What to do in SF this Saturday?
August 16, 2018 5:34 AM   Subscribe

I'm free from breakfast until but not including dinner. Could you recommend me a couple of places to eat, a newspaper that lists small theatrical productions, and ainteresting grocery store? Also, is it worth walking across the golden gate Bridge if you like walks and fog and scenery but not people?

For the food, I'm looking for a good dim sum place for breakfast. I'll be starting out from sfo but am happy to take public transit.

I'm more open minded about lunch. I hear sf has an in interesting take on Mexican food. Our maybe a poke bowl? More Chinese food would probably be fine too.

I also enjoy walking around grocery stores in unfamiliar areas. If the bay area has an iconic regional store, like wawa or Kroger, is love to visit one.

I've also had very good luck with low rent theatre. I like comedies, the darker the better. Is there a local newspaper that lists cheap plays?
posted by meaty shoe puppet to Travel & Transportation around San Francisco, CA (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The Golden Gate bridge is glorious. There will be people. Generally most people walk on the east side, as the views are into the Bay and the City. However, you can walk on the west side, if you like. It's less crowded, though bikes generally go there.

Theater Bay Area is a non-profit clearinghouse for local theater companies. They have a "What's Playing" link, and also a link to Goldstar which has cheaper tickets.

For dim sum, my favorite is the Canton restaurant which is South of Market. Certainly you can find many guides to dim sum in the area where people talk about their favorites.

Grocery stores...hmm...maybe Buy Rite?
posted by jasper411 at 5:57 AM on August 16, 2018

Just got back from a trip there! We did a dim sum breakfast at Yank Sing (suggested by a few local friends to us) and it was delicious. We didn't have a reservation, but we got there about 15 minutes before they opened at 10 with a party of 5, and were first in line and able to walk right in.
posted by damayanti at 6:04 AM on August 16, 2018

I like walking/biking across bridges; I live in New York so I do it quite a bit. I will say that the Golden Gate Bridge is foggy and scenic, but it is very loud; I found it so loud as to be unpleasant.
posted by andrewesque at 6:12 AM on August 16, 2018

Rainbow Grocery is an iconic co-op. If you were going to be in Berkeley, I would suggest Berkeley Bowl, too.
posted by greermahoney at 7:06 AM on August 16, 2018 [4 favorites]

Yeah, Berkeley Bowl is actually sort of stunning in its abundance of produce (picture aisles overflowing with perfect specimens of every variety of every fruit), but unfortunately would take quite a while to visit on BART and is *not* good to visit on the weekend if you don't like being in a crowd of people. I don't know how crowded Rainbow is on weekends. Bi-Rite has always been crowded when I've been there (it's also next to Dolores Park, which might be fun, but is also generally very crowded). If you're in Chinatown for dim sum, it might be fun to go in a Chinese corner market, though I don't happen to know of anything iconic.

You might like walking through Golden Gate Park if you'd rather be around fewer people, as long as there isn't a particular event there that weekend. There's a great free view of the city if you go up to the top of the DeYoung Museum, which you can do without a ticket. If you walk all the way to the end of the park, or take the train to the beach, you can also go in the camera obscura, which is great if it happens to be sunny (I don't think the camera obscura works that well in the fog).
posted by pinochiette at 7:16 AM on August 16, 2018

Ditto Yank Sing for dim sum & Berkeley Bowl for groceries.
Not exactly groceries, but I love to go to the Ferry Building & get a bunch of different things for lunch then eat outside looking at the Bay Bridge — an epi loaf from Acme Bread, a half round of Mt Tam from Cowgirl Creamery, a bottle of fresh grape juice from G.L. Alfieri — there used to be one of Chris Cosentino’s brainchildren, Boccalone, where I’d always get a link of spicy, spreadable nduja to go with everything else, but I just learned it closed last fall and oh I’m so sad.
posted by sutureselves at 7:26 AM on August 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

Dim sum alone is kind of tough (if youre not traveling alone disregard) if youre committed Koi Palace is closer to the airport than any option in the city, and pretty exceptional. Lines get long pretty early though and waits are epic. Yank Sing is pricey but good. If your plans take you to golden gate park there are some solid options out that way - i love Hong Kong Lounge II, and there a bunch of kind of anonymous take out spots in the richmond that might be better for dim sum for 1 (no waiting, can get individual pieces) Wing Lee on clement has been there forever.

I do think that if grocery shopping is an interest of yours (and i say this as someone who loves a great grocery store) you really need to go to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. In addition to Acme Bread and incredible cheese (and produce, go eat a dry farmed early girl tomato like an apple for me) the classic prepared food options there include the very good Primavera Chilequiles and Roli Roti porchetta.

Rainbow grocery is great, Berkley bowl is further afield but incredible.

For walks in fog but with fewer people than the GG bridge, check out Fort Point right beneath it, and the attached crissy field.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 7:49 AM on August 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

sf.funcheap.com is a go-to for cheap San Francisco entertainment.

Starting out from SFO:
Take the (new) SFO SamTrans bus directly to the Millbrae Caltrain/BART station. You pick it up at the SamTrans bus stop downstairs. At Millbrae, walk two blocks to the Hong Kong Flower Lounge for great dim sum. There are good dim sum places in the City, such as the expensive Yank Sing, but HKFL is better than most, and less expensive.

Walk back to the Millbrae Caltrain/BART station.
Take BART to the Embarcadero Station. Walk to the Ferry Building. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and especially Saturdays, they have an excellent farmer's market outside, with lots of local produce, cheeses, etc. You get a great view of the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge. The interior of the Ferry building is also full of food shops and other interesting shops.

For lunch, take BART to the 24th & Mission station. Walk one block to La Taqueria for a San Francisco Mission burrito.
posted by blob at 7:52 AM on August 16, 2018 [3 favorites]

In lieu of walking the Golden Gate Bridge, I highly highly recommend Lands End / Sutro Baths. It's one of my favorite walks in SF and I bring out of town friends there constantly. There's views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Marin Headlands, and stunning coastal cliffs. There's an average amount of people, but way less (and much quieter) than on the Golden Gate Bridge. (I run across the bridge sometimes and it's just so loud as to be unpleasant.) Take Lyft to get out there, it takes forever by bus.

If you do Lands End, it's in a neighborhood with a notable Russian and Chinese contingent. I don't have specific grocery recommendations in Outer Richmond, but in Inner Richmond (maybe 2.5 miles inland from Lands End), wandering Clement Street between ~12th and Arguello has all sorts of great Chinese shops, restaurants, and grocery stores.

It's not nearby my other suggestions, but the Ferry Building and its Saturday Farmer's Market are my go-to Saturday morning breakfast/lunch/activity. I generally buy some groceries (avocados from Will, Acme Bread, etc) and graze (Cowgirl Creamery, Reem's, Primavera, Frog Hollow pastries, mmmmm.)
posted by soleiluna at 7:56 AM on August 16, 2018 [5 favorites]

Rainbow is just a big health food store, nothing spectacular unless you're into those beliefs. Berkeley Bowl will blow your mind but yeah, it's crowded. Go mid - day and not at lunch.

If you're into sweets, Crixa cakes is a block from the Oregon st Berkeley Bowl (there are two Berkeley bowl locations, Oregon st is closer to BART). It's a very fancy eastern European fancy bakery and Russian tea place.
posted by twoplussix at 12:46 PM on August 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

also near Berkeley Bowl and Crixa and the like is a really cool fabric/notions store called Lacis, which is a corset and lace-making supplier, on the off chance you're interested in that sort of thing. They bill themselves as a 'museum of lace' as well, though it's less impressive than it sounds. There are a couple of random and specialized antique stores on the same block. All of this is within about a 4-block radius of Ashby BART and Berkeley Bowl.
posted by twoplussix at 12:48 PM on August 16, 2018

Nthing the Ferry Building... Saturday is the big Farmers Market. Expensive and crowded but worth it to see and taste some of the best produce in the country.

Get your dim sum, then head to the Ferry Buiding to look around and forage lunch. It will easily keep you occupied for a couple of hours. I have to put myself in the right headspace for the crowds, but the quality of the products (both from the shops inside and the vendors outside) can’t be denied. Stone fruit and tomatoes are particularly good right now. Taste the samples, pick out your favorite, then talk to the farmers and they will help pick out the most perfectly ripe ____ for your lunch.

Have fun!
posted by jenquat at 11:44 PM on August 16, 2018

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