THE CITY’S BEST


BOOKSTORES

Books Inc – 2251 Chestnut Ave. – San Francisco, CA 94123
A local book store chain that can trace it’s roots back to 1851. They have a number of locations in the Bay Are and always have a great selection of cookbooks and food magazines.

Chronicle Books – 1846 Union Street – San Francisco, CA 94123
The local publishing company’s bookstore in Cow Hollow. They produce some of my favorite cookbooks including Tartine Bread, Flour, Tapas and Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking. I can’t leave the store without buying something.

City Lights – 261 Columbus Ave. – San Francisco, CA 94133
A San Francisco establishment with a good selection of books on cooking and food writing. Titles like Eating Mud Crabs in Kandahar: Stories of Food During Wartime by the War’s Leading Correspondents, and Twain’s Feast: Searching for America’s Lost Foods in the Footsteps of Samuel Clemens. The people who work there are always interesting and knowledgeable.

Omnivore Books – 3885a Cesar Chavez Street – San Francisco, CA 94131
This might be the best culinary bookstore in the country. Owner Celia Sack stocks her shelves with new, antiquarian and collectible books on food and beverages. She has signed first editions from authors like Julia Child, one-of-a-kind 19th century cookbooks and new arrivals from local chefs and restaurateurs. She also hosts chef and author appearances in her store and at select venues.

BREAD

Tartine Bakery – 600 Guerrero Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
The line that continuously snakes around the corner outside Tartine isn’t a joke. People wait in the rain for their pastries and breads and they’re worth it.

La Boulange Bakery – Multiple locations
A great local bakery chain with indoor and outdoor seating. There seems to be a La Boulange in every neighborhood in the city. Good pastries, sandwiches and coffee.

Acme Bread Company – Ferry Building Marketplace, San Francisco, CA 94111
My favorite bread in the city. They make everything from tiny slider buns to fruit and nut studded loaves. Everything is delicious. Try the Epi, a style of baguette that looks like a branch.

BUTCHERS

Marina Meats – 2395 Chestnut Ave. – San Francisco, CA 94123
This is a great neighborhood shop. Dave, the manager, is an extremely talented butcher and a good friend. All of their products are well sourced and the staff is knowledgeable. They have a nice selection of meats, poultry and seafood, and they carry Black Pig Meat Co. Bacon from Sonoma.

Golden Gate Meats – Ferry Building Marketplace, San Francisco, CA 94111
A staple of the Ferry Building, with an impressive meat counter. They have any cut of meat you could possibly want, a large homemade sausage selection and bacon options like European back bacon, wild boar bacon, and Neuskes – which always makes me happy.

Avedano’s – 235 Cortland Ave – San Francisco, CA 94110
Owned and run by three women, their shop is beautiful. Tia Harrison, co-owner and the in-house butcher is also co-owner and executive chef of Sociale in Presideo Heights.

Prather Ranch Meat Co. – Ferry Building Marketplace, San Francisco, CA 94111
Prather Ranch is located at the base of Mt. Shasta in Northern California where they raise and sell certified organic dry-aged natural beef and it’s worth every penny. Their outpost in the Ferry Building sells sustainably raised beef, pork, lamb, buffalo, vitellone and chicken along with their homemade hot dogs and bacon.

CHARCUTERIE

The Fatted Calf – 320 Fell Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
An artisanal shop that produces some of the best hand-crafted pâtés, salami, prosciutti and sausage. They’re always happy to give cooking tips to customers and offer classes on making charcuterie, whole hog butchery and seasonal products like black truffles.

Boccalone – Ferry Building Marketplace, San Francisco, CA 94111
Owned by Chris Cosentino and Mark Pastore from Incanto, this temple of “tasty salted pig parts” is my go to shop for guanciale, lardo, pancetta, and delicious salumi and sausages.

4505 Meats – Saturday/Thursday – Ferry Building Marketplace, San Francisco
Ryan Farr and his wife started their company in 2009 and it’s gained a cult following. Their chicharrones melt in your mouth, and their farmers market sausages are amazing. Go to their stall during market hours and try one of their sandwiches for breakfast or lunch.

