It turns out that's only for Sundays! After comparing menus on their website, we realized we weren't missing out on much because we both wanted to order savory dishes.
I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich with added tomato, but I'm still kicking myself for not adding the soup as well. Gary ordered their pulled pork sandwich and eggs on top. Every bit was perfectly composed of the best ingredients, but the star of the show was their house made bread. The bread was soooooo good. The sourdough tang was perfect without being artificial or overpowering. The only downside is the wait. I wanted a seat inside because of all the photos of I've seen of their interior but every single table had just been filled. No need to worry about getting cold though, they have heat lamps that offered more than enough warmth.
Craftsman and Wolves - The Mission
The first time we tried Craftsman and Wolves, I had no clue about their famous muffin, the rebel within. We actually thought to ourselves, "Why the hell is this muffin $7?!" It wasn't until I did a little more research that I discovered what was hidden inside: a soft boiled egg. The rave reviews are true, this is definitely a muffin to experience at least once! It's not all about the runny yolked filling though. The actual muffin part is speckled with cheese, green onion, and sausage, making this a perfectly suitable breakfast option.
Doughnut Dolly - Oakland Yeast raised doughnuts and fresh filling, filled right on the spot. What more could you ask for? Their signature naughty cream is made with creme fraiche and was our favorite all around.
Acme Bread - Ferry Building Usually I'm too stuffed to eat even more bread, but knew I had to fit in a bit more sourdough after reading about this well known bakery. We ordered a sourdough baguette and a small sourdough round. Paired with some Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam and Sqirl jam, it was the perfect afternoon snack.
Rainbow Grocery - The Mission This was probably the highlight of the trip for me (for Gary, it was meeting Thomas Keller). We went in on Saturday and were so incredibly overwhelmed that we had no clue what to do or where to start. We walked around in a haze, but came back Sunday and brought my mom, too. This grocery store is a dream! Their bulk foods area had an expansive selection of spices, herbs, teas, flours, oils, nut butters, pastas, dried fruit, and more. Most of the items I came across were organic, and their labels also included their location and farm name. They even had more obscure ingredients available in bulk like kimchi, sauerkraut, and preserved lemons. You're even allowed to bring your own reusable containers and tare them yourself. And added bonus is that they have their own parking lot.