Day three in San Francisco was explored like a local on the SF Muni, an extremely convenient mode of transportation that’s equally entertaining as walking around the city because you get to see all sorts of interesting characters on board.
They day started off with a light hike to a viewpoint of the Golden Gate Bridge, perhaps the most iconic image of San Francisco. We were lucky that Carl (yes, the fog has a name) wasn’t rolling in while we viewed the bridge.
After getting dozens of photos with the wind blowing hair in my face, we gave up and decided it was time to head to the Farmer’s Market located around the Ferry Building.
Here, we ran into a friend who hooked us up with a “chicken patty” from Out the Doors, spin off from Chef Charles Phan’s The Slanted Door. Now, when I hear the words “chicken patty” I have terrible flashbacks of the infamously versatile frozen patty that was disguised in different dishes and served for lunch every week in grade school – chicken patty on a bun, chicken patty and rice, chicken patty and gravy…it’s still the same darn frozen chicken patty. But no, this is no ordinary chicken patty…A buttery, fluffy, flaky, melt in your mouth puff pastry is stuffed with a juicy chicken dumpling filling packed with a ginger flavor waiting to launch your taste buds to flavor town. Dip this little pocket of juicy goodness in a mix of Siracha hot sauce and shoyu (soy sauce) and you are in chicken patty heaven.
Cowgirl Creamery also has a cheese platter of Jack, Cheddar, and Brie cheese worth trying. (Softest cheddar I’ve ever had.) A quick run through the produce stands to sample some fresh fruits (including some Golden Nugget Mandarins) and then we were off to meet a friend at Limon Rotisserie for some Peruvian food.
Peruvian food is one of those cuisines I’ve never had the pleasure of eating, so it was safe to say I was excited to see what I could learn through the meal we were about to have. Limon Rotisserie has a modern take on casual Peruvian dining.
For starters, the cocktails here are quite the attraction and perfect for those who love a little tropical fruit in their life. We tried the Divina Pasion (gin, elder flower, sloe gin, orange juice, lemon juice, sugar cane, passion fruit puree, and Goji liquor) and the Limon Ice Tea (infused passion fruit and papaya with brandy). One sip of those cocktails and I was swaying on a hammock on the shores of a sandy beach. (Although I’m not sure what that has to do with Peru. I’m pretty sure it’s quite mountainous there…but that’s besides the point. Their cocktails are delish.)
Limon is known for their El Pollo A La Brasa, a marinated free-range rotisserie chicken slowly roasted over an open flame. To complete the meal the chicken was served with tacu-tacu (sautéed rice and beans) and yucca fries.
And because just one dish isn’t enough, we enjoyed the chef’s selection of ceviche trio which included – Pulpo Camaron, an octopus ceviche with yellow chili cream; Ceviche Mixto, a classic creamy mixed ceviche with peppers; and Ceviche Camarones, a shrimp ceviche with a passion fruit sauce.
The high energy in Limon matched well with the vibrant and bold flavors of the food, making for an enjoyable experience of Peruvian cuisine.
After stuffing our faces for the better half of the morning, we decided to relax and experience something uniquely San Franciscan – people watching in Dolores Park. I felt as if I had stepped into San Francisco’s backyard – all sorts of interesting people gather in this park like it’s their home. Anything goes here really – people quench their thirst with open beers as you catch whiffs of marijuana, you have the savvy entrepreneur selling “snacks” from a little red wagon, college kids tossing Frisbees, and even your average Joe reading, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” like it was no big deal. It’s all quite the spectacle.
As entertained as we were, we had to head to the next stop to get some boba (or bubble tea depending on where you’re from) at Boba Guys. In college I was a hardcore obsessive bubble tea drinker so I had high expectations. Needless to say, a shop with the slogan “Taking boba to the next level” has certainly raised my standard for bubble tea. The Boba Guys are all about quality, and it shows. Their tea is brewed in house and all toppings and syrups are made from scratch. What I love about this boba shop is that their flavors a quire unique like black sesame, horchata, and earl grey. They also have high quality milk from Straus Family Creamery or you can substitute the lactose with almond or soymilk. Perfect for a boba snob like me! So my friends, “drink well and prosper” with Boba Guys!
A quick stroll through China Town to see the original fortune cookie maker and then it was off to the Moriaga Steps, timed perfectly with the lighting in the Sunset District.
Finally hungry again, I could hardly wait to get to Halu, a Japanese yakitori restaurant. In case you didn’t know, yakitori is by far one of my favorite foods. It’s nothing fancy, in fact it’s quite the opposite – you can’t quite be polite while biting pieces of grilled chicken parts off a stick and washing it down with some beer.
To enjoy yakitori to it’s fullest you must eat without inhibition. Perhaps this is why I find that every time I eat yakitori, honest and genuine conversations take place between strangers and close friends alike.
The inner yakitori connoisseur in me decided to try the Yakitori Lover’s Set (gizzard, heart, liver, fried chicken skin, and chicken thigh), beef belly, and a few shiitake and enringi (king trumpet) mushrooms. In Japan, at my go to yakitori stand, I always order the tsukune (chicken meatball) and liver, however at Halu, the grilled chicken skin was the star of the show. Crispy and crunchy, it was like eating the most sought after part of fried chicken.
Lastly, we ended the night with another spectacular view of the city from Twin Peaks.