Thursday, June 26, 2008

My Favorite Street in San Francisco - Delfina Pizzeria, Tartine Bakery and Bi-Rite Creamery

I've gotten in the habit of making a beeline for this little strip of 18th Street near Guerrero as soon as I arrive, and today we actually came straight from the airport. Though I've been a few times now, it was James' first trip and I think he was impressed. We were really hungry when we got there about 2 PM, and when we still had to wait for a table he jokingly said to me "This better be really good, or you're going to be in big trouble." Nice, huh!
V. Good Vino Blanco at Delfina Pizzeria

There's nothing better when you're on vacation (or pretending to be on vacation) than splitting a bottle of wine over a leisurely lunch. We ordered a bottle of this on the recommendation of the girls who were sharing one next to us - it was very Viognier/Albarino-like and we enjoyed it quite a lot.
Olives at Delfina Pizzeria

The first dish to arrive at the table was this little ramekin of warm olives - aren't they pretty? The green ones were my favorite.
Tuna Conserve Salad at Delfina Pizzeria

They brought the dishes at a nicely staggered pace - the next to arrive was the tuna conserve salad. It was tossed in a garlicky lemon-olive oil dressing with white beans and served with fresh baby arugula. The tuna itself was tender, with a very light flavor. I was on the phone when it arrived at the table, and I had to start scooping some onto my plate when it looked like James might eat it all before I could finish my call. (Clearly, I was not in "big trouble" on account of this dish.)
Bubalis Ricotta at Delfina Pizzeria

One of my favorite dishes on my last visit was a baked ricotta cheese served with peppers. It wasn't available this time, but that was just as well, because this turned out to be even better. Fresh slices of creamy ricotta drizzled with oil and served with grilled piquillo peppers - it was downright luscious and bit of the dried chile flakes they provide on the table set it off nicely. The salumi sampler provided a good sized serving for two. We really liked the large disk, which was Framani Toscano. The lardo and prosciutto were interesting too - very flavorful (they are house-cured.)
Salumi at Delfina Pizzeria

The pizza was delicious too, but I really think some of their best offerings are in the starter categories. They're often a little bit unique, despite the simplicity, and the flavors and quality are just spot on. The pizza's crust was particularly good this time though, with just the right amount of chew in the crispy edges.
Quattro Formaggio Pizza at Delfina Pizzeria

After we polished that off, we toddled (literally, I think) down to Bi Rite Creamery, where James indulged in a single scoop of Salted Caramel, and I downed a Malted Vanilla with Peanut Butter Toffee with Mint Chip. I don't know what they do to their ice cream to make it taste so good, but it really is fabulous - especially the mint, it just has so much flavor. After this feast, we picked up a few pastries at Tartine for breakfast tomorrow, and came back to Tommy's place to take a nap. One hour's sleep never felt so good.

Dinner tonight was at Orson. It was interesting - some good and some bad. We did get to meet Elizabeth Falkner and she is quite striking and charming in person. I will write more later.

I'm really excited about my dinner date tomorrow night with Sean and Paul of Hedonia and Anita and Cam of Married With Dinner! (James will already be at the rehearsal dinner.) Luckily I don't mind being the fifth wheel. If they are anywhere near as cool as they seem from their blog posts and "tweets" I'm sure we'll all get along swimmingly!
Roasted Cauliflower with Peppers and Garlic at Delfina Pizzeria

Pizzeria Delfina
3611 18th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 437-6800
recommended dishes: salumi, tuna conserve salad, anything with the fresh ricotta (hear the mozzarella is good too) and any of their vegetable sides -esp. the cauliflower! (above) As for the pizza - the best I've tried is the quattro formaggio - the white clam and the spinach ricotta pies look good too though.

Bi-Rite Creamery
3692 18th St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 626-5600
don't miss the mint chip or salted caramel!

Tartine Bakery
600 Guerrero St
(between 18th St & 19th St)
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 487-2600
methinks breakfast pastries are the way to go here - there are better chocolate chip cookies elsewhere.


  1. Looks like a fabulous lunch. I agree, the starters seem wonderfully interesting.

    Have fun meeting more food bloggers. I've met those guys (although very briefly) but they were great.

  2. We can't wait to meet you, too! So glad you're having a grand time already. :D

  3. That lunch sounds AMAZING! Exactly the type of food I most love to eat. Exactly the type of place we are missing in San Diego.

  4. It's one of my favorite places in SF, too. Isn't Bi-Rite fabulous? I'd kill for a little ice cream shop like that here in SD. The salted caramel is definitely my favorite. I had the malted vanilla the last time I went and it wasn't quite as good as I'd hoped.

    I have the Tartine cookbook and I plan on using it frequently this summer!

  5. Kalyn - thanks, we had a great time, I will try to get the post up soon.

    Anita - I had so much fun with you guys, thanks for coming out and being such great hosts!

    Jora - It's so true. People would go crazy for it if somebody opened something like that here.

    Marie - I looved the malted vanilla, but the salted caramel is truly amazing! I will have to make that again sometime soon.

  6. I get to the city about once a year and I've never tried this place, after looking at your photos I'm putting it down on "my list." Thanks for sharing a great find.

  7. I've really enjoyed your blog and after reading of your adventures in my hood, I live two blocks from all the restaurants you went to on 18th St (Delfina is my takeout pizza joint)... I am going to YOUR hood, next weekend. Any suggestions for vegetarians eating with non-vegetarians. There seem to be a lot of possibilities around University. We are staying around Horton Plaza and will be without a car, so any help would be fabulous.

  8. I was in SF for a couple of days last week and went to Bi-rite. Their ice cream wasn't definitely worth the visit. Unfortunately I was too full after that and lunch so I only got to stare at the desserts at Tartine. Maybe next time. Thanks for the recommendation.