Thursday, November 22, 2012

San Francisco Coffee and Chocolate Staycation - Day 1 of 4

Our tradition is to visit family and friends in the East Coast for Thanksgiving, but this year we decided to stay put and have a little staycation in San Francisco. Olga and I each came up with a theme to explore - I focused on coffee-roasting cafes, and Olga on artisan chocolates. We cross-references, narrowed, and finalized the list matching each of 4 cafes and 4 chocolate shops with the 4 days of the holiday weekend.

Poco Dolce Cranberry Pumpkin Seed with Grey Sea Salt

After a very rewarding morning delivering Thanksgiving meals to homebound seniors as volunteers for the Salvation Army, our delivery route left us very close to Contraband Coffee Bar in the Tendernob. It's not a neighborhood I associate with the hipster 3rd Wave Coffee movement. At the fringe between the Tenderloin and Nob Hill, it's certainly tapping into pent-up demand. The place is cute and cozy, with bar space, window seating, a small shared table, and rock-n-roll posters on the walls. They have a menu of roasts to choose from - Olga selected the Bali origin beans and I latched onto Brazil because of our upcoming trip there - for our cup-at-a-time drip coffees. Hers was unfortunately sour, not a very enjoyable coffee. Mine was a little too bitter, but with the proper amount of dairy product, it was made drinkable. We also shared a chocolate-chunk cookie, which warmed our tummies that the coffee had left unsatisfied.

Bubby's Apple-Orange Kugel recipe
in the shape of a turkey!

Chocolate Covered, an 18-year-old chocolate shop in Noe Valley, was the Chocolate destination to get us pumped for Thanksgiving cooking. The shopowner Jack Epstein, who has been recommending fine chocolate to San Franciscans for almost 2 decades, exudes chocolately knowledge from every pore. He can tell you the history of any chocolatier, and how his store's composition (80% bars, 20% truffles) compares with that of other shops in the city. What a great place to start our chocolate voyage - he has chocolates from most of the local chocolatiers - including Dandelion and Poco Dolce - that we want to visit this weekend. We went home with an armful of chocolate, including Poco Dolce Cranberry Pumpkin Seed with Grey Sea Salt, which we later brought to Thanksgiving dinner to much fanfare and rave reviews.


ivden said...

I don't remember Bubby making a kugel with orange. Did she make it just for you :-) Mmmmm...sounds good.

Dave Grenetz said...

The orange juice gives it a creamy texture :)