California’s capital may be Sacramento but it is definitely not the most attractive place that California has to offer. San Francisco on the other hand is; unless… you’re me. Growing up on the other side of the Bay, I avoided San Francisco like the plague! It just seemed too overwhelming for me. However, after a trip to a more understated part of San Francisco, The Mission, a shift in perception has occurred.
Many may think of the Mission as the Latino area of San Francisco but taking a closer look provides quite a different view. Take Local Mission Eatery, completely unsuspecting on the outside but walk in and you enter an upscale hipster restaurant. Their whole focus as Chef Chad Kuczek puts it is to “form valuable relationships with farmers throughout California.” Buying fresh and local ingredients being of the utmost importance for this place, as shown by their clear walk-in. You can actually see smoked pigs feet hanging and cured tuna hearts waiting to be shaved. So what does a chef do with the freshest ingredients he can find? Why make a grilled cheese sandwich of course! But this is not your white bread and processed cheese grilled cheese sandwich. The thick cut bread crunches all the way down, getting hands greasy from the copious amounts of butter that has been slathered on there. The apple butter and caramelized butter meld together to create a sweetness that cuts through the rich gooey and slightly salty cheese. If there is ever a dish that has perfect balance and then a heart attack at the end, it’s this dish.
Okay, let’s be real, anything little or mini is cute, and we all love cute! Mission Minis encompasses everything cute. Owner Brandon Arnovick set out to create something affordable for people so he came up with the idea of selling mini cupcakes. Not only was affordability important to him but also culture. So since Arnovick’s store front is located in the Mission he brought the flavors of Latin America into his cupcakes: Aztec Chocolate and Cinnamon Horchata. These mini cupcakes may be thought by some as too cute to eat but not by this foodie. Since I was in the Mission I decided to go with Cinnamon Horchata, and too be honest one bit just wasn’t enough. However, the creamy, smooth frosty contrasted perfectly with the sticky moist cake. A nice hint of cinnamon lingered on the tongue with a subtle hint of almost warmed milk reflecting the rice aspects of Horchata.
Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream, started by Jake Godby and Sean Vahey, combines the everyday with the just plain strange. Godby, being a pastry chef, felt that there didn’t need to exist such a delineation between savory and sweet, so he began bringing the two together. Humphry Slocombe’s most popular ice cream is called “Secret Breakfast”: A cornflake and Bourbon ice cream. At first it simply is confusion is a cone; I don’t know if I want to watch cartoons or get ready for the club. However, the ice cream has this rough texture due to the cornflakes, some big others only specs. The bourbon comes through strongly but is calmed by the coldness of the actual ice cream and the honey from the cone. Just add a cigarette and you have the new breakfast of champions!
After this Mission Tour I have a new found respect for San Francisco. Culture seeps out from every street, door, and alleyway. I met wonderful people that all frankly really cared about buying locally and fresh which completely transforms and elevates their food. Well world, I’m hungry and ready for my next adventure!