Passport to Pleasure: Food Porn and Good Vibrations in San Francisco

by on September 12, 2011

Sure, there are many great restaurants in San Francisco—just as there are many San Francisco treats in the way of romantic and sexual things to do. So little time, and so much to do…so let me narrow things down for you with a suggested eating itinerary and few extras. Here are ideas for a memorable overnight in San Francisco, where we stamp this week’s Passport to Pleasure—a hedonistic quest for great food and good times for two, from nibbles to naughtiness.

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commonwealth uni 640 p497
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hotel intercontinental ext 640
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canteen eggs 640 p474
farm table 640 5094
il cane rosso 640 5517
elbow 640 5006
plum smelt 640 p686
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plum soup green garlic 640 p692
plum beet salad 640 p695
plum egg 640 p700
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burmese shrimp 640 5110
burmese soup 640 5114
san dong noodles 640 4983
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bund noodles 640 5691
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zy noodles 640 5587
zy peppers 640 5576
lers ros offal 640 5621
lers ros pork belly 640 5639
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bocadillos trotter 640 5604
bocadillos pickles 640 5612
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incanto cheeks 640 p464
incanto sardines 640 454
ciccia_squid_640_543
ciccia_tunaheart_640_556
roots 640 5555

If you're in early enough for breakfast, definitely stop at the fabulous Tartine Bakery. Good luck choosing between all the baked goods! Recommended: a morning bun and frangipane croissant.

Kung pao corned beef at Mission Chinese Food. Also great are the Xian lamb cheeks, Szechuan pickles, and salt & pepper shrimp.

Inside Mission Chinese Food. Quirky atmosphere, so-so service, and simply unique and delicious Chinese food.

Bi-Rite Creamery, where you can cool off after eating spicy food at Mission Chinese Food.

Salted caramel ice cream at Bi-Rite. Perhaps the top choice there.

Humphry Slocumbe is another good option for ice cream after Mission Chinese Food. Choices include Jesus juice sorbet (with red wine and Coke Classic), Blue Bottle Vietnamese coffee, and the extremely popular secret breakfast (with bourbon and Corn Flakes).

At Commonwealth: Radishes in various forms, goat's milk butter, mache, sunflower seeds.

Commonwealth's marinated mackerel, wheatberries, yogurt, radish, cucumber, miner's lettuce, sorrel.

Commonwealth: Asparagus custard, sea urchin, beech mushrooms, chorizo, jalapeno.

Commonwealth: Peanut butter semifreddo, chocolate ganache, frozen popcorn.

Mission Chinese Food on the left, and Commonwealth on the right. Same ownership, far different cuisine, and both outstanding.

Hello, Good Vibrations!

Inside Good Vibrations

Another look inside Good Vibrations

The InterContinental San Francisco Hotel

Inside the Intercontinental Hotel: Your room with a view.

Chupacabra at Canteen: Soft scramble with spicy pork, beans, avocado, and salsa.

farm:table's daily toast: Marscapone, pears, and honey on brioche.

Il Cane Rosso at the Ferry Building has a changing menu which makes for difficult choices. As everything's delicious (using local ingredients), you might try for a soup, salad, and sandwich to maximize your opportunity. Here: Rutabaga soup with chile oil; roasted asparagus with shaved fennel, radishes, peppercress, black olives, and feta cheese; and a slow-cooked pork sandwich with red onion salsa, shaved fennel, and cilantro salad.

Enjoy some of the best eating and drinking chocolates around at Christopher Elbow. The powdered chocolate is a take-home treat.

Plum is well worth the effort of the easy BART train ride to Oakland. Starter: Fried smelt with mortared peas, hazelnut, and meyer lemon.

Plum's oyster & potato stew with parsley, frisee, and espellete. This is a truly spectacular dish.

Wild nettle & green garlic soup with smoked potato and preserved lemon at Plum.

Plum's roasted beets with white strawberries, arugula rabe, goat cheese, and rose.

Another amazing dish at Plum: Smoked farm egg with butter beans, peas, mushrooms, and radishes.

Atole at Antojitos Salvadorenos Aminta. A few varieties are available, and the workers will likely let you sample to find what you most love.

Pupusa at Antojitos Salvadorenos Aminta.

Dynamo Donuts offers a wide variety of interesting flavors. The chocolate star anise has nice bite to it.

To go with that donut...how about some Blue Bottle coffee? Lots of locations in San Francisco, but you'll love this one on Linden.

Burmese Kitchen's prawn & sour leaf.

Burmese Kitchen serves reasonably priced dishes, including the hard-to-find (and not in Seattle) fermented tea leaf salad. And it might be more geographically convenient than Burma Superstar, which also often has a long wait. That said, Burma Superstar's salad is better (it comes unmixed), and the setting is nicer.

Spicy beef noodles soup at San Dong House BBQ, which serves up hand-pulled noodles.

San Dong House BBQ's xiao long bao. (These are okay, but my recollection is that they are better at Shanghai Dumpling King, which also has a delicious rice cake dish.

Dan dan noodles at Bund Shanghai. Spicy!

More xiao long bao, this time at Bund Shanghai. (Again, just so-so.)

A try at dan dan noodles at Z & Y.

Z & Y's tiger skin chile peppers.

Diverse menu of Thai food at Lers Ros includes boar, frog, quail, and smelt. Here: Basil leaves with chicken entrails (heart, liver, gizzard), along with a side dish of pork belly.

You wanted a closer look at that stir-fried pork belly with crispy rind and Chinese broccoli, right?

