Bistro Boudin is part of the larger Boudin flagship store in Fisherman's Wharf, which is a must-stop in an area loaded with must-stops. Not only can you get a behind-the-scenes look at how this legendary bakery makes its famous sour doughs, you can also pick up some great souvenirs for back home at their tasteful gift shop. Follow up your shopping with a nice treat for yourself at the bistro, like some Sourdough Tortilla Tacos: Grilled Rock Cod, Dungeness Crab or Spicy Grilled Shrimp served with that tangy sourdough that has made Boudin loved locally and internationally. A trip to San Francisco without a taste of Boudin's sourdough is simply incomplete.
The hipster heartbeat of the Mission is always on the move (that's what makes it so cool, of course), but you can always trace its pulse back to Mission Beach Cafe. If you really want to taste the hipster life, then head to brunch at the Mission Beach Cafe. Sip on a latte after your weekend brunch of lavender-infused french toast, and then sigh knowingly but painfully as if you have writer's block. Look wistfully as the sun breaks through the fog, wrap your hand-knit scarf around your neck, and then don your sunglasses for another stylish day. Mission Beach Cafe will get you in the proper "mightier than thou" spirit before you can finish their decadent citrus cured salmon.
Walnut levain, rustic sweet dough, Challah, rosemary-and-olive oil fougasse, rock salt focaccia, olive, currant pumpernickel, citrus almond brioche: with options like these, it's not hard to see why Acme Bread Company is one of the Bay Area's most popular bakeries. Located in the Ferry Building Marketplace, this beloved bread shop offers fresh, creative creations straight from the hearth oven at some of the best prices around. Plus, all breads are made with organic flour. And the original location in Berkeley has gone a step farther, installing photovoltaic panels to generate much of its energy. If you love good bread and care about the environment, there's no better place on earth for you than Acme.
If you're looking for gluten-free, your search might start and stop at Mariposa. Mariposa's first few years were spent in a shared kitchen in West Berkeley, California. Their popularity grew, so they needed bigger ovens, which spurred a move in 2006. Instead of a standard, cookie-cutter design for their new bakery, Mariposa designed a gluten-free kitchen in the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland, California. This certified green bakery also housed Mariposa's first retail bakeshop. In 2009, Mariposa expanded to a second location, this time a kiosk in San Francisco's Ferry Building. Mariposa's presence in the Ferry Building enabled them to bring daily bread and hand-crafted treats to San Francisco's gluten-free community.
If you want to ease your social conscience as you gobble down a blueberry muffin, swing by Hayes Valley Bakeworks. Besides offering delectable morning pastries, cookies, porridge bowls and signature sweets, this bakery trains and employs people with disabilities who are homeless or at risk. And just one visit will convince you that the eager and helpful staff are very grateful for the opportunity. The unique and imaginative interior is designed by award-winning San Francisco architect Jim Maxwell, using eco-friendly design and cheery colors. So if you like helping both people and the earth as you eat your sweets, head to Hayes Valley Bakeworks.
While plenty of places serve up Blue Bottle's famous roast, the Mint Plaza location, housed in the elegant 1912 Provident Loan Building, is the original headquarters. Known for its individually brewed drip coffee, this San Francisco favorite treats patrons to house classics, as well as specialty drinks like macchiatos and lattes, all freshly prepared on the spot. The breakfast menu has everything from steel-cut oats to frittatas, while lunch features assorted sandwiches and salads. Blue Bottle also uses vat-pasteurized, 100 percent Jersey milk from St. Benoît in all milk drinks.
The name says it all. If you're looking for plain, run-of-the-mill, flat and boring sandwich bread, you've come to the wrong place. These bagels are everything a bagel should be: round and boiled, chewy and yummy. And the variety is astounding, with over 25 flavors of their three standard bagels, all authentic New York style bagels because they are boiled and then baked on stone. For those who don't like bagels(!), there's a fantastic variety of artisan breads, cookies (like black and white cookies, rugelach and Russian tea cakes), as well as a fine assortment of pastries. And the deli is excellent if you need something more substantial than cream cheese with your bagel.
Marked only by the image of a firefly, this neighborhood restaurant features a fabric-draped ceiling and impeccable seasonal cuisine. Local, organic ingredients play a major role in the menu, especially in favorites like shrimp and scallop potstickers and scrumptious fried chicken. Richly creative dishes also include roasted duck breast with chestnut bread pudding, slow braised beef short ribs, and cornmeal-crusted rock cod with bacon-braised cabbage. A three-course, prix fixe option is available for $35 Sunday through Thursday and is a great deal. Wonderfully unpretentious and casual, Firefly lets the natural seasons dictate their menu. For example, a summer menu highlight is "Chopped Salad of Yummy Summer Stuff with Fun and Exciting Vinaigrette." Who said eating healthy can't be fun?
Devoted to premium, organic ingredients, this bakery willingly acknowledges that its menu selections depend on everything from seasonal goods to chef-driven whims. Even with such a (mild) disclaimer, it's pretty well certain you'll go away with a satisfied, happy tummy. The European-styled bakery has folks lining up for delicate tarts, fruit-studded brioche, artisan loaves, airy croissants, and addictive eclairs - and that's just to start. Later in the day, sandwiches are fashioned from great, homemade bread and dressed up with top-quality cheeses and herbs. Drinks include French wines, coffees, and a signature hot chocolate. If you can check their menu online and call ahead to order, it's advised.
Locals love this cooperative bakery for its delicious pastries, artisan bread and gourmet pizza. Just two blocks from Golden Gate Park, Arizmendi offers its specialties on a weekly schedule, and depending on the day, patrons enjoy assorted focaccia flavors, baguettes and brioche knots. Regulars especially love the fruit scones and the wolverine loaf, a creative concoction nicknamed the "power bar-type bread." Gourmet pizzas of the day are available after 11:30 am. If you need to pack a healthy-sized loaf for that long trek through the park, or you need that slice of pizza as a reward for you long hike completed, head to Arizmendi.