What’s up, Nomsters! Here’s one for all you Bay Area peeps out there! We’re excited to share this edition of United Tastes of America NorCal with tips and suggestions for all your munchie needs from Grace Cheung of Put An Egg On It (instagram: @gcheung28) who will be spilling the beans on some must-eats in Northern California. It can be a jungle out there, so we’re super excited to have her compile some awesome suggestions here to help you find the hidden gems. Let’s get to it!
Name: Grace Cheung
(Put An Egg On It)
City/State: San Francisco, California
1. Satisfy late night cravings: There’s been many a drunk night out in San Francisco, but, when I’m out in the Mission, I love getting a pupusa at Pupuseria. My favorite is the one stuffed with squash blossom and cheese! One is just enough and two puts me right over the edge into food coma, but it’s so worth it. Plus, I like that they have hot sauce and coleslaw available at all the tables, and you can just pick up a pupusa from the cart outside if all the tables inside are taken.
2. Splurge $$$ on a killer meal: If I want to do it up or splurge on a long weekend, I love getting a group together for Hog Island Oyster. No, not the one in the Ferry Building but the one all the way over at Tomales Bay! They have picnic tables where you can grill whatever you want and shuck your own oysters, and an oyster bar where you can order food (and oysters). On a nice day, the view of the bay is amazing when paired with wine, oysters, and some good friends.
3. Go for date night: I love Liholiho Yacht Club because they have great food and great drinks, but it’s so popular that it’s really hard to get a table! If you’re in luck and not too hungry, their downstairs bar called Louie’s Gengen room is perfect for grabbing drinks and small bites. They have homemade spam on the menu, and they put a twist on it in their bar menu by making spam pigs in the blanket. The fuffy bread is topped off with furikake. So good!
4. Eat clean: I don’t know what it is about Souvla, but it’s one of the few places where I actually choose to get a salad over a sandwich! Their roasted meats are delicious, and, because they’re always cooking, your food is ready super fast! My favorite is getting the chicken salad Greek-style—this means a salad with their seasoned french fries on top. It’s semi-clean eating!
5. Enjoy coffee/tea with a friend: I love both locations, but Home is just a great place to grab coffee with a friend because a) the drinks are delicious and b) the staff is the nicest! They have a lot of classics like lavender latte or matcha latte, but they’re also really well known for their “grammable” drinks like the birthday cake latte. They have a pretty talented bunch of baristas that can make cute designs in your lattes, so I love coming by every now and then to grab a coffee!
6. Dine on a budget: I have so many dining on a budget options, but my favorite meal is dimsum. I hate eating alone, and dimsum is the perfect meal for a small group because you get good bang for your buck. At Hong Kong Lounge, everyone is speaking Cantonese and getting your dishes out as fast as they can. I prefer a dimsum cart experience, but ordering at the beginning works for me just as well!
7. Eat for the gram: Seriously, almost everything at Le Marais is made for the ‘gram, whether it’s a tart, croissant, or a savory dish. I love their avocado toast because it’s not your normal toast. Instead, they put avocado on top of croissants and then top that off with an egg—so good! Even the bakery/cafe itself has great aesthetics with white walls, marble countertops, etc.
1. Burger: WesBurger ‘N’ More
2. Pizza: Il Casaro Pizzeria and Mozzarella Bar
I actually did a post about pizza spots this year for National Pizza Day, and one of my friends suggested Il Casaro, this old school pizza place in North Beach. It was actually delicious! It’s now definitely one of my favorite pizza places in SF now and they also have great lasagna.
3. Ice cream: The Ice Cream Bar
i. There’s plenty of great ice cream places in the Bay, but one I always have to go back to is Ice Cream Bar. I love the kitschy diner aesthetic, but my absolute favorite is their homemade waffle cones! The smell wafting outside always draws me in, and I love the contrast of a warm, crunchy cone with cold ice cream. They never get too wild with their flavors, but their ice cream is always a great consistency and flavor
4. Asian food: Toyose
Asian food is kind of my wheel house, but if there’s one place I love and wish I could go to more often, it’s Toyose. This tiny spot in the Outer Sunset is seriously small, but it’s always packed. People start lining up even before doors open so that they can get a table for themselves and their friends. I love the budae jigae and the fried chicken, and their fried rice is also great!
5. Drink: El Rio
El Rio used to be a more divey bar, but I still love it. They have great drink prices and an amazing big patio in the back where they sometimes sell food. During lemon season, their lemon tree is blooming with fruit and honestly makes the back look so picturesque at night when all the hanging lights are on.
6. Seafood: Sotto Mare Oysteria & Seafood
I have one friend who always wants to go to Sotto Mare when he’s in town because they have the best cioppino we’ve ever had. This giant pot is filled to the top with all kinds of seafood, and then ziti is like buried treasure under all of it. The cioppino can probably feed 2-3 people but the best is soaking up all the sauce with the bread they bring to your table!
7. Noodles: Liang’s Village
I actually only just went to this restaurant recently, but I really loved their noodles. I’m normally a fan of just egg noodles (although, I am a sucker for a good hand pulled noodle), but their thin spinach noodles were so nice and springy that I couldn’t get enough! It goes well with soup or with really any of the stewed toppings on their menu.
8. Coffee: Coffee Bar
I know absolutely nothing about coffee, but I know that Coffee Bar’s always wakes me right up! Their cold brew is delicious and smooth, never too bitter like some places I’ve been to, and I recently tried their Havana Latte on a recommendation from a friend. It was sweet, smooth, and fragrant—so good! If you have a sweet tooth, the Horchata Cold Brew is also really great and you don’t even feel like you’re drinking coffee.
9. All You Can Eat: The Pot’s
I discovered The Pot’s when I first moved to San Francisco 6 years ago, and it is still one of my favorite AYCE spots in the city despite being a pain to get to in the Outer Sunset. They renovated last year, so it looks even better than before with an extra room for eating and a self-service sauce bar. The people here are super quick to get you set up and ready to eat, and they have a giant menu of options to choose from. I get this without fail every time I go with friends: pork bone broth, Kobe beef slices, shrimp paste, udon, and the salted egg yolk dumplings.
We hope these suggestions help! A BIG thanks, again, to Grace for all the United Tastes of America NorCal suggestions. There are some we haven’t even been to yet, so they’re added to our list! Make sure you guys follow her on instagram, twitter, facebook, and her blog for more Cali eats. Stay tuned as we make our way across the country highlighting awesome food bloggers and nomtastic dishes from every state!
To check out our other United Tastes of America posts, Click here!
Till next time, Nomsters!