Travel

San Francisco Specialty

Establishment neighborhood
The Civic Kitchen
2961 Mission St., Mission District
The Civic Kitchen is an entirely purpose-built (meaning every amenity is built to spec) cookery school in San Francisco’s Mission district. More than just a kitchen, this space is a fully immersive culinary experience for the gourmand with floor-to-ceiling shelves packed with cookbooks for inspiration, a large communal table for meal sharing, and the cook space itself, which feels like the cozy, well-designed kitchen of a friend. The classes are intended to be practical—themed around building meals and menus rather than zoning in on individual, complicated dishes. Choose to learn how to pull together a full Sunday brunch, how to cook a chicken and assorted grains ahead of time for easier meal-making during the week, or, if the mood strikes you, how to prepare a full celebratory Chinese new year dinner (dumplings, noodles, steamed fish, the works). The school has over a dozen chefs on staff (each one with their own particular area of expertise) and classes never go above fourteen students.
Thistle
Using organic, local ingredients—with all of their meals boasting an average of almost six different fruits and veggies—Thistle whips up colorful gluten- and dairy-free fare, with vegan options as well. We're partial to their “poke" bowl: marinated rainbow beets, togarashi-sprinkled brown rice, edamame, cucumber, and avocado sesame ginger dressing. House-made nut milks spiked with mushrooms, plus superfoods like maca, spirulina, and moringa take the menu to the next level. Local couriers deliver in SF and LA, and shipping is available to greater California and Nevada.
China Live
644 Broadway, Chinatown
This newly-opened 30,000-square-foot space in Chinatown is a veritable foodie wonderland, and early comparisons to Eataly are well-deserved: the ground floor incorporates a café, a casual table-service restaurant, cocktail bars, and retail space with a curated selection of everything from condiments to produce to cookware. The food lives up to its mecca-like digs—at Oolong Café, you’ll find a rotating selection of artisanal teas sourced directly from farmers in Greater China and Taiwan; the restaurant offers a constantly updated menu, cooked from eight specialized stations (including one that houses a Chinese earthen oven used to prepare their Peking-style roasted duck). Exhibition kitchens with ample bar seating help further China Live’s educational spirit, as do the guides who populate the market area performing tastings of products and assisting guests. The not-yet-open second and third floors will soon house a fine dining spot, another bar, and a large banquet space.
Dandelion Chocolate Factory and Café
740 Valencia St., Mission District
Founded by two friends, Todd Masonis and Cameron Ring—who got their start roasting up cocoa beans just for fun in a garage—Dandelion Chocolate sources the highest-quality beans, and, in small batches, crafts incredible chocolate that really draws on the complex flavors of every bean. At their Valencia Street café, you can grab a hot chocolate (or an espresso drink and a pastry made in-house by Executive Pastry Chef Lisa Vega) and watch the entire bean-to-bar process from start to finish. And, of course, you can get your hands on their amazing chocolate offerings. In addition to their Mission District location, they also have a spot in the nearby Ferry Building (as well as a factory and café in Tokyo).
Smitten Ice Cream
432 Octavia St., Hayes Valley
You’ll be hard-pressed to find anybody who’s more passionate about ice cream than the folks behind Smitten, who actually built and patented a completely new technology to make what they claim to be the smoothest ice cream in the world. They started in San Francisco, selling ice cream out of a little red wagon (seriously), and while they’re beloved in their hometown—there are locations in Pacific Heights, Oakland, Hayes Valley, and more—they’ve just expanded to LA with a shop in El Segundo (Silver Lake is opening soon).
Smitten Ice Cream
5800 College Ave., Oakland
You’ll be hard-pressed to find anybody who’s more passionate about ice cream than the folks behind Smitten, who actually built and patented a completely new technology to make what they claim to be the smoothest ice cream in the world. They started in San Francisco, selling ice cream out of a little red wagon (seriously), and while they’re beloved in their hometown—there are locations in Pacific Heights, Oakland, Hayes Valley, and more—they’ve just expanded to LA with a shop in El Segundo (Silver Lake is opening soon).
Smitten Ice Cream
2404 California St., Pacific Heights
You’ll be hard-pressed to find anybody who’s more passionate about ice cream than the folks behind Smitten, who actually built and patented a completely new technology to make what they claim to be the smoothest ice cream in the world. They started in San Francisco, selling ice cream out of a little red wagon (seriously), and while they’re beloved in their hometown—there are locations in Pacific Heights, Oakland, Hayes Valley, and more—they’ve just expanded to LA with a shop in El Segundo (Silver Lake is opening soon).
You may also like