Simple enough, right? I passed on the tourist attractions like the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and Coit Tower in favor of my attractions: restaurants, bagel shops, and chocolate factories.

Four days of total freedom in one of the best food cities in America. No wife (well, she was there but in a conference most of the time) and no kids telling me where to go, what not to eat, and generally complaining about my obsessive food tendencies. It was just me and San Francisco.

My plan was to walk everywhere … no cabs, no trains, no buses … just me and my trusted Asics hitting the open pavement. Well, I should say the hilly pavement. That initial 30-minute walk at 9:30 a.m. from my hotel to Swan Oyster Depot about kicked my ass. And you thought we had some hills in Little Rock?

I arrived in front of the iconic restaurant at 10:15 a.m., both a little winded and sweaty, but definitely hungry. Swan opens at 10:30 each morning, and my internet research told me to get in line 15 minutes prior to that or be prepared to wait. Sage advice, as I barely made it into the first wave of seating. Swan is tiny … like 15-20 bar seats tiny, but damn, was it worth the walk and slight wait. My crab cocktail, half dozen raw oysters, and draft Stella, along with the old-timey atmosphere, made for such a memorable eating experience.

Afterwards, I hit up Flour & Co, a little bakery/coffee shop on Hyde Street for a TCHO chocolate chunk cookie and a tiny ham and cheese sandwich.

By noon, I was done for the day. We had reservations at The Slanted Door at 8 p.m. and I wasn’t about to f that experience up by overeating throughout the day. Plus, I needed a nap. I won’t go into details, but let’s just say I was a little exhausted from sleeping in the Dallas airport the previous night because our brand new airplane had a heat shield malfunction … or some bullshit like that. Thanks, American Airlines. Anyways.

On our way to dinner at The Slanted Door, we stopped at La Mar Cebicheria Peruana for some cocktails, halibut cebiche, and empanadas. We loved the festive atmosphere of the bar area and fantastically fresh food. Props, Chef Matt Bell, for the rec.

The Slanted Door did not disappoint (thank you Paul Ward and Dr. Laura Lamps). From start to finish, it was probably my favorite overall meal of the trip. Rarely do “touristy” places like this live up to the hype, but the cellophane noodles with crab, seared tuna spring rolls, and pork shank, ensured a return visit, whenever that may be. That pork shank was insane!

The next day, I hit a series of places in the Mission District, including CREAM, Dandelion Chocolate, Katz Bagels, and Pancho Villa Taqueria. The latter two were rec’d by Chef Scott McGehee. He happens to know a thing or two about food and San Francisco, so I figured listening to him was a wise decision. It was, although excitement got the best of me as I downed a poppy seed bagel with chive cream cheese and a chicken burrito that resembled a small log … all within an hour’s time. Btw, CREAM does an early Happy Hour where you can destroy an ice cream sandwich for $2 (mine was the double chocolate cookie with banana walnut fudge ice cream).

That evening, we walked to Chinatown and had soup dumplings at Hang Ah Dim Sum. On the way there, I may or may not have taken us down a slightly scary dark alley, but the dumplings made up for my mishap.

On Saturday, things got crazy. I started the day off with a quick eggplant parm sandwich at Merigan Sub Shop near AT&T Park. My goodness … soft bread gave way to the most delicious roasted eggplant and slightly melted cheese. Knowing how much food was in store the rest of the day, I was tempted to leave half the sandwich. But I couldn’t. It was too damn delicious. Afterwards, I thanked the chef/owner, told her about my eating escapades, and was immediately instructed to get my ass down to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.

What followed was four hours of being in absolute food heaven. I can’t even begin to describe the sensory overload. Endless booths of pastries, olive oils, cured meats, dried fruits, coffee brewers, and fruits and veggies had my head spinning, and that was just the outside market. Inside, the Ferry Plaza itself was an amazing collection of eateries. The only place I’ve ever seen such a food spectacle is Pike Place Market in Seattle.

For dinner, I waddled a few blocks from our hotel to the highly-acclaimed Liholiho Yacht Club, a classy restaurant specializing in Hawaiian fusion. Dinner service started at 5 p.m. Flying solo, my plan was to cozy up to the bar. I arrived at 5:10. By 5:20, every seat in the restaurant, including the bar, was filled. My order included a beautifully presented plate of squid with fried tripe and tomatoes, along with two beef tongue steamed buns, and the signature baked Hawaii for dessert. Pictured above, this stunning baked Hawaii consisted of a ball of pineapple ice cream surrounded by vanilla chiffon.

By Sunday, I pretty much hated life and especially the thought of consuming more food. I’m guessing this newfound outlook may have tainted my meal later that day at Kokkari, a super upscale Greek restaurant. That said, the restaurant had one of the most beautiful interiors I’ve ever seen, and my oven roasted prawns weren’t too shabby.

As expected, the San Francisco dining scene proved to be everything I’d thought it would be, and I obviously only scratched the surface of what this beautiful city has to offer.

Until next time.

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