Kin Khao Thai Eatery was just awarded one Michelin star. It is located near Union Square, making it convenient for both locals and tourists alike.
Mushroom Hor Mok Terrine:
Hor Mok is steamed custard of red curry paste and coconut cream, topped with thickened coconut milk and fine silvers of kaffir lime leaves . The most popular representation is this fish curry custard often steamed in banana leaves. Kin Khao’s version is vegetarian with mushrooms and you eat it by breaking a piece of rice cake and spread the custard on top.
I usually don’t like beans. But I LOVE this preparation! Here we have crispy scarlet runner beans tossed with lime, chili, toasted rice powder, light soy, shallots, scallions, mint and cilantro, also known as Isaan waterfall style. It is packed with flavors of spicy, salty and citrusy. Not the usual mushy flat taste you’d expect with cooked beans.
The kitchen of Kin Khao is not too shy on the spice level. For a Thai restaurant, that’s usually a good sign. There’s also the Massaman curry with braised beef cheek and Pretty hot chicken wings(which I am sure will be HOT) that everyone raved about, I will have to come back another time.
There are two locations of Delarosa. One on Chestnut street in the Marina district, one just opened right next to Moscone Center. The food is gourmet Italian: freshly made pasta, Neapolitan-style pizza, skewered meat or seafood, and panini. Service is fast and welcoming.
We stumbled upon this place while looking for a quick lunch in between conference sessions, but ended up going there again the very next day. Some of our favorites are:
Burrata bruschetta, hazelnut & honey
Dungeness crab arancini, calabrese aioli
Spinach, sundried tomato, goat cheese pizza
The tomato sauce is outstanding at this place. It is freshly made on site, carries just the right balance of acidity and sweetness.
This pastry place is known for their Kouign Amann, a caramelized pastry from Brittany:
They also have really good opera cakes:
And occasionally, an Almond passionfruit bostock that is simply divine:
Golden Gate Bakery
Speaking of bakeries, people line up outside this bakery in Chinatown for their freshly baked egg tarts and wife cakes piping hot out of the oven.
This is a takeout place, so don’t expect much of a service. Be sure to have cash handy as they don’t take cards. And for whatever reason, they may decide to close for the day. However, their egg tart is super delicious and their wife cake has the perfect flaky dough and crunchy filling made with candied winter melon, so call ahead for opening hours. It’s worth it.
When I travel, I often take the opportunity to explore local chocolatiers. La Foret in Napa valley is by far my favorite chocolatier in the Bay Area. Wendy Sherwood was the former pastry chef at the French Laundry. She only makes a small batch of chocolate bonbons, and the only way your can get the seasonal collection is to join the allocation mailing list. The 25-piece box is not cheap, with shipping the cost adds up fast. However, you can also sample her creations at Benu in San Francisco.
Within the city limit, this Swiss Confiserie next to Moscone Center carries a good collection of Swiss chocolates, truffles and marzipan:
There are only two Minamoto Kitchoan stores in the US. One is in New York City and the other in San Francisco. Their specialty is high end Japanese wagashi sweets.
My favorites are the steamed bean cake filled with white peach and sweet bean paste (soft, delicate and not too sweet), matcha mochi with white chocolate filling, and kumquat mochi (Kinkan daifuku, with a shelf life of one to two days, it’s super fresh). If bean paste is not your thing, try some of their fruit jellies. They are burst with seasonal flavors, best enjoyed chilled.