Travel

The Mission Specialty

Specialty neighborhood
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.
The Mission
Blue Bottle Coffee
2900 18th St., Mission
There are now ten locations strong in the bay area, with cafés in the Ferry Building, Hayes Valley, Heath Ceramics, Market Square, Mint Plaza, and on Sansome. There are two locations in Oakland, on Broadway and Webster St. Perhaps the most groundbreaking of their brews is the chicory-spiked New Orleans cold brew, which comes in a handy single-serving carton. They also make a pretty great granola in-house while the SFMOMA rooftop location is home to Chef Caitlin Freeman's modern art desserts. Think: a loaf cake made to look like a Mondrian painting and cookies inspired by Richard Serra’s sculptures.
The Mission
Dandelion Chocolate
740 Valencia St., Mission
The only thing more surprising than a fully functioning chocolate factory smack dab in the middle of San Francisco is the fact that it's one of the few in the world that actually makes chocolate from scratch. They're kind of chocolate purists in that they don't do fancy flavors but rather rely on really good bean varieties and just a smidge of sugar (every bar has 70% chocolate to 30% sugar). Buy all sorts of fresh-baked, chocolate-spiked pastries and sample all the house varieties at the on-site café. Call ahead to request a guided tour of the factory.
The Mission
Four Barrel Coffee
375 Valencia St., Mission
We love Four Barrel not just for excellent espressos, almond milk lattes, and Americanos, but for their very genuine commitment to community, both local and global. Putting their massive warehouse space to good use, they host regular workshops (pickling classes with Bar Tartine's Cortney Burns sounds especially fun) and make it a point to only source beans from small family farmers all over the world. In a pretty brilliant move, the café doesn't have wifi, so people are forced to converse face-to-face rather than hide behind laptops. There's also a location in Alamo Square and Portola.
The Mission
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