Bay Area Travel Guide: Things to Do, Eat, Drink, & Shop in the San Francisco SOMA District
Narrated by Keith Lewis (with input from Lynn)
I believe that all tourist traps had humble beginnings. In order for things to become famous, they must have started by just being popular, right? Well there is a good reason why the SF Pier has become such a large tourist attraction. Delicious seafood, beautiful sights, and a large variety of shopping makes for a great day out!
Eat + Drink
GOOD MONG KOK
Lynn, coming from a Taiwanese family, introduced me very early on in our relationship to the magic that is dim sum. Dim sum is not a dish, but a variety of Chinese food, typically eaten around brunch time that includes popular dishes like BBQ pork buns, shrimp dumplings, pork shu mai, black bean ribs, and egg tarts. Some restaurants are sit down, with big carts filled with food rolling around the floor and you pick what you want, but our favorite ways to get dim sum is through smaller places like this. Strictly to go, we also stop by Good Mong Kok when we are in the city to grab some pork and shrimp shu mai and baked bbq pork buns before we start our adventures for the day.
FERRY BUILDING FARMER'S MARKET
Cooking takes patience. Great cooking takes a LOT of patience, the people at Roli Roti understand that. They slow roast their porchetta for over 12 hours to get the perfect blend of crispy skin and juicy, tender meat. Combine that with jam, arugula, and fresh bread and you have a breakfast to sing a song about. Pick one up and walk around the farmers market or eat it at the pier right next to the stand! Supplement the meaty sandwich with some oysters from Hog Island Oyster Co. and copious samples of fresh fruit from the local vendors.
I have a terrible weakness for bread and coffee, so you can follow in my footsteps and buy a challah roll for $0.75 from Acme bread and wash it down with a New Orleans style iced coffee from Blue Bottle. As you can see, this open air farmers market has something for everyone from craft coffee, fresh produce, artisan beer, and adorable flowers.
One of the things we love about walking around SF is finding hidden gems. In our quest to find a restroom that didn’t have a 30-min wait, we found this awesome building with an incredible ramp instead of stairs. The building had an urban jungle feel and we spent some time just being kids, running up and down and taking photos.
TREASURE ISLAND FEST
Formerly the Treasure Island Flea Market (and even more formerly Naval Base Treasure Island) is a craft fair/flea market mashup with awesome vendors selling everything from phone cases, clothes, sunglasses, plants, vinyl records, vases, and so much more. The venue also hosts a fleet of food trucks and full bar service! Along with the food, the venue often hosts events like a giant nerf gun arena or a toy race car track. All together, this is a great place if you are looking for a fun date or a day out with your family.
HOT SAUCE AND PANKO
Recently I have become obsessed with spicy food, due to the Youtube food show Hot Ones. For those who haven't see the show, it is an interview show where guests eat progressively spicier wings while attempting to finish an interview. Lynn knows how much I have been seeking the spice, and picked this place for dinner. It is clearly a take out place, with only two small tables (no chairs) in the restaurant. Hot Sauce and Panko has a large menu, along with a wall of hot sauces for sale as well. While the wings were not as spicy as I anticipated (or craved), they were extremely tasty, and when combined with the waffle they serve it was a great, affordable meal.
VERVE COFFEE ROASTERS
I have always been conflicted about what coffee shop is my favorite (read some of our other date posts to see my struggle) but when someone does a $1 coffee promotion for National Coffee Day, you gotta go. Verve recently opened up a location in San Francisco, and while we were in the city today, we stopped in to grab a hot cup of drip coffee. The location is great to study in, work on personal projects, or just refuel before you head out to do some shopping!
Thats it for this date day, have any other suggestions? leave them in the comments below!