No trip to SF is complete without a visit to the vibrant and colourful Mission District, thanks to the dramatic backdrop of some 200-plus wall murals in the neighbourhood. Prepare to spend an entire day strolling along the very bohemian Valencia St, and you will be sufficiently entertained with dozens of cute, one-of-a-kind stores selling vintage collectibles, clothing, restored furniture, records and books, to name a few. When you’re ready for your next caffeine fix, duck into some of the most loved coffee joints in SF to re-charge. Oh, and if you’re hungry, the Mission is also home to some of the hottest restaurants – if only getting that coveted opentable dinner reservation was that easy.
Flour + Water
2401 Harrison St, San Francisco | 415.826.7000
Ok, so just how hot is this restaurant right now! For starters, limited reservations are available so you’re better off making your way down real early to reserve a table in person. And don’t despair, you will be seated eventually, possibly after the first, second or third seating – so you can imagine my anticipation after waiting an hour and forty minutes to be seated. Expectations were high and boy was I hungry!
In all, of the two starters and two pastas I ordered, I was most impressed with the braised hen, pancetta & chard raviolini ($17). Each little parcel was bursting with farm-fresh, wholesome flavours and every morsel was a real delight. The rosemary pappardelle with braised rabbit, rapini & hedgehog mushrooms ($17) was slightly over-salted and while good, did not strike me as spectacular. To be fair, the waiter did look puzzled when I didn’t order pizza so perhaps it would be more sensible to go straight for their house special next time.
Overall, the food was good but fell short of expectations. I thoroughly enjoyed the raucous revelry and communal dining experience at Flour + Water which most certainly warrants a second visit. I also loved that serving sizes are small here so sharing of plates is encouraged – and the chef has a wonderful style of saucing his dishes lightly so that none of that over-creaminess gets to you.
Tip: If you haven’t a reservation, either wait in line way early (from 5pm) or have something light to eat before you head down and enjoy a glass (or two!) of wine while waiting and soak up the vibrant atmosphere.
2400 Harrison St, San Francisco | 415.830.3014
This cute little place is directly across the road from Flour + Water and serves 100% organic, 100% vegan, local fare. Their menu has an extensive list of raw foods and select cooked foods, as well as nourishing juices and beverages.
Fun fact: Let your wait staff, food items on the menu and crockery remind you all over again why being grateful is the key to eternal happiness. Our fun question for the day was “what do you have plenty of?” (and don’t say it out loud; let the gratitude flow).
Hog & Rocks – SF’s first ham & oyster bar
3431 19th St @ Mission | 415.550.8627
2534 Mission St | 415.648.7600
Shop at Therapy – If lifestyle and vintage are words ingrained in your vocabulary, do make it a point to hunt down this store filled with delightful house ware items which include clocks, signboards, clothing, furniture and fun accessories for the home. I have to admit I did get a little carried away here and ended up buying a couple of ‘bulky items’ which incidentally, are still sitting in their basement (thanks Darlene) because freight charges were kind of ‘sky-high’. A great excuse to plan my next trip back to SF though! – 541 Valencia St, San Francisco | 415.865.9758 | also has 5 other locations around California
4 Barrel Coffee – 375 Valencia St
Ritual Coffee – 1026 Valencia St
2295 Harrison St, San Francisco | 415.550.0515 (walking distance from Flour + Water and Cafe Gratitude)
This massive indoor rock climbing gym, complete with a weights and cardio section, while not the largest in the bay area, still rocks on with its impressive overhangs and ultra industrial vibe.