As some of you know, before living in New York, I lived in San Francisco. This is the city where I got into eating out, learned about brunch, gained 72 pounds (not really but it sure felt like it) and it was possibly my favorite place I’ve ever lived. After moving off my college campus, I lived in the Castro/Duboce Park area and the Mission District, so most of these are around there, in my opinion the most fun areas and usually the sunniest. I was pretty broke during most of my time here, but I definitely splurged on bottomless mimosas and delivery food.
I went to SF last weekend for work and stayed through the weekend trying to pack in every one of my favorite meals (andddd see my friends I guess.) I’m still bloated but already miss it. Below was my go-to list of San Francisco food I couldn’t not snack on while in the Bay. Of course- being able to expense some of it didn’t hurt, and you guys know a work trip is my favorite excuse to squeeze in some excessive meals, but these are all reasonably priced. I got you.
Favorite burger: Super Duper Burger
Yah there’s In-N-Out, there’s fancy burger places like Umami, more artisan chains like Roam, bur Super Duper takes the cake for me. This fresh, cheap, customizable burger place also has cute ice cream cones and amazing garlic parmesan fries. I took my boyfriend here the only time he went to SF and he was too hungover to eat it and I’m still sad he wasn’t able to experience it. I like the Castro location because it has outdoor seating and good people watching. If you’re feeling especially SF you could take it to go and walk to Dolores.
Favorite burrito: El Farolito OR Los Coyotes
So throwback to junior year of college, I almost won 7×7 (the city magazine) burrito judge contest, (can you spot me at #7 here, don’t judge me.) Not that gives me any sort of credibility, but I think eating a burrito 3x a week for years may.
El Farolito is more authentic, located at 24th and Mission and easy to get to after a night out. I typically opt for a super suiza, a loaded version of a quesadilla. Always go for the el pastor, which is Mexican marinated pork.
Los Coyotes gets on this list because it has spicy mango salsa, and California burritos. If you aren’t blessed enough to already know, a California burrito is a carne asada burrito with no rice, guacamole, and FRENCH FRIES. Can you taste the fries, I honestly don’t know. But for the sake of argument, they are a game changer. My take on this California burrito is with added mango salsa and add black beans.
Favorite burmese: Yamo
This is by far my favorite place in SF. This likely illegal Burmese hole in the wall I’ve spoken about before on my blog, when I tried to do a DIY version of the curry here (it was good, but doesn’t compare.)
My order is beef curry over noodle (you get a choice of noodle or rice.) I USED to add vegetable, but the head chef has cracked down and gave me a sassy “NAH” when I tried. They used to let me add vegetables for $1, so I’d say give it a shot if you order from someone else but it’s unlikely.
Does this place use MSG? Probably. Will you get kicked out if the HBIC chef catches you taking a picture, also likely. Aside from everything being $6 or under and amazingly tasty, the “our shop our rules” attitude of the ladies here is worth a trip.
Favorite juice: Juice Shop
I was late to the juice game after much public hate. Someone will probably dig up my juice bashing tweets on twitter after getting sick of all of my Instagram posts celebrating $10 glass bottled vegetables. So Juice Shop was a luxury I did not discover until after I had moved out of SF. This cold pressed juicery and cute truck have a stop in Cole Valley, which is my favorite place to enjoy the either hardcore all green juice or watermelon if I’m treating myself.
Favorite hot dog: A Street dog on Mission anywhere from 19th to 21st.
If you’ve ever been to SF, you know what these are. These sizzling pieces of street meat wrapped in bacon are made on carts, and topped with grilled onions, jalepenos, and mayo. Also ketchup but I hate ketchup so I won’t go there. Some carts even have grilled red peppers but that is one in a million. The buns are warmed and dipped in the remaining oil on the cart. I’ve had these sober, drunk, before the party, after the party, INSIDE the party. Anyone who is scared of these doesn’t deserve to bask in the glory of walking home while eating one. I’m sad I didn’t indulge in one of these $3 beauties last weekend. Booking a flight right now to cop one.
Favorite pizza: Serranos Pizza
I got turned onto this place while living with friends on 20th and Mission. This spot makes each slice to order, and they are HUGE. You can do any topping or keep it simple, and they have a lunch special for $6 that includes a soda and salad. There is limited outdoor seating but they also deliver for orders over $8 which is easy to reach once you start adding chicken, green peppers, whatever it is that you like to your jumbo slice. Don’t hate me or lose any respect for me for saying this, but I’m really not a pizza person, so this means a lot coming from me. They’re also open till around 3 am.
Favorite classy brunch: Mission Beach
I’ll start off this brunch section with a brief disclaimer. There are two different types of brunch. A classy brunch and a drunk brunch. A classy brunch does not mean a sober brunch by any means, but rather food and an experience that is worthy of the wait and price sober, vs. somewhere that makes the most sense because of a mimosa/drink deal. San Francisco is queen of the brunch, I haven’t found options, quality, and deals that even come close to comparing in NY or LA.
If you don’t want to wait in an insane line, either get here early, or come on a weekday. I came on a Friday last weekend and didn’t wait at all. The one downside is the amazing biscuits and gravy side dish is only on weekends. My go-to order here was born from brokeness, as it is the cheapest thing on the menu, but I still ordered it even on company dime.
The breakfast sandwich with ADD BACON, or get a side of bacon, and a HUGE pomegranate-grapefruit mimosa. Huge is the actual official name of the size. This adds to $22 so around $27 give or take after tax/tip. That isn’t cheap but brunch never is. What makes it worth it aside from the experience is the amazing quality of the food, the beautiful ombre of colors the mimosa has with the layered juices, the honey peppered bacon that I would honestly pay $20 for, and the fact half a bottle of champagne is in each huge mimosa.
Favorite drunk brunch: Radish
I’ll admit it, I’ve basically been kicked out of this place. On the corner of 19th and Lexington, this place also offers brunch during the week if you’re lucky enough to be a work from home / I work for an app aka chill all day SF-er. On the weekend, my tactic is to have the closest person go put down a name, and have everyone arrive 30 minutes or so later, and hopefully get seated ASAP. You can also purchase a drink and bring it outside while you wait or grab coffee or boba nearby.
Radish offers bottomless mimosas for $15 a person. They have three flavors a day and you can switch it up each time, which is something many other places don’t offer. They also allow members of your party to not participate so non-drinkers aren’t pressured into paying for what they don’t want. Whether or not they had the mimosa deal, their food stands on it’s own. Plates ranging from $10-$15 including specials and lunch favorites are tasty. I typically get a benedict or the biscuits and gravy, or the chicken and waffles that ALSO comes with gravy. That’s what I got this last weekend. Per person, brunch typically comes to around $35-40 per person, but this place definitely lets you take your time. After you finish your meal your likely Butch lesbian waitress will continue to refill your carafes until you and your friends are so obnoxious and start to use glasses to put your iPhone in to play loud music and get kicked out. Hypothetically.