Back in the 1960s, San Francisco made it onto the television screens of nearly every home in America, accompanied by strains of “Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco Treat.” While the ad campaign was a huge success, putting Rice-a-Roni on the map, it also did a huge disservice to San Francisco’s image as a gastronomic capital. Indeed, San Francisco has some of the most enticing foods and confections in North America, if not the world. It’s worth taking a trip there just to sample all the different cuisines that are on offer.
Let’s start with chocolate. San Francisco is home to Ghirardelli, which has been making luxury chocolate products for more than 160 years. It was founded by Domingo Ghirardelli all the way back in 1852, who set up the company during the California Gold Rush. His genius lay in the realization that miners coming back from the gold fields were starved of luxury goods, and so he started to sell high-end chocolates to fill the need. So, if you are in San Francisco, why not drop in to the Original Ghirardelli Chocolate Manufactory in Ghirardelli Square and pick up a taste of heaven?
For completely authentic Chinese fare, head up to San Francisco’s Chinatown, the largest and oldest Chinatown in the United States – in fact it has the largest Chinese community outside of Asia. Established in 1848, it continues to maintain its own unique identity, languages and customs, immersing the visitor in a world filled with herbal shops, pagodas, and dragon parades. To sample what Chinatown has on offer, drop in to one of the many excellent restaurants and try some of the best dim sum you have ever tasted. Places to visit include You’s Dim Sum, the Good Mong Kok Bakery, and the Gold Mountain Restaurant. Once you do, you will want to come back time and time again.
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay in San Francisco while you are on your culinary tour, the downtown area is home to all of the major upscale hotel chains. However, for a unique experience, it is often better to find a boutique hotel that lets you experience the atmosphere that makes San Francisco what it is. Another idea to consider is staying in Nob Hill, a prestigious neighborhood located in the city center. For instance, Powell Place at Nob Hill is only half a block away from San Francisco’s famous cable car tracks, and Chinatown lies just beyond. You can find out more about Powell Place by checking out Royal Holiday videos on YouTube.
Finally, if you are looking for a truly different experience, head up to San Francisco’s Little Italy, located in North Beach, and look up the Stinking Rose. This is the original location of the well-known restaurant, which is dedicated to perfecting the culinary masterpiece that is garlic. In fact, the restaurant gets through no less than 3000 pounds of the herb every month. The restaurant also features garlic-themed dining rooms, as well as the world’s largest garlic braid, which weaves its pungent way through the establishment.