Another incredible Thai restaurant, serving food far from what's available in Seattle, is Chabaa Thai. Here, from the "secret" menu: Pork neck.

Chabaa Thai's pork larb with pork skin.

Bocadillos' pigs trotters with fresh herbs and chopped egg salad. The tapas menu has an "innard circle" section with some good organ meat action.

Some pickled vegetables are a perfect accompaniment to the trotters at Bocadillos.

The famous fried green beans at COCO500, a great treat for happy hour.

Incanto's pork cheeks, cippolini, and polenta. If you like Incanto's pork products, be sure to go to Boccalone in the Ferry Building to get a meat cone and perhaps some soft, spreadable salami.

As much as you might like pork, you should also try these whole local sardines with kombu, capers, garlic, and chilli at Incanto.

Roasted calamari at La Ciccia, a popular little neighborhood spot.

La Ciccia's linguine with tuna heart and ricotta salata.

Risotto at Roots restaurant in the Orchard Garden Hotel, a green, boutique hotel close to Union Square.

tartine_640 thumbnail
mission chinese kung pao 640 thumbnail
mission chinese int 640 thumbnail
bi-rite int 640 thumbnail
bi-rite ice cream 480wide vertical thumbnail
humphry sign 640 thumbnail
commonwealth_salad_640_p490 thumbnail
commonwealth_fish_salad_640_p492 thumbnail
commonwealth uni 640 p497 thumbnail
commonwealth_dessert1 640 p509 thumbnail
mission_ext_640 thumbnail
goodvibes ext 640v thumbnail
goodvibes int1 640 thumbnail
goodvibes int2 640 thumbnail
hotel intercontinental ext 640 thumbnail
hotel intercontinental int 640 thumbnail
canteen eggs 640 p474 thumbnail
farm table 640 5094 thumbnail
il cane rosso 640 5517 thumbnail
elbow 640 5006 thumbnail
plum smelt 640 p686 thumbnail
plum soup1 640 p689 thumbnail
plum soup green garlic 640 p692 thumbnail
plum beet salad 640 p695 thumbnail
plum egg 640 p700 thumbnail
antojitos_atole_640 thumbnail
antojitos_pupusa_640 thumbnail
dynamo_640 thumbnail
blue bottle 640 thumbnail
burmese shrimp 640 5110 thumbnail
burmese soup 640 5114 thumbnail
san dong noodles 640 4983 thumbnail
san dong xlb 640 4997 thumbnail
bund noodles 640 5691 thumbnail
bund xlb 640 5702 thumbnail
zy noodles 640 5587 thumbnail
zy peppers 640 5576 thumbnail
lers ros offal 640 5621 thumbnail
lers ros pork belly 640 5639 thumbnail
chabaa_porkneck_640_5072 thumbnail
chabaa_larb_640_5077 thumbnail
bocadillos trotter 640 5604 thumbnail
bocadillos pickles 640 5612 thumbnail
coco500_640_4932 thumbnail
incanto cheeks 640 p464 thumbnail
incanto sardines 640 454 thumbnail
ciccia_squid_640_543 thumbnail
ciccia_tunaheart_640_556 thumbnail
roots 640 5555 thumbnail

ON THE MENU: DAY 1

Breakfast: Tartine Bakery

Lunch: Mission Chinese Food

Ice Cream: Bi-Rite Creamery and/or Humphry Slocumbe

Dinner: Commonwealth

(See the gallery for photos and more information.)

I’M PICKIN UP GOOD VIBRATIONS

Day one has you down in the Mission District, which gives you the whole afternoon to go to the main Good Vibrations store.

Good Vibrations is a sex toy business with four retail stores in the San Francisco Bay Area (there’s also one in Brookline, MA), as well as a strong online presence. Founded in 1977 by sex therapist and educator Joani Blank, it has a proud history of being a sex-positive, female-friendly enterprise. You’ll enjoy the tasteful displays, warm atmosphere, helpful staff, and maybe a display of antique vibrators. (What more would you expect from the creators of National Masturbation Month?)

You’ll find whatever you can dream of and more at Good Vibrations. If you’re looking for something to read, there are sex books and erotica. If it’s videos you’re after, there’s a diverse collection—including educational films and feature flicks from Good Vibrations’ own “Good Releasing” division. Need supplies? There are condoms, gloves, and lubricants. And you can spend endless time exploring the toys, from Silver Bullet vibrators to Stella glass dildos, and from penis pumps and prostate stimulators. Plan to stay and play awhile.

INSIDE (AND OUTSIDE) THE INTERCONTINENTAL

You’re spending the night in the SoMa (South of Market) neighborhood at the InterContinental San Francisco Hotel. You can’t miss the place, as it’s a towering splendor (32 stories) in translucent cool-blue. The hotel is the third largest building in the country that is a LEED Gold Recipient.

Rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows that show off spectacular city and water views. They have a contemporary feel, with wood and marble finishes, stylish furniture, and high-tech amenities.

Inside the hotel is a ten-room spa for all your pampering needs, as well as Michelin-starred Luce restaurant. Outside, you’re close to the Moscone Convention Center, the Westfield San Francisco Centre shopping mall, and Union Square. Best of all, the Good Vibrations store on Mission Street is just steps away!

ON THE MENU: DAY 2

Breakfast: Canteen or farm:table

Lunch: Il Cane Rosso

Chocolate break: Christopher Elbow

Dinner: Plum

(See the gallery for photos and more information.)

EXTRAS

(See the gallery for photos and more information.)

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