Travel

Mission Specialty

Establishment neighborhood
Gemini Bottle Co.
2801 22nd St., Mission
Gemini Bottle Co. takes its aesthetic as seriously as its inventory. The store is beautiful in a pared-back, minimal way that encourages customers to hang out and really look around. This is the Mission spot you pop into for small-grower natural wine, a jar of anchovies, bountiful CSA boxes from local farmers, and fresh, hook-and-line caught fish. There’s a robust selection of craft beers, plus all the accoutrement you need to stock a bar at home—right down to the glasses. Gemini holds weekly complimentary tastings, runs a wine club, and keeps environmental concerns at the forefront of their business. Images courtesy of Lauren Hanussak.
The Civic Kitchen
2961 Mission St., Mission
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
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).
Bi-Rite Creamery
3692 18th St., Mission
A decade ago, two Bi-Rite market pastry chefs spied a vacant space across the street from the iconic market and moved in their small-batch baking and ice cream operation. Staying true to the Bi-Rite mission, only organic local ingredients are used, resulting in some of the hands down best scoops (balsamic strawberry, honey lavender, mixed-berry coconut in the summer; earl grey, orange cardamom, maple walnut in winter), buffalo-milk soft serve, frozen cakes, sundaes, and popsicles in the country. A second location recently opened in Alamo Square, though sadly, no soft serve there.
Bi-Rite Creamery
3692 18th St., Mission
A decade ago, two Bi-Rite market pastry chefs spied a vacant space across the street from the iconic market and moved in their small-batch baking and ice cream operation. Staying true to the Bi-Rite mission, only organic local ingredients are used, resulting in some of the hands down best scoops (balsamic strawberry, honey lavender, mixed-berry coconut in the summer; earl grey, orange cardamom, maple walnut in winter), buffalo-milk soft serve, frozen cakes, sundaes, and popsicles in the country. A second location recently opened in Alamo Square, though sadly, no soft serve there.