Everyone always asks me for recommendations where to eat and drink when up in San Francisco. My column last week included a roundup of two spots in the city that serve up good food that won’t break the bank. Here’s a special extra bite of my morning stroll–and breakfast adventures–in San Francisco’s Mission district.
After a late night that included some great food over at Sweet Woodruff and some loud music courtesy of Sleigh Bells, I opted for a leisurely late start on Friday morning. By 10:00, the sun was shining, so my friend and I headed over to the Mission for breakfast.
“Breakfast” might have been a bit of an overstatement—in all honesty, we just wanted some donuts and coffee. (Breakfast of champions, am I right?)
We started with coffee first. Strolling through the Mission, we had our pick of many of San Francisco’s coffee heavyhitters: Ritual, Four Barrel, Philz.
Out of the interest of proximity, we chose Ritual Coffee Roasters for a morning pick-me-up. As expected, I was greeted by a line of thirsty hipsters, waiting for their morning fix.
I wanted just a little pick-me-up for the morning, so I went for a cappuccino.
My cappuccino was perfect, made with the “sweet tooth” Santa Lucia beans. The beans had a sweet aftertaste, but still came with strong kick of coffee, perfect to start the morning. The foam was beautifully decorated—a charming heart topped my petite cappuccino.
While sipping my cappuccino, we strolled over to Dynamo Donuts to pick up something to eat.
The food gods were working in our favor: there wasn’t a line at Dynamo when we arrived and there was still an ample selection of donuts available for purchase.
Throw out all your expectations for donuts when you come to Dynamo. The donuts here are made in small batches, and come in a number of gourmet flavor combinations. The menu includes selections like passionfruit milk chocolate, saffron chocolate, molasses Guinness pear or chocolate star anise.
My eyes were bigger than my stomach and I wound up ordering a bazillion donuts. (Luckily, some friends back home were happy to help find a new home for the excess donuts.)
The cream-filled donuts were killer! In a surprising twist, I think the Kaffir lime coconut-filled donut ($3) might have been my favorite. Normally I’m not a fan of coconut, and it took a pep talk from my friend to even bother ordering this donut. But man was I glad I did! The light touch of coconut was a great accent the tart limes. The tangy lime filling was both lip-puckering and mouth-watering—like key lime pie turned into a donut!
Likewise, the lemon Sichuan donut ($3) was a tangy surprise. The sweet and sour lemon cream inside the donut was a nice contrast to the sprinkling of Sichuan pepper powder and sugar on the dough outside.
The sticky bun ($3) was an indulgent sweet treat I enjoyed for breakfast the next morning. These buns are made from the leftover donut dough, drizzled with tons of sugar. The hint of ginger and citrus made for a perfect pairing with a cup of coffee.
And what visit to Dynamo would be complete without picking up their famous maple-glazed bacon apple donut ($3)? The dough is studded with bacon and bacon-sautéed apples, then topped with maple glaze and crumbled crispy bacon. It’s the perfect combination of sweet and savory, salty and smoky.
I also snagged a piece of savory focaccia ($2). Topped with onions and squash, it was a nice savory contrast to the sweet donuts.
My morning in the Mission set the stage for a beautiful day in the city. It was a busy day, spent bustling downtown before a late lunch at Umami Burger and the drive home. All the more reason why I appreciated taking the time out to enjoy the finer things in life, like a walk through the Mission’s vibrant streets with a cup of coffee and a donut.
Ritual Coffee Roasters is located at 1026 Valencia Street in San Francisco’s Mission district. 415-641-1011. http://www.ritualroasters.com
Dynamo Donuts is located at 2760 24th Street in San Francisco’s Mission district. 415-920-1978. http://www.dynamodonut.com