Prior to our departure from LA, our sweet neighbors Paola and Tyler gave us a pretty wonderful list of San Francisco 'must-dos', many of which were in the Mission District (referred to as 'The Mission'). The list was meticulously broken down into categories, including coffee shops, places to grab a quick bite, oyster bars and dive bars. With all of these great recommendations - I was excited to start exploring this new neighborhood!
So my sister-in-law, Patty, and I packed up the baby, hopped on the 67 (listen to me, casually dropping bus names -- see I think I'm getting better at this public transportation thing), and made our way to Mission Dolores Park. We transferred from bus to train with ease because this time I was equipped with a light-weight stroller and a Clipper Card (no more rummaging through my purse for exact change)! We got off the train and were totally blown away with the most amazing view of the city. This park was giant - with people all around, enjoying the perfect, sunny, 60-something San Francisco day. In the middle of the park, moms watched over their little ones, running around in the city's biggest playground.
We made our way to Bi-Rite Market, a gourmet grocery store with gorgeous flowers out front, an exceptionally large cheese and chocolate selection and an amazing deli that makes the most delicious sandwiches. We split the Roasted Corn Turkey and Pork Banh Mi sandwiches -- both so fantastic, we couldn't decide which one we liked best. We nabbed a sunny bench at the park and enjoyed lunch with San Pellegrino sodas and some top-notch people-watching.
After finishing lunch, we headed out to Tartine, a famous bakery known for their sourdough bread. Ya'll know I like my sourdough, but we already had two fresh loaves at home (one from Tartine purchased earlier in the week from our local bottle shop), so we poked our heads in, gawked at the fact that there was no line (apparently most days the line goes out the door), and headed out in search of dessert.
Last stop -- Bi-Rite Creamery, under the same umbrella as Bi-Rite Market, but a couple blocks down. This ice cream shop also typically has a line out the door (evidenced by the Disneyland-style stanchions lining the sidewalk), but apparently Monday afternoon is the time to do things in The Mission because only one customer stood between us and some seriously delicious ice cream.
This charming ice cream shop had all sorts of fun flavors including 'Honey Lavender,' 'Brown Sugar,' and 'Black Sesame with Local Honey,' and gave testers of each flavor on tiny metal spoons. Leave it to a San Francisco ice cream parlor to come up with a sustainable solution for plastic tasting spoons - love it!
We enjoyed our scoops in the shop's tiny seating area, while Ava ate her much less exciting milk and we reminisced about our great day in this very awesome neighborhood.
So my neighbor-friends were right! The Mission District was pretty fantastic -- SO that very next weekend, Jordan and I packed up the baby and headed back out to the neighborhood that was quickly becoming one of my favorites in the city.
We parked in a pay lot (because driving around looking for a parallel parking spot big enough for Jordan's big truck... on a Saturday... in the city... is a poor use of time), and I was struck by the beautiful and colorful graffiti that covered every wall. This was not your typical on-the-freeway overpass graffiti. This was street art. And it was awesome.
We were on a mission to eat some oysters. Tyler had recommended a tasty oyster bar called Hog & Rocks -- intrigued by the witty name, excited by the rave Yelp reviews and (after arriving and ordering half the menu) head-over-heels for their delicious food and expertly crafted egg-white cocktails.
The Mission did not disappoint. The eateries were top-notch, the people were friendly and the oysters were $1, so It's safe to say we will be back to order a dozen more and check a few more places off our list!