san fran

A bit of California cuisine to start off your day. Photo by Stephanie Stiavetti.

I’m writing this from Portland but headed to San Fran for the Egg events below. Hoping to sneak out to Sausalito to meet the extraordinary Deborah Jones, photog of all French Laundry books and an angel on earth—one of the great luxuries of a book tour, seeing cherished friends. I emailed Stephanie Stiavetti (@sstiavetti), hoping to see her as well. Stephanie writes The Culinary Life blog. Her first book, Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese, is also from Little, Brown, and it’s superb, the best one I’ve seen, in fact—accept no imitations! I asked her for SF food recs, and this is what she sent—well worth sharing (though Steph, I hear Hog Island closed for remodeling or something, damn!)—M.R.

Dispatch from Stephanie Stiavetti

If you’ve got time to head down to the Ferry Building, Hog Island Oysters is an epic oyster place. I’ve drowned my sorrows in beer and shellfish there many times. The Coachman, in the Mission, is good as well. If you’re willing to cab it, Flour + Water is the best pasta in town, Contigo is simple but creative Catalan small plates, and SPQR is excellent Italian food.

State Bird Provisions is the best meal I’ve had in the past five years outside of the French Laundry—you might have to pull strings to get in there, though. It’s relatively cheap and so good they’re booked up months in advance. If you get there at 5pm and stand in line, you can get a table. This is the one place I’d say is worth the line. And I hate lines.

Pancho Villa (wow, the website is hilarious!) is a pretty incredible Mexican place on Valencia. Definitely worth the cab fare, or the colorful walk though the Mission—just keep your wallet in your front pocket. Other seedy but awesome Mexican, because it’s just what you do when you’re in SF: Taqueria Cancun, La Taqueria, El Toro. Playa Azul way up around 29th and Mission is a total dive but has some of the best Mexican seafood in town (everything else on the menu is OK/edible).

Pizza: Delfina in the Mission (hit up Tartine while you’re over there!) is really good, but Una Pizza Napoletana in SOMA is the best thin-crust pizza I’ve had in the U.S. I balked at paying $25 a pizza, but then I finally ate there and was totally blown away. So. Good.

Thanks, Stephanie, hope our schedules align!


Upcoming Book Events

Friday, April 11

7:00 PM

Copperfield’s/Whole Foods Napa

Culinary Center at Whole Foods

3682 Bel Aire Plaza

Napa, CA 94558


Saturday, April 12

3:00–4:00 PM

Omnivore Books

Omnivore Books on Food

3885a Cesar Chavez Street

San Francisco, CA 94131


Sunday, April 13

6:30 PM

Book Passage’s Cooks with Books

Left Bank Restaurant

507 Magnolia Avenue

Larkspur, CA 94939


© 2014 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2014 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.




25 Wonderful responses to “San Francisco and Egg Tour”

  • Cassie

    Seconding Tartine, Pizza Delfina, Hog Island Oysters, and Flour + Water. They’re all incredible, and if you show up at Hog Island at the right time the farmers market will be at full swing too. Enjoy all your eating!

  • Michael Whitaker

    Is the event on Sunday April 13 at the Book Passage or just at Left Bank? Will you be doing a cooking demonstration at Left Bank?

  • Chuck shaw

    Won’t be able to go to omnivore event. Don’t forget east bay love with many new places and some great stalwarts. Plum, commis, hawker fare, hope you’re well.

    • Stephanie

      Yes! Commis & Hawker Fare, Camino, Gather, Trattoria la Siciliana, Brotzeit, Burma Superstar… the list goes on. The East Bay is certainly holding its own.

  • Ted

    Unfortunately Hog Island in the Ferry building is closed for renovations. Swan Oyster Depot on Polk and California is worth a visit if you need a seafood fix. I’d also recommend Izakaya Yuzuki in the Mission (across the street from Tartine). Amazing, and they cook with salt koji.

  • Mrs. Renard

    For Italian (Sardinian specifically) you really cannot beat La Ciccia. IMHO, head and shoulders above other Italian recs above. The food is exceptional, and the wine list is also very good (specialized in a large number of Sardinian wine). Items to watch out for are baby octopus stew in a spicy tomato sauce and spaghetti with hot oil and bottarga. Had some of the best tripe of my life at La Ciccia.

    I prefer Pizzaiolo in Oakland to F&W and Delfina (they make salads very much in the vein of what you have pictured). They make my preferred pizza in the Bay area. (neapolitan wood fired)

    And for fine dining, Corey Lee’s Benu is exceptional and unique.

    I would also add Humphrey Slocombe for ice cream.

  • Mrs. Renard

    Oh, and instead of “cabbing it” try Uberx. Uber is all over SF, East Bay, etc.; we use it all the time. It is faster, easier, and much more comfortable than cabs (priced equivalent or less too). I am not affiliated with them, and I don’t want to write a long advert, but look at for more info.

  • Frank

    Don’t miss Taqueria La Cumbre at 515 Valencia (@ 16th St). Particularly their chicken burrito.

    Puts Pancho Villa to shame.

    No affiliation here, other than that I used to live down the street from their other location.

  • Chris

    Bar Tarnine is a must go stop, Tartine may have the best croissant in US.

    If you like cocktails, check out Slow Club.

    Not as big a fan of Flour + Water. Have been twice but fairly insipid.

  • Michelle

    If you have time, head over to Oakland. Pizziolo, Hopscotch, Commis and Plum are all excellent.

  • Brian

    I was there last month, and some of the food highlights were Swan Oyster Depot, Una Pizza Napoletana, Bar Tartine, and Commonwealth (the chef of which used to be at Bar Tartine).

  • Jeff

    A happy hour cocktail at the Tonga Room and then a cable car ride down to Tadich for dinner, just screams old school San Francisco.

    Yes, if you make it over to the E Bay; Commis, Plum and Wood Tavern are most worthy.

    Plum is a block from the Paramount, my offer of a tour still stands.

  • Allen

    Psssst….. Ahhhhemm!….. Cough, cough… Pssssssttt!!

    It’s Friday.

    All right, egg promo.
    Pair it up with some egg white, gin, citrus, simple syrup. Maybe mix tequila instead of gin. Shake with ice until frothy.

    Didn’t we do that already?

    How about pairing a glass of good inexpensive champagne with some chicken liver soaked in brandy, sauté with minced onion, purée with chopped EGG, heavy cream until smooth. You could even add a little shmaltz.

    Gives our “liver” a break, and uses a friggin “egg”.

    Make April liver and egg month.
    Be kind to your liver, and eat more eggs too.

  • Allen

    It’s Easter Sunday coming up, more friggin eggs.
    Smoke a joint, get the munchies and have some quiche.
    This shits really working out great.

    Ya better hurry back Ruhlman, we’re getting a little crazy!

  • Chris

    Also a fan of hog n Rocks for oysters charcuterie and pate. Plus great cocktails (great sazerac)

  • Annie Berrol

    Try the Slanted Door at the Ferry Building if you can’t get Hog Island Oysters. Or stand and eat at Cowgirl Creamery’s Sidekick Bar. I bet you knew about these places already.

  • Carolyn Z

    Sorry we missed you. Hubby had a little heart episode. Hope your hard cover book and iBook sell well. Take care.

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