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I live about an hour south of San Francisco so, when I do make the trip up there, I try to discover something I can’t find in my hometown. Lucky for me, I have a ton of friends and a plethora of unique restaurants at my fingertips which makes for a great way to catch-up and chow down. If you live nearby or are visiting, I definitely recommend the following establishments:
1. Green Chile Kitchen – I discovered this gem in a magazine and now I can’t get enough. With a restaurant on one corner of the block and a cafe/bakery on the other, Green Chile Kitchen can feed you round-the-clock. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner highlighting New Mexican cuisine focused around the red and green chiles. Be sure to save room for dessert because they have Mexican Hot Chocolate, an array of homemade pies and a Snickerdoodle sundae! I always opt for the sundae which is made with warm, fresh-baked cookies and topped with ice cream. Tip: They only serve dessert at the restaurant at dinner so, if you need a sweet treat after your lunch, head around the corner to the cafe which will be happy to whip you up something!
2. Dosa – If I am in the mood for Indian food, I make a bee-line to Dosa. With two locations in San Francisco, the ambiance is great and the food is even better. They have two options for dining – the set menu and a la carte. Either way, you can get a sampling of many flavors of India. This is a great place to go as a group where you can order an array of items and indulge in a little bit of each one.
3. E&O Trading Company – Similar to Dosa, E&O Trading Company, is another crowd pleaser great for groups. Representing many South East Asian cuisines, you can have Indonesian Corn Fritters as your starter and then move onto Thai Spiced Pork Tenderloin at your next course. E&O is very much meant to be served family style but don’t be shy if you want your own order of something!
4. Greens – Throw away all your misconceptions about vegetarian restaurants – Greens will show you that a meatless meal can still be very tasty and filling! Located right along the water at Fort Mason, this restaurant serves breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, while also having a counter for grab-and-go items like sandwiches and salads. I am a vegetarian who does not do tofu and fake meats so I was thrilled to find a menu full of vegetables and grains paired in amazing combinations. I highly recommend the Sampler platters that show up on their menu. They allow you to taste several items from one type of cuisine. I had the Mexican sampler when I last dined here and easily got a mix of five or so items to tantalize my taste buds.
5. The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen – Do I even need to explain this one? Probably not. They specialize in grilled cheese and have creations such as the Mushroom Gruyère (fontina, gruyère, roasted wild mushrooms + gold potatoes, melted leeks, caramelized onions, thyme butter) and the Jalapeño Popper (chèvre, monterey jack, applewood-smoked bacon, apricot-jalapeño relish). They also serve soup, salad and baked goods. If you only have a weekend in SF, you are in luck…this establishment used to only be open Monday-Friday but recently added weekend hours.
Written by Kristina Wegscheider, DIWYY co-founder.
Photo Credit: Barbara Rockwell