Mission District Specialty
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.
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).
3106 16th St., Mission District
Ice cream sandwiches steal the show at Cream, from waffle-based to cookie, brownie, mini-sized, gluten-free, and vegan. There are locations in a few states now, and in addition to this SF shop, there's also a second outpost in Stonestown Galleria. Also, note: Cream caters—and what's more awesome than an ice cream sandwich bar?
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