A rotating exhibit of the things I love most about living in San Francisco.

Posts tagged “cupcakes

Best of 2010, scooter rides to the Marina

Nothing beats exploring the 7 Hills of San Francisco on two wheels. Here are some highlights from the year’s rides, 2010. Our favorite route? Castro to the Marina. . .

 

 

The 6 Sisters of Alamo Square

The 6 Sisters of Alamo Square

approaching the Marina

approaching the Marina

closer to the Marina, SF

closer to the Marina, SF

a gorgeous day for a ride, get a load of that view!

a gorgeous day for a ride, get a load of that view!

Alcatraz, surrounded by happy little boats on a gorgeous day

Alcatraz, surrounded by happy little boats on a gorgeous day

a pretty spot to stop and take in the scenery, the Bay alive with boats

a pretty spot to stop and take in the scenery, the Bay alive with boats

Checking out the "Union Street Fair" with my friend C. having just left the bakery, "That Takes the Cake"

Checking out the "Union Street Fair" with bff C. having just left the bakery, "That Takes the Cake" - home of our favorite cupcakes in SF

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

When you're so close, you just have to ride over to the Golden Gate Bridge. . .

When you're so close to it, you just have to ride over to the Golden Gate Bridge. . .

headed home to the Castro from the Marina and Golden Gate Bridge

headed home to the Castro from the Marina and Golden Gate Bridge

"Fay Park", a historic Thomas Church Garden, (Leavenworth and Chestnut Street)

"Fay Park", a historic Thomas Church Garden, (Leavenworth and Chestnut Street)

Roses of "Fay Garden", Leavenworth at Chestnut, Russian Hill, San Francisco

Roses of "Fay Garden", Leavenworth at Chestnut, Russian Hill, San Francisco

flowers of Fay Gardens, Russian Hill, San Francisco

flowers of Fay Gardens, Russian Hill, San Francisco

Scott Street at Alamo Square, San Francisco, CA

Scott Street at Alamo Square, San Francisco, CA

 

San Francisco City Hall

San Francisco City Hall

almost home- the Castro, SF

almost home- the Castro, SF

Photo of Sarah Palin looking wistfully to the Rainbow Flag. . .

Photo of Sarah Palin looking wistfully to the Rainbow Flag. . .

Castro Street, San Francisco

Castro Street, San Francisco

Kaiju rests

Kaiju rests


off the grid, street food festival in Fort Mason

eating cactus huarache from El Huarache Loco, OFF the GRID Street Food Festival, Fort Mason, SF

eating cactus huarache from El Huarache Loco at OFF the GRID Street Food Festival, Fort Mason, SF

Mobile street food vendors have become something of a phenomenon here in San Francisco and beyond. From whoopie pies (gobs) to paella, from Korean tacos to Indian burritos, local entrepreneurs have focused their business on a specialty dish or two and have taken their food to the streets, via bikes, carts, backpacks or trucks. While most rely on social networking to broadcast the time and place one can find them (facebook, twitter and their own websites), the organization “Off the Grid” has emerged to not only bring a bunch of the vendors to a single location but also to provide a venue for live music and fun for a ‘foodie’ crowd (oh, and they sell booze).

It’s a weekly street food festival and it’s a blast!

The particular mix of vendors changes from event to event. As of this post you can find festivals weekly at the following times/locations. Check out the Off the Grid website for details.

Thursday Nights: Upper Haight
Stanyan and Waller Streets, San Francisco 4-8.30pm

Friday Lunch: Civic Center
In Front of City Hall, 11am-2.30pm

Friday Nights: Fort Mason Center, 5pm-9pm

banana fritters and lacy crepes with Malaysian mint chicken curry by Azalina Malaysian Lacy Crepes

banana fritters and lacy crepes with Malaysian vegetarian curry by Azalina Malaysian Lacy Crepes

paella by Venga Paella

paella by Venga Paella

eating Bhel Puri from Soul Cocina at Off the Grid, Fort Mason, SF

eating Bhel Puri and chicken curry from Soul Cocina at Off the Grid, Fort Mason, SF

huarache with cactus by El Huarache Loco

huarache with cactus by El Huarache Loco

Chairman Bao Bun Truck at Off the Grid Fort Mason

Chairman Bao Bun Truck at Off the Grid Fort Mason, the line was soooo long!

Chairman Bao Bun truck at Fort Mason, Off the Grid street food festival

Chairman Bao Bun truck at Fort Mason, Off the Grid street food festival

Chairman Bao Bun truck, my pick for the coolest design

Chairman Bao Bun truck, my pick for the coolest design

dinner music at Off the Grid

dinner music at Off the Grid


best bakeries in san francisco series: Pinkie’s

pinkie's bakery, SF

pinkie's bakery, SF

I don’t know what it is but there’s been a wave of new bakeries this year and  they’re good, real good. Many are in and around SOMA. And, many of them seem to be run by women with tattoos. I think that’s hot.

Pinkie’s Bakery is a powerhouse. I think these may just be the best cupcakes you’ll find in this cupcake-saturated town. The cake has a nice, firm edge, which I like. It gives the cake structure and provides nuance as the flavor and texture gives way to the moist cake center. The frosting strikes a masterful balance between butter and sweet. And the women who serve them are hot.

The cookies are equally fantastic. The chocolate chip will blow your mind, sort of a medium size cookie that is on the thick side, allowing that soft, dense and moist center with the crisp edge that I enjoy so much. Lots of chips, redolent of brown butter.

baked goods at Pinkie's Bakery, SF

baked goods at Pinkie's Bakery, SF

But don’t limit yourself to the cupcakes and cookies, here. Their morning breads are pretty amazing. I’ve never seen, nor tasted, a bear claw so good. The weight of it!  There’s a nice density and substance when you bite into it. This is what real, organic flour and butter do for food; this is why I’ve forsworn supermarket bakeries. This is the reason.

bear claw at Pinkie's Bakery, SF

bear claw at Pinkie's Bakery, SF

Next, I want to try their fresh-baked breads. . .

And strangely, I want to get a tattoo. Would that make me a better home baker?

Pinkie’s Bakery

1196 Folsom St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 556-4900
neighborhood, SOMA
Hours:
Mon-Wed 8 am – 3 pm

Thu-Fri 8 am – 4 pm

Sat 9:30 am – 4 pm


ice-cream on a cold summer evening in San Francisco: Bi-Rite Creamery

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malted vanilla ice cream at Bi-Rite Creamery San Francisco

I just checked the weather on my Yahoo! homepage and learned that we may hit record low temperatures this evening, July 1st.

Here’s the report:

“Tonight: Partly cloudy skies. Gusty winds during the evening. Near record low temperatures. Low 51F. W winds at 25 to 35 mph, diminishing to 10 to 15 mph.”

Just another summer evening in San Francisco!

As I rode home from work and the gym on my scooter, shivering and watching the fog blow in, I had an odd and intense craving. . . Ice-cream. It defies explanation and yet, in that moment, nothing else would do.

So L. and I put on our jackets and walked down the hill to a really great ice-cream place that’s fortunately a few blocks from home, Bi-Rite Creamery. And the line was around the block. It always is, even on a cold night like this. Like it is on rainy nights, and on winter ones. The secret is out; Bi-Rite has even been covered in national media like the Food Network and The New York Times, which reports that Bi-Rite has served up to 1,500 scoops in a day.

Salted Caramel is a perennial favorite flavor and has put them on the map. The other flavors are inventive too, like the delicious Brown Sugar with Ginger Caramel Swirl, or Ricanelas-a cinnamon base with snickerdoodle pieces. (It bears mentioning that they use fresh, local and organic ingredients, responsibly sourced, for their products but then, who on this foodie block doesn’t???)

While their hard dipped ice-creams are what makes them famous they only started serving soft serve a few months ago, so we went for that. (The fact that the soft-serve line was only half the length certainly was a bonus on a cold July night!) I ordered a malted vanilla and it was fabulous, silky in texture and deeply perfumed with my favorite flavor.

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chocolate cookie at Bi-Rite Creamery

Cleverly, right  there in the window where you place your order, they prominently display piles of house-made cookies, cupcakes and pie. Damn them. In my bag went a gorgeous dark chocolate cookie dusted in sugar (I’m a sucker for anything dusted in sugar, really) and a vanilla cupcake with salted caramel creme filling  and a buttercream frosting, lightly dusted with sea salt.

My corruption is complete!

Tip: be sure to get the punch card when you pay, buy ten cones and you get the eleventh for free;-)

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vanilla cupcake with salted caramel filling, Bi-Rite Creamery, SF

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vanilla cupcake with salted caramel filling, Bi-Rite Creamery, SF



citizen cupcake pop-up bake sale

parisian macarons by Elizabeth Falkner

parisian macarons by Elizabeth Falkner

When celebrity chef Elizabeth Falkner (of Bravo’s Top Chef fame) puts on a bake sale . . . you go!  She did just that a little over a week ago at the bar in her swanky SOMA restaurant, Orson. To my delight, Falkner personally served the goods at the noon hour sale, including the cupcakes for which she is known, brownies, artisan desserts, Parisian macarons and more.

Elizabeth Falkner at Pop Up Bake Sale

Elizabeth Falkner at Pop Up Bake Sale

Emblematic of her signature approach to pastry cooking, the line between sweet and savory was a blurred one. Chocolate could be found layered with miso in one gorgeous example, basil flavored parisian macarons in another. Desserts like these put her Hayes Valley restaurant Citizen Cake on the map and bolster her reputation as an inventive, experimental chef. While the Hayes Valley location closed earlier this year, the pop-up sale coincided with the opening in June of a new Citizen Cake, on Fillmore Street in Pacific Heights. I look forward to checking that out, soon!

elizabeth falkner at pop-up bake sale

elizabeth falkner at pop-up bake sale

cupcakes by Elizabeth Falkner

cupcakes by Elizabeth Falkner


cupcake run- cups and cakes bakery, SOMA

Cups and Cakes Bakery does a “Happy Hour” on Mondays, Saturdays, and if my co workers are making a cupcake run, well I see no reason not to tag along. So, today I did. Two for one. Oh yes, I did!

Banana/Caramel & the under-appreciated "Luscious Vanilla". 2 for 1 Mondays rock!

 

>>UPDATE
12 July 2010
Went back for more and had a great chat with the owner. She’s been approached by the producers of television’s “Cupcake Wars” to send in an audition tape. I hope she does because she’d rock that contest! Fingers crossed for you.
Flavors I bought today, Chocolate Chip Cookie dough (brown sugar cake with the chocolate chips in the frosting) and Mud Cake, a gorgeous chocolate cake with a fluffy chocolate frosting, not ‘too’ sweet and rolled in chocolate cookie crumbs (!), finished with gummy worm.

vanilla creme cookie, vanilla cake

vanilla creme cookie, vanilla cake


nobody comes between me and my cupcake.

Today I went with the chocolate caramel Fleur de Sel

Saturday was a great day for a walk, and my partner and I went to Noe Valley.

photo-the Sisters-Noe Valley-San Francisco

the Sisters of Noe Valley, San Francisco

No trip there is complete without a stop at the Noe Valley Bakery.

The funny part is, having stopped to eat my cupcake at the corner of 24th & Noe, a singularly ambitious little Girl Scout came up to me with her rehearsed sales pitch, “Hey mister, want to buy some dessert today?” She then paused (seeing that I had the cupcake in my mouth while she said it ) and got the funniest look of embarrassment on her face! My partner said, “You’re a tough little business woman, aren’t you.” Her pride was now kindly restored, and she replied with a longgggggg sighhhhhhh and an eye roll, “That’s what they tell me.” And with that, and a determined 180° accomplished with a lift and turn on one toe, she marched right back to her street corner to wait for the next fish.

So- sorry kid, I’m a cupcake kinda guy. That’s how I roll.