CHEESE

Cowgirl Creamery – Ferry Building Marketplace, San Francisco, CA 94111
A European-style cheese shop with a huge selection of cheeses from all over the world. Their staff is extremely knowledgeable and will offer tastes of different cheeses until you’ve found what you want. The company was founded by Sue Conley and Peggy Smith in 1997 when they began making small batches of artisanal cheeses in Pt. Reyes Station, north of San Francisco. Now they make four soft aged and three fresh cheeses and they’re worth buying.

Cheese Plus – 2001 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109
An upscale market with a great selection of local and European goods. They have fresh pastas, olive oils, vinegars, jams, and a nice cheese and charcuterie selection. They also make really good sandwiches.

Say Cheese – 856 Cole Street, San Francisco, CA 94117
A beautiful cheese selection, amazing sandwiches, great staff, and a very good boutique wine collection. If you’re near Golden Gate Park, stop here first and load up before going into the park for a picnic.

FLORIST

Bloomers – 2975 Washington St., San Francisco, CA 94115
A lovely florist in Pacific Heights that has been in the neighborhood since 1977. Their arrangements are always beautiful and they have a large selection of cards, ribbons and vases to make your gift special. They are our preferred vendor for all of The City Kitchen’s events.

San Francisco Wholesale Flower Market – 640 Brannan St., San Francisco, CA 94107
If you love flowers and don’t want to use a florist, you can pick up anything you might need at this huge warehouse-style market. Its fun to go and just walk around, the flowers are beautiful. There are a number of shops that sell vases, etc too.

SEAFOOD

Nijiya Market – 1737 Post St., San Francisco, CA 94115
Japantown’s main supermarket. I love walking through the aisles because I always discover some new ingredient. If you’re looking for sushi-grade fish, this is the place.

San Francisco Fish Company – Ferry Building Marketplace, San Francisco, CA 94111
A great little fish market in the Ferry Building; they focus on local, wild and sustainable products. They also have large tanks with live Dungeness crab and east coast lobster.

Richmond New Mae Wah Supermarket – 707 Clement St., San Francisco, CA 94118
This market is an amazing experience. It’s my favorite place to buy shellfish because it’s all so fresh. They have tanks of live mussels, clams, oysters, lobsters, Dungeness crab and shrimp at the best prices. It’s worth the trip.

SPECIALTY

Bi-rite Market – 3639 18th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
A true neighborhood market with local, organic fruits and vegetables, a nice wine selection and a large prepared foods area. They also make really good sandwiches. Visit their Creamery down the street for the best homemade ice cream.

Cheese Plus – 2001 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109
Mentioned above for their cheese selection, they also have spices, olive oils, jams, olives, fresh pastas, and breads from all over the world. If you can’t find a certain ingredient, check here.

Far West Fungi – Ferry Building Marketplace, San Francisco, CA 94111
Mushrooms, mushrooms, mushrooms. I love this pace and always discover a mushroom I haven’t heard of before. Their selection is beautiful and really fresh. They also sell truffle oil, truffle salt, fennel pollen, and tons of dried mushrooms.

Nijiya Market – 1737 Post St., San Francisco, CA 94115
Mentioned above for their fresh fish, this Japanese market has any unusual Japanese ingredient you might need. And, they’re my go-to for lotus roots, pea shoots and daikon radish sprouts.

Richmond New Mae Wah Supermarket – 707 Clement St., San Francisco, CA 94118
Mentioned above for their seafood, this huge Asian grocery store in the Inner Richmond is definitely worth the trip. The whole left side of the store is dry goods, oils, sauces, nuts, etc. They have a huge isle of wonton wrappers, sake and beer, and lots of dried fish.

Casa Lucas Market – 2934 24th St., San Francisco, CA 94110
My favorite Latin market in the Mission. If I need anything for a Mexican or Southwestern inspired dish, I come here first. Tons of dried spices like achiote and epazote, plus lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. And, the prices are great.

SPICES

New India Bazaar – 1107 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109
I love this Indian market. It’s tiny and packed with everything I need for an Indian menu. Whole and ground spices, coconut oil, paneer cheese and Indian snacks. If you like Bollywood movies they have a huge selection for rent. I like to have one playing in the background at an Indian themed party.

