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August 19, 2015

Eat Like a Local: 9 Farm-to-Table Adventures in San Francisco

When Machell and Effie met a decade ago, they were both hungry New Yorkers working in media and food. Fast-forward 10 years, and now the couple is married with an adorable little girl, Marley, all happily living a delightfully food-centric existence in the Bay Area. Machell is currently an ambassador for Dark Horse Wine, while Effie is the executive chef for dining at O. Co Coliseum - home to the Oakland A's and Oakland Raiders. Effie is also part of the trio behind the soon-to-beopened Steel Rail Public House in Jack London Square, Oakland. Since arriving in California almost two years ago, the couple has been on the hunt for the best flavors available in The City By The Bay. “As foodies, we’re always up for new flavors and adventures,” says Machell. “You can easily enjoy some of the best street food here, or dine in a Michelin-rated restaurant with the same ease.” Their professions reflect a love of edible experiences. Eating is a job for this food-tastic couple, but it’s not all hard work. “Locals here are spoiled with the fact that we truly can live farm to table. This city has access to local fruit veg/farms, locally harvested honey, farm made cheeses, wonderful bakeries— all within a few miles.” Where do Chef Speigler and the Mrs. dine? Check out the list below.

Civic Center

Alta Ca (1420 Market St.)
“Because of the location near the Civic Center and big headquarters like Twitter, Alta CA can be packed during prime lunch and dinner hours, so be sure to make a reservation. The entrance is unassuming, but the interior is beautifully done and polished. Cocktails are fun and so is the food! Order the little dish of beef tendon puffs, which are super addictive little crunchy bits of yumminess.”

Embarcadero/Financial District

Hog Island Oysters at the Ferry Building Marketplace (1 Ferry Building)
“Hog Island has been an oyster farm off the coast of Marin County for over 30 years. Today, the company also operates this spacious, modern eatery in the famous Ferry Building. Try to come on a day when the CUESA Farmer’s Market is open, Saturdays, Tuesdays and Thursdays on the plaza in front of the building. You will love seeing how fresh and beautiful our local produce is before you head into the restaurant for a taste of the ocean. Grab a table on the restaurant’s outdoor patio when the weather is nice—which it is year-round.”

Mission District

Bar Tartine (561 Valencia St.)
“The menu, which leans toward a Cali-Hungarian mood, features farm-fresh veggies and the famous breads and pastries. Flavors and ingredients are super-imaginative, and dishes change often based on produce availability. Definitely try to make it for brunch on the weekends, when you can order avocado toast with silky, soft scrambled eggs...wow!”

Hawker Fare (680 Valencia St.)
“Casual place for excellent family-style Thai food. Everything looks, feels and tastes authentic—from the colorful Asian posters, plastic tablecloths and the strings of tiny lights to the spicy sauteed greens, savory chicken fat rice and pungent durian ice cream. We like to come with friends so we can share more dishes.”

Hog & Rocks (3431 19th St.)
“The name of this fun, hip restaurant explains exactly what they are about—come for seasonal oyster the rocks—and ham—the hog. Even the delicious deviled eggs have a fried oyster and a piece of country ham atop the creamy little bites.”

Pacific Heights/Lower Pacific Heights

Fresca (2114 Fillmore St.)
“Our favorite place for tasty Peruvian delights like ceviches and simple yet delicious anticuchos, which are grilled skewers. You can visit any of the four locations across the city, but we like the one in Pacific Heights because of the cute neighborhood. Fillmore Street is home to lots of fantastic little shops and cafés, so it is easy to spend a day in the area and finish the night at Fresca.”

Woodhouse Fish Co. (1914 Fillmore St.)
“Our local standby place for excellent fresh seafood. Everything is very New England-y, from the fantastic lobster roll to the fried clams. Of course get the classic Cioppino. We’ve been going to the Fillmore Street location more often, but we also love the one in the Castro, at 2073 Market Street. Both are super cute. Pro-tip: $1 oyster happy hour on Tuesdays!”


Burma Superstar (309 Clement St.)
“Open since 1992, this classic still commands a long wait, which can stretch to an hour or more. So we just factor in extra time and arrive early. Burmese cuisine, with its signature bright and lively flavors and mix of textures, is popular here in San Francisco; Burma Superstar is our pick for the best. Aside from this flagship on Clement, there are two additional locations in the Bay area.”


Dirty Habit (12 4th St.)
“Located upstairs in Hotel Palomar, this is the perfect blend of bar and restaurant. DH’s inventive cocktails and new American menu are perfectly aligned, with seasonal ingredients playing a big part in everything from finger foods to entrées to drinks.” www.dirtyhabitsf.com

Photo via Hog Island.

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