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Sunny Skies in San Francisco

Perfect sunny California weather set the stage for the 38th Fancy Food Show in San Francisco in January 2014. A highlight was the sampling of the winners of the Good Food Awards at the Bay-side Ferry Building Saturday morning. Of particular note were fabulous goat milk caramels from Big Picture Farm and delicious herb-infused chocolates from Escazu Artisan Chocolate.

The regular Saturday morning outdoor farmers’ market was abuzz with shoppers purchasing fantastic local products and lining up for the offerings from their favourite food truck. 

HERe are highlights of Jill’s culinary adventures:

It wouldn’t be a trip to San Francisco without a Saturday lunch at the Hog Island Oyster Co. in the Ferry Building to enjoy a variety of fresh oysters. This popular spot has a lineup that starts well before they open.

Two interesting Italian eateries in Nob Hill are worth a visit: the Nob Hill Café on 1152 Taylor St. is a well-established local haunt that offers up Italian fare in a casual authentic environment. Two blocks away, its newer cousin is Venticello at 1257 Taylor St. This chic, but warm and inviting spot features a wood-burning oven for pizza.

Bon Appetit magazine voted State Bird Provisions at 1529 Fillmore St. as America’s best new restaurant. Dozens of people lined up to take their chances at a spot to dine an hour before doors opened. Jill was lucky enough to be able to secure a spot at 9 pm. That night the dim sum style of service featured a seafood salsa with avocado and crispy tortilla. Goose pate with warm savoury muffins, Peking Duck with delicate crepes and Guinea fowl dumpling in broth were just a few of the interesting dishes offered.

Another well-known spot in Chinatown is R & G Lounge at 631 Kearny St., where again people lined up to get a table. The signature dish is the salt and pepper fried crab. This messy and absolutely delectable dish is outstanding, as were the homemade noodles with bok choy and melt-in-your-mouth beef.

For a spectacular panoramic view of the city, take an elevator ride up to the top floor of the InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel one of the city’s finest historical hotels at One Nob Hill. The restaurant On The Mark offers good food and service.

Another must-try is master chef Charlie Palmer’s new Burritt Tavern in the funky Mystic Hotel. Adjacent to the Burritt Room, this sleek space was packed on a Monday night.

Even the airport food did not disappoint this trip. Jill finished her trip with a wood-fired margarita pizza in the airport that was a fitting dish to have before the long (no food on the plane) trip home. 

Where to stay:

 If you don’t mind dealing with the incredibly steep streets, the Fairmont on Nob Hill is an elegant hotel to spend a few days. Originally built in 1906 and surviving the earthquake and fire, it officially opened in 1907.

More Travel Notes from Jill

Chicago

Discover the Windy City — getting to Chicago has seldom been easier. Check here for some of Jill’s favourite places to eat, stay, shop, and enrich your trip.

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New York

2014’s Summer Fancy Food Show had over 2,400 exhibitors from around and over 180,000 products. Jill had a marathon three-day visit to the show and other parts of magical Manhattan.

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Frankfurt

Frankfurt was “wunderbar” for Ambiente, the largest housewares show in the world and the site of Wusthof Knives’ 200th anniversary celebrations.

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