22nd and Irving Market – 2101 Irving St., San Francisco, CA 94122
This market is filled with inexpensive bulk spices, imported oils, jams and jellies, nuts, and a very eclectic selection of European and Middle Eastern soft cheeses. They have great produce and huge bunches of fresh herbs. No meats, poultry or seafood are sold here.

TABLETOP

Heath Ceramics – Ferry Building Marketplace, San Francisco, CA 94111
Heath Ceramics is one of the few remaining mid-century American potteries still in existence today. They continue to make beautiful tableware and tile in their factory in Sausalito, and now they have a shop at the Ferry Building. I love the clean lines and muted colors of their plates and bowls and so does Alice Waters. She designed a line of Chez Panisse tableware for her restaurant in Berkeley.

Past Perfect – 2224 Union St., San Francisco, CA 94123 and 2246 Lombard St., San Francisco, CA 94123
An antique/vintage modern collective with two locations in Cow Hollow. Some of my favorite pieces of furniture and tableware have come from here. Both stores have a beautiful selection of one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture, lighting, tableware, clothing, and home accents selected by their vendors. It’s fun to go and browse before a dinner party to pick up new items for your table.

Sue Fisher King – 3067 Sacramento St., San Francisco, CA 94115
I wish I could live in this store. Her selection of linens, silverware and glasses makes me want to have a party with a different theme every night. Tons of platters, pillows, and pretty accents form your home. A great place to buy a hostess gift.

Union Street Papery – 2166 Union St., San Francisco, CA 94123
This is my absolute favorite stationary and gift wrapping store in the city. It is tucked down a little ally off of Union Street in Cow Hollow. They have a beautiful little courtyard out front and a shop filled with the prettiest place cards, dinner party invitations, menu cards and hostess gifts you have ever seen. Their Bridal Bungalow above is where you can design wedding invitations, holiday cards, etc. Stacey, the owner, is our preferred vendor for any of The City Kitchen’s private events.

WINE

California Wine Merchant – 2113 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123
I worked at the California Wine Merchant for two years, just after completing a wine program at the CIA in St. Helena. They have an amazing collection of small-production, hard to find California wines as well as a nice selection of “cult” wines from well-known vineyards like Opus One, Harlan Estate and Screaming Eagle. They pour many wines by the glass at their bar, or you can buy a bottle from the shop to take home.

Biondivino Wine Boutique – 1415 Green Street, San Francisco, CA 94109
This little wine shop is like a jewel box with rows of Italian wines running down the walls. Carrie, the owner, is so knowledgeable about the wines she imports and if you get on her mailing list you will be invited to wine tastings with many of her International small producers. She also has a nice selection of French champagnes and a number of wines from Austria, Croatia and Slovenia.

PlumpJack Wines – Cow Hollow & Noe Valley Locations
This is a great neighborhood wine store with friendly service and a nice selection of California and international wines. They have a number of clubs that you can join too, including Beer of the Month and a Scotch Club.

K&L Wine Merchants – Multiple locations
An amazing wine store with a well-known web retail business, this is the place where collectors and casual drinkers come to get their wines. K&L wine buyers hunt down wines from all over the world and sell much of it at their store in Soma for great prices. This store is worth the trip.

The Jug Shop -1590 Pacific Ave., San Francisco, CA 94109
This is my go-to wine store in San Francisco for Spanish and Italian wines. I always work with Floribeth, their European wine buyer, to find bottles that will pair well with my cooking classes and private events. Her knowledge and understanding of food and wine pairing is unbelievably helpful, she always picks the right bottles for my menu. I’ve learned a lot from her and their prices are great.

Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant – Ferry Building Marketplace, San Francisco, CA 94111
Both a store and wine bar located in the Ferry Building marketplace, their wine selection always makes me happy. The staff is knowledgeable and easy to work with and I always leave with a bottle of something new to try. It’s also fun to pick up cheese from Cowgirl Creamery, charcuterie form Boccalone and bread from Acme for a “picnic” at their wine bar. The bartender will help you choose a glass or bottle that will go well with your purchase.

The City Kitchen
  • The City Kitchen is a way for me to share ideas, recipes and techniques from our kitchen in the city by the bay. My cooking highlights local ingredients with accents from San Francisco’s international neighborhoods. Enjoy!
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