A few weeks before Christmas I found myself with a free Saturday, so I decided to head out to San Francisco and get in the holiday spirit by checking out Union Square. I had a different destination in mind for my first stop though.
It was delightfully foggy that morning at the Ferry Building Farmers Market. I spent a while walking around looking at all the amazing produce I couldn’t buy because I didn’t want to carry it around all day.
But I wasn’t there just to ogle the fennel. I was there for donuts. Pepple’s Donuts has a kiosk in the Ferry Building that I wouldn’t have even noticed had I not known it was there!
Trying the blueberry donut was a given, as it’s always been one of my faves. I was stumped on what other flavor to try, so the girl working there suggested the candy cap flavor, which is actually made with mushrooms purchased from their Ferry Building neighbors, Far West Fungi. I don’t know exactly how it works, but candy cap mushrooms are sweet – I would describe the flavor as something between caramel and maple syrup.
The blueberry flavor had flecks of blueberry in the donut, which was nice, but the blueberry flavor wasn’t quite as strong as I had hoped. Regardless, it was delicious, as was the candy cap donut. After two of these bad boys, I had a MAJOR sugar rush! I headed out to Union Square to check out the holiday going-ons and do some window shopping.
Walking up to the giant Macy’s, I was looking forward to seeing their window displays, but I wasn’t sure what was going on in the window with a large crowd around it.
Kitties and puppies! It turns out Macy’s teamed up with the SFSPCA to promote animal adoption, and you could go inside the store to see more available animals.
The volunteer outside said that so many people wanted these little guys that they were collecting names for a lottery-style drawing.
After walking around the square and trying very hard to hold onto my money, I headed to my dinner destination, in the Westfield Mall food court.
It was really awesome to see an all vegan restaurant in a busy food court! They had some really nice looking hot dishes on their line, but I was in need of some serious fuel and decided on a sandwich.
This is The Queen Sandwich: marinated soy protein with house caramelized sauce, vegan mayo, cucumber, cilantro and lettuce. I also got some Thai Iced Tea, which I had never had before. It kind of tasted like chocolate milk. This was a good meal, but I think next time I’ll get an appetizer and a hot dish to see what Loving Hut is really all about.
A more recent Saturday started in Oakland. Dave woke me, needing a ride from the repair shop, and his penance was to accompany me to Oakland to try brunch from the Donut Farm, Pepple’s storefront in North Oakland.
In addition to a multitude of donut choices, Donut Farm offers a tofu scramble with seasonal veggies and/or pancakes. I really wanted to try some pancakes, but couldn’t justify getting both pancakes and a donut.
The scramble of the day had collards, eggplant, mushrooms, tomatoes, scallions and probably some other things I’m forgetting. The hash browns were a wacky orangey color, purportedly from cooking them in palm oil. The meal came with my choice of Dave’s Killer sourdough or wheat toast, with Donut Farm’s housemade “fake butter”. The scramble was good, and the hash browns were good, but the real show stealer here was the toast! This was my first time trying Dave’s Killer Bread, and it lives up to the name. If I could get this stuff anywhere near here, I’d be buying it constantly.
Of course, I got a donut too. (I’m feeling really spoiled all of the sudden…) This is the salted caramel flavor, a plain cake donut with caramel frosting and big flecks of salt. Incredible! You can definitely taste the salt, but it blends so nicely with the sweet frosting. The donut alone is not very sweet, so it really allows the frosting to stand out.
I was attending a birthday get together later that day, which seemed like a perfect excuse to gift a box of donuts.
Chili-mango, coffee, green tea matcha, salted caramel, coconut, and a candy cap underneath. The guy at Donut Farm commented that I was getting all the exotic flavors…why not?
After drinking some excellent rum drinks at Smuggler’s Cove, which is like Pirates of the Caribbean for grown ups (in a good way), we were ready for some dinner. Luckily, the birthday boy had done his homework, and new that Patxi’s was in the neighborhood.
Patxi’s (pronounced Patchy’s?) will gladly use Daiya mozzarella instead of cow’s cheese at no extra cost, and while I’m sure this cell phone picture doesn’t do it justice, please believe me when I tell you that the pizza was AWESOME. Our toppings were spinach, artichoke and olives. The pizza was hot, the cheese was