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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Travel Adventure: San Francisco Highlights 2013 (Part 1)

Back in July, I took a weekend roadtrip with some of my friends to visit my former college roommate, N, in San Francisco. We did some of the major touristy things like going to Fisherman's Wharf and watching a Giants game, but I wanted to highlight some of my favorite sights and bites. There were quite a few places I wanted to mention so I split this post into two parts.

GILROY, CA
Garlic Braids from Gilroy, CA
On our way up to San Fran, we stopped in Gilroy, CA to get gas and stretch our legs. Gilroy is famous for their summer Garlic Festival, which features everything garlic including...
Garlic Ice Cream from Gilroy, CA
GARLIC ICE CREAM! The gas station we stopped at had a fresh produce stand so we explored a little and found vanilla and chocolate garlic ice cream in the back (along with a bazillion other garlic-flavored snacks, sauces, and marinades).
Garlic Ice Cream from Gilroy, CA
We opted to try the vanilla garlic ice cream, which had a distinct roasted garlic flavor that was actually quite mellow. None of that astringent fresh garlic tang. It was interesting combined with the sweet creaminess of the ice cream. A spoonful was good enough for me, but my supertaster friend really liked it and finished it off after we all sampled it.

IKE'S PLACE
3489 16th St
San Francisco, CA 94114
Ike's Place
If you've seen my previous post on San Francisco Eats, you know how much I love, love, love Ike's Place. Seriously. It's my all-time favorite sandwich place.
Ike's Place - Spiffy Tiffy
This time, I tried a "Spiffy Tiffy," which contains pesto halal chicken, avocado, mushrooms, provolone cheese, pepperjack cheese, tomato, and lettuce. I highly, highly recommend it - especially on Dutch Crunch bread. The creaminess of the avocado mixed with the pesto and mushrooms was just an explosion of flavor in my mouth and the texture contrast with the Dutch Crunch bread was just perfection. The sandwich was too large for me so N and I split it.

TARTINE BAKERY & CAFE
600 Guerrero St
San Francisco, CA 94110
A long line for Tartine Bakery
Located a few blocks away from Ike's Place is the famous Tartine Bakery, one of my friends' favorite bakeries. As you can see from the photo above, Tartine is quite popular. We waited a good 20-30 minutes in line before we got to the counter to order.
Tartine Bakery Case
I ended up ordering a Morning Bun and a Double Pain Au Chocolat, two of Tartine's most popular items.
Tartine's Morning Bun ($3.95)
I liked that the Morning Bun wasn't too sweet due to the light cinnamon sugar coating but thought it was a little pricey for $4.
Tartine's Double Pain au Chocolat ($4.75)
I ate the Double Pain au Chocolat (aka chocolate croissant) for breakfast the next day. I'm not sure if it was because the croissant was day-old, but I didn't like it. It seemed dense and greasy. (Though that might be because it got a bit squished in my bag. Oops!) I'll have to try it fresh to make a final judgment call, but my friend still thought it tasted really good. At almost $5, this pastry was way more expensive than I thought it'd be.

Despite being so well known, Tartine didn't live up to my expectations. Perhaps my expectations were set unrealistically high from all the praise I've heard, but overall, I thought the pastries was too expensive and the final products didn't quite justify the cost and long wait time.

SAN TUNG CHINESE RESTAURANT
1031 Irving St
San Francisco, CA 94122
San Tung Chinese Restaurant
N introduced us to San Tung's chicken wings during game night, where we snacked on "Original Dry Fried Chicken (Dry) (Glazed)" while playing a vicious game of Texas Hold'em.
San Tung's Glazed Chicken Wings ($10 for 12 wings)
These tasty wings were seasoned with garlic, ginger, and roasted whole red chili pepper in a sweet glaze. When fresh, they're crisp on the outside but still juicy. Absolutely delicious! We all loved them so much that we each bought a box for the road before heading on the long drive home. (They cost $10 for 12 wings.) Once they get cold, they're no longer crispy (obviously) but the flavor is still good. If you're just getting the wings, be sure to call San Tung ahead of time to place your order to save time, but the wings are so good that they're worth the wait.

I hope you found some of this information helpful and piqued some curious tastebuds. Stay tuned for San Francisco Highlights 2013 (Part 2)! If you have any recommendations for food or sights in SF, feel free to comment below.

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