Things to buy for a San Francisco dinner party
February 26, 2014 4:49 PM   Subscribe

Say I'm in the SF downtown area or thereabouts (I'm visiting, my geography is vague), what might be a nice local item to take to a dinner party as a gift (on a modest budget)? it could be dessert, it could be some kind of liquor, it could be some other snacks... thanks for any suggestions!
posted by zresearch to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Stop by the ferry building and pick up something lovely from the little boutique shops. Bonus: the ferry building is lovely and beautiful and you can go out back and look up at the Bay Bridge.
posted by amaire at 5:31 PM on February 26, 2014 [3 favorites]

Agreed. Poke your nose around Cowgirl Creamery at the Ferry Building -- you can bring the cheese course!
posted by janey47 at 5:36 PM on February 26, 2014 [3 favorites]

Seconding the Ferry Building. In particular, you can get amazing cheese at Cowgirl Creamery, yummy bread at Acme, delicious coffee beans at Blue Bottle, and lots of fancy desserts-to-go at Miette. There is also a See's Chocolates near Montgomery BART...this is more of a regional chain rather than hyper-local, but most people I know love them, and they are much less expensive than other chocolates you might find while still being very yummy. (Also they will give you a free sample!)
posted by rainbowbrite at 5:37 PM on February 26, 2014 [3 favorites]

I second the ferry building - you'll have hundreds of great options there.

If you are right in the center of downtown, you could go to CocoaBella chocolates in Westfield Mall for some really gorgeous chocolates.

And if you are in the Mission, check out Bi-Rite Grocery or Tartine Bakery for other local delicacies.

In Hayes Valley (near downtown), you could also pick up macaroons from Chantal Guillon or check out Gourmet & More for other edible treats.

If you're overwhelmed by the options at any of these places, just ask someone who works there what they recommend - there are new amazing treats being produced every day in SF.
posted by leitmotif at 5:39 PM on February 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

Another place to check out at the Ferry Building for unique prepared foods/culinary delights is Boulette's Larder. Nice stuff!
posted by trip and a half at 6:09 PM on February 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Nthing the Ferry Building. And rather than See's, which most people I know think has gone down in quality, sorry rainbowbrite :), I'd suggest TCHO Chocolate, which is at Pier 17.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 6:11 PM on February 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

There is a nice Japanese candy store right next to Montgomery BART.
posted by rhizome at 6:31 PM on February 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Cask has a good selection of liquor, though it's a bit pricey. If you can afford to walk a little farther (or take Bay Area Bike Share), K&L Wines by Caltrain is cheaper and has a great selection of wines and a very good selection of liquor and beer.
posted by kdar at 6:42 PM on February 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

for more casual and less expensive but still unusual and gourmet treats, Fog City News has literally hundreds of interesting, unusual chocolate bars from around the world.
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:58 PM on February 26, 2014 [3 favorites]

Cask on 3rd St at Market has a fantastic liquor selection and half the staff is excellent at recommendations.

Fog City News on Market at about 1st St has a fantastic chocolate selection and the entire staff is excellent with recommendations.
posted by kcm at 7:06 PM on February 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Very helpful answers - thank you everyone!!
posted by zresearch at 7:52 PM on February 26, 2014

I live in the bay area and the default thing to bring to a dinner party (or just drinking cheap beer in Dolores) is any of the Cowgirl cheeses. Humboldt Fog by Cypress Grove is also amazing. Everyone will love you.
posted by bradbane at 8:21 PM on February 26, 2014 [3 favorites]

A box of See's Candy. There's a store at 542 Market if you can't get to the Ferry Building.
posted by Rash at 7:49 AM on February 27, 2014

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