All right, we are less than a week away from our race day and it’s time to talk fun! Most of the runners I know train hard and play equally so! This is why our races give you free beer at the finish line–**ahem** ALL the Rock n Roll series! So have you planned your non-run related outings while you are in San Francisco this weekend? Where are you eating post 13.1?
But seriously, I don’t run to eat (like the illustration) I eat to enhance my running. I’m also a foodie and I enjoy indulgent food even more now since I’ve started running. Why? Well it’s taught me that while I’m training I need to fuel my body to support my performance–healthy, clean and natural food. Being that many runners (myself included) are always in a state of training, race weekends tend to be my runcations (race vacations) and I allow myself at least one indulgent meal. If the San Francisco Rock ‘n’ Roll is going to be a “runcation” for you, I’d like to point you in the direction of some must eat spots while you are here!
-Louis’ Cafe is actually just north of our race route along the Great Highway. It has a scenic view of the Pacific Ocean and tasty all American food with some local specialties–like their Dungeons crab Benedict! Note they are a cash only location so hit the ATM before you go!
-Just for You Cafe is well off our race route but still a tasty detour! Its authentic Southern fare is a hidden gem in SF’s Dog Patch neighborhood—if Chicory coffee and fluffy beignets are your thing then you don’t want to miss this place!
-The Ramp is the place to see and be seen in SF. Just south of AT&T park (Home of the SF Giants) this hidden shack-like eatery is mostly patio seating with a full bar. If it’s sunny, then expect a long wait to get a table! But they have some good brunch cocktails to hold you over while you wait!
-Blue Bottle is some of the best coffee you’ll find in The City. They have their own store front in the Ferry Building and a number of other SF locations. It’s bold, smooth and good to the last drop! We start early so this may be a good stop post 13.1!
-SF Ferry Building Farmers Market is bustling on any Saturday especially if the weather cooperates! You are smart if you get out there early but there’s still plenty to see if you are looking forward to sleep in at least one of your mornings. My recommendation is to do a walk through first–it’s a big spread that starts in front of the building, wraps around the right side and takes over the back area behind the building. Vendors vary from produce, fresh proteins, sweets, and local eateries! One of my favorites is the lavender lemonade from Happy Girl Kitchen, it’s refreshing and sure to quench your thirst! 4505 Meats usually has some unique and tasty breakfast options while the oyster po’boy from (add their bacon, or eat the bacon on the side) Hayes Street Grill (they are usually right across from Happy Girl)!
-Pier 23 is a long-time “fixture” along the SF water front. Just north of the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero sits a small one level building with plenty of patio seating where you can enjoy our SF sunshine! They have an awesome crab sandwich and a full bar with tasty brunch drinks as well! The old time photo of the cowgirls in nothing but their hats and boots is also located here. ;)
-Plouf is my new favorite French spot! It’s located on Beldin Lane which is lined with eateries along the border of the Financial District and Chinatown. You definitely have to try their tar tar starter and share one of their many versions of their mussels–ask for extra bread, you won’t want any of that sauce to go to waste!
-La Corneta is the south of the border stop you can’t miss! Running 13.1 miles can work up an appetite, their super burrito will satisfy any size hunger you walk in with! My favorite is their steak and shrimp burrito–surf and turf baby, and go supreme! Perfect to fill you up after a long run! They have a number of locations in the Bay Area including the Glen Park neighborhood in SF.
-Gott’s may be one of the more expensive burger joints you visit but it’s pays off in taste, creativity and quality! I often try to order something different any time I go. Their original location (originally called Taylor’s) has been a staple up in wine country where it’s drive-up and picnic style seating only. During any time of the year you go, it’s always busy! That alone should tell you how good this place is. Lucky for us, they opened up a location in the Ferry Building not too long ago! Try any kind of burger and you can’t really go wrong–ahi tuna, Texas, etc! Their milkshakes are tasty too–too bad they don’t have an “adult” style shake on their regular menu. Just look for the big red G!
Snacks/Sweet Treats :
-DeLise is a sweet heaven on earth! This hidden gem is located just a few blocks from Pier 39 on Bay Street (@ Powell). Her menu has some staples but also some great seasonal items like the miso rice crispy treat, Peking duck scones, chocolate stout ice cream, etc! If you have a sweet tooth, you MUST stop here!
-Liguria Bakery is the heart of North Beach (the Italian neighborhood of SF). So while you are waiting in line at Mama’s for breakfast or zig zagging your way down Lombard Street, swing by Liguria (on the corner of Stockton and Filbert Sts.) but don’t look for their sign they don’t have one! They are the original owners–as they say the ovens don’t move but you’d wish they did after tasting their focaccia! They are closed Sundays/Mondays and when they run out of product (and they WILL) they close their doors for the rest of the day, so your best to get there early! Don’t underestimate their plain focaccia, it’s my favorite, as is their pizza!
-La Boulange isn’t exactly an old staple to SF and yes some of their products can be found in your local Starbucks but one item in particular can only be found at their stores! They chocolate hazelnut croissant is AMAZING!! No, it’s not a Nutella filled croissant, they purée the hazelnuts and combine it with chocolate in a buttery flaky croissant, get it toasted! They have tasty coffee too!
-Mitchell’s is another “worth the wait” SF eatery! Take a number and peruse their menu of good ol’ and unique flavors–Mexican chocolate to grasshopper pie (kinda like those minty cookies those girls sell once a year). Perfect for any weather we get in SF!
-Coqueta is one reservation you better make now! Spanish tapas are a big thing as of late and Croqueta serves them up in a rustic yet upscale setting. Start with some of their small plates and then finish with some sangria and family style paella! But seriously, make your reservation now! It’s still “shiny and new” for us here and so everyone wants to go!
-Cha Cha Cha set in the SF’s Mission District and one of the neighborhood staples! It’s another tapas style menu (small plates) so it’s fun setting to fill your table with lots of tasty treats! Everyone will advise you to try their plantains and they are right! Go for it! And then if you feel bad for eating any of it, just dance it off!
-Lark Creek shouldn’t be counted out just because it’s located in the Westfield Center. It is your place for steak—always a nice post run treat–and don’t overlook their seafood entrees! One of SF’s staples is the Dungness crab and LC serves it up in style! Lastly, PLEASE do yourself a favor and save room for dessert; specifically the chocolate creamux! It light and rich all at the same time, take it in with a bit of the salted caramel sauce a crunchy crumble that accompanies it and you’ll thank me for that little bite of heaven on earth!
Bars with Food
-Mikkeller is a great gastro pub hidden on the outskirts of Union Square and not far at all from our finish line! Their beer menu is longer than their food menu but the food they do have, they do it well! Go ahead and try their bacon wrapped pups (it’s protein :) )! But when in Rome…so go for their wings platter as well! My advice would be to walk or cab it there so you can enjoy more than one of their beers that they have on tap–by the way, it’s all on tap!
-Giordano Bros is Pittsburgh in SF’s little Italy! Who needs sides though when those Burghs put it all in one sando! Your first thought may be “fries in my sandwich?!” But don’t knock it til you try it! You can get just about any kind of meat you want–steak, turkey, sausage, pastrami, etc., but the rest remains the same! Beer is good and so are their wings. Small joint but enough TVs to show any sports event you could want! Fun staff too–they also have a location in the Mission District.
There’s no way you’ll leave San Francisco hungry with this guide! And no regrets, you just ran 13.1 miles!