The North Beach Food Tour by Local Taste of the City Tours is a three-hour tour led by the lovely Blandina. The day I went, rain showers were in the forecast, so she was decked out in her rain gear. She said that for her, wearing a rain coat brings sunny days, and sure enough, the rain stopped and the sun began to shine before the tour began.
We stopped at several delicious places on our food tour. The first was:
Café Roma, where I got some of the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had. It was so rich and dark! The café roasts their own coffee as well as the coffee for other neighborhood shops. They have a huge coffee machine up front and different kinds of beans from all over the world. The coffee machine is pretty techie—the owner punches in the percentage of each type of coffee bean he wants to use, and the machine does everything on its own. Of course, he has to wait a whole day for it to roast.
Mulinari Deli was a shop after my Lola’s heart. My grandma and I are salami and cheese lovers, so we filled our shopping bags here! We also tried a really yummy sandwich with salami and pesto.
Viva was one of my favorites. I tried a meatball sandwich that was really tasty.
Stella was awesome. If you go, try the ricotta cheese and the chocolate chips!
Zcioccolato is a child’s dream come true. You can’t really beat a candy store, unless it’s a candy store that also sells fudge. Who doesn’t love fudge?
Cornology isn’t an official stop, but who can pass up popcorn? We sampled some, and the one I liked best was the Chicago mix, a blend of cheddar and sweet flavors. The popcorn bags are 99 cents off after you take the tour, lucky us!
What I loved about this tour was that it not only introduced us to food, but also gave us a tour from a local’s perspective. We were lucky enough to be able to experience not only the area’s food, but also local businesses and buildings! Blandina has lived in San Francisco since the 1970’s, so she know the place and the people really well. She added some extra stops to our tour: a seamstress shop that designs retro clothes for the rich and famous, a barber shop where the walls are made of books, and St. Peter and Paul church, where we met a cool priest who showed us around. It was nice to get to see some of the other sights! Our guide also told us some of the city’s history, like the Santa Con that was held in SF one year. She talked about Lilly Hitchcock’s love of firemen, which inspired the Coit Tower’s firehose design and its dedication to the city’s fire department. She showed us a cool store related to the burning man, and we got to look around and see some of their unique wares. We went past an artsy iron gate with a decorative face in the middle. She told us to rub the head for good luck. No harm in trying, right? I’m hoping for at least seven years of good luck.
The whole tour gave us a great perspective of the North Beach community. It was a great tour, and definitely worth the visit. For $59 you will get a taste of all those delectable and mouthwatering treats mentioned above. How can you go wrong with that?