This list is in no particular order..they are all just great.
1. Humphrey Slocombe
This place had some of the most wild Ice Cream flavors ever. They rotate daily I thought the actual texture and flavor was quite a bit better than the popular Bi-Rite Creamery. With flavors ranging from McEvoy Olive Oil to Guinness Gingerbread to Boccolane Prosciutto there was never a moment lacking excitement. They also offered the classic vanilla, strawberry, etc. The Ice Cream was so good we actually took a bus ride out of our way to have it one day.
2. Chez Panisse
This place is renowned for being local, in fact Alice Waters was one of the pioneers of the idea of locally grown food being served up in a restaurant. The place easily lives up to it's reputation. It was one of the best meals of our trip if not my life. We went through three delectable courses. The first was a Sand Dab (never had it before this) which was the best fish dish I have ever had. For our entree was a wood fired porcini mushroom lasagne. The dessert, oh man, was amazing. Fresh blueberry and nectarine cobbler with burnt caramel ice cream. WOW! If you are in the bay area, make it a point to go eat here even just for lunch like we did. When you are done, walk across the street to the Cheese Board to pick up some amazing cheeses and fresh breads.
3. Angelo's Wine Country Deli
An amazing little side of the road stop on your way into wine country. Probably the best sandwiches I have ever had. Mind you I did eat them with this as my view:
However, Claire and I discovered something I am pretty sure is non-existent to rare in Texas. The Dutch Crunch bun. This amazing, crunchy, sweet, soft bread wrapped up a delicious chicken salad sandwich that was the perfect start to touring wine country. Worth the trip just for that bread. They did have that awesome view and house smoked jerky as well.
Indian/Mexican Fusion, yeah thats right, both of them on one plate. It isn't actually as much of a stretch as you would think. The flavor profiles of both countries' cuisine are fairly similiar. This place not only had the combined flavors of Mexican and Indian spot on they also had a great small restaurant vibe. You could even watch the guys work in the kitchen and coming from someone with experience in a kitchen these guys were good (super fast). We were given Naan and chutneys to start with and had some amazing samosas for our appetizers. For our entree we had the Punjabi enchiladas. Unique, delicious, satisfying and very curious. It was a delicious mix of tamarind, curry, and Mexican seasonings that someday I must have again. FYI they can also make any dish on the menu vegan, vegetarian, or gluten free.
5. Little Star Pizza
The best pizza I have ever had. You might see a recurring them of "bests" on this little trip through San Francisco, but the reality is the food is just that good. The crust is really heavy on corn meal which when baked up comes out really crunchy and with a lot of texture. I loved it.
The pizza is deep dish style and is piled with toppings and consequently gooey flavor. Any pizza lover should try this place at least once. Also the garlic bread is awesome because it is a deconstructed version. The butter, bread, and garlic are all seperate and require assembly. If you have never had fresh roasted garlic still in the bulb then you need to try it.
6. Genki Crepes
Probably one of the wierdest experiences as far as places to eat at, yet also one of the coolest. Genki is in a cool little neighborhood and only a few blocks from a bookstore that I fell in love with: Green Apple Books. Genki is basically a Japanese convienience store that serves up some amazing crepes. I haven't been to Flip Happy or so I don't have much at home to compare it to but all I know is that the crepe is warm and just a bit crunchy and they load it up with a bunch of toppings. The way it is served reminds me of Mighty Cone (haven't eaten there yet either) .I had the chicken with Sweet Chili and it blew my mind. Later on we came back for a dessert crepe and it was just as good. While you wait for your food you can have a grand time looking through all the toys, candy, and random japanese items in the store.
7. Creme Brulee Cart
You have to work for this one. The location is broadcast daily via twitter similiar to how Chilantro works here in Austin. The only difference is that Creme Brulee Cart sets up in random places around the district and has to work on the down low because, simply put its a cart and doesn't meat food handlers requirements. This one one of the most fun experiences we had in San Francisco. Earlier in the week we found out he was going to be gone for the extent of our vacation but later on twitter posted about a secret time that he was service creme brulee. Naturally we hunted him down through the alleys and streets of the mission only to find a decent sized line of people waiting for their creme brulee out of a cart.
It was pretty good creme brulee too. Not the best ever but totally worth the hunt, plus that just made it taste a little bit better. That and the fact that we were out of towners hunting down a very localized thing.
San Francisco is a food lovers dream and someday I hope to go back and have another round. other places we went that were good but just didn't quite make the cut of the best of the best:
A16 - Nate Applemans restaurant, not bad, cool atmosphere, but food wasn't mind blowing.
Slanted Door - cool atmosphere, but was hyped up in my head so much that it was a let down.
Beard Papas - delicious little cream puffs .
Dosa - solid Indian food, hip place.
La Note - cute little place with some amazing French breakfast (Berkeley).
Bridgeway Cafe -little breakfast place in Sausalito, great view of the bay.
Caffe Greco - breakfast place in little italy, very cool area, food was tasty too.
Three Twins Ice Cream - really good simple flavors and organic.
Fritz - same concept as Frietkot here in Austin, good sauce flavors.
El Faralito - great hole in the wall burritos, we were dying for Tex-Mex at this point.
Ikes Place - sandwiches that everyone talks about, heard about them well before our trip, they were good.