Before I go on telling about our most recent road trip, I want to interrupt myself to mention a thing we did on our last trip to San Francisco last fall, because it plays into the 2013 story. We took a really cool San Francisco food tour!
Chris and I had done a walking food tour in NYC, too (years ago), through Greenwich Village, and I wanted to try it in San Francisco when we visited last fall. It’s really fun to take a walking food tour — you get to walk through the local villages with a resident who knows everyone, and they introduce you to all the great mom-and-pop places and tell you little stories about the area.
In San Francisco, this was our tour guide, Blandina:
She was a kick, and had lived in San Francisco’s North Beach area (which is like San Francisco’s “Little Italy”) for a long time, and had all kinds of great stories to tell. This is Blandina in front of the roaster she showed us at Café Roma. She explained how they still did all their own roasting there, and told us the difference between dark roast, medium roast, and so forth, passing out coffee beans to demonstrate the difference.
We loved Café Roma — especially Rene! She’s getting creative with her coffee concoctions every morning. Even I had a cappuccino, and I’m not even a coffee drinker! Everything just looked and smelled sooooooooo good inside Café Roma.
We also went behind the scenes to one of the city’s most popular bakeries, where we saw one of the oldest clay-tile ovens still operating:
The bread smelled heavenly in here, in the back of the store, and Blandina helped us sample quite a few types of bread and pastries:
Blandina also took us to several delicious Italian restaurants, where we got to sample the fare:
Rene loved this place, too. Doesn’t she look like a natural in San Francisco? She wants to apply to college there:
Nate was a little partial to the biscotti (his first!) and the hot chocolate at Café Roma:
Chris and I chillin’ on one of the sidewalk patios at one of the Italian restaurants:
In between all the food-sampling, Blandina took our group of about 16 through two churches, Washington Square (park), a candy-making shop, and more. She was so full of fun stories! It gave us a chance to work up more of an appetite, trekking up and down the hilly sidewalks of North Beach. We also went inside Saints Peter and Paul Church (below) and even saw part of a Scottish wedding complete with bagpipes! There’s always something crazy going on in Washington Square.
At a dessert place, she picked up a box of goodies (tied up with string!) and carried it through the rest of the tour, which we ate later:
Rene got to try her very first cannoli at an authentic Italian restaurant in North Beach. She was really excited about trying cannoli!
It was a really fun day! We highly recommend city food tours! Here’s the link to this San Francisco one if you’re ever in the area: North Beach/Little Italy Walking Food Tour.
What a great way to take in the city! Fun family outing. I have been planning a bike tour of New Orleans through the Confederacy if Cruisers. They take you around on beach cruisers, telling stories of the area, and you visit famous local restaurants (or bars, if you do the adult Beverage tour, another option, or ride around old creole parts if town). In that area there is a strong oral tradition, and Southerners tend to be good story tellers, so it makes the New Orleans idea that much more appealing…
Oh, Barbara, that “Cruiser” tour of New Orleans sounds fun! And I’m sure you did your tour through Italy in great fashion, too — I can’t wait to hear more about Italy! We have to get together! 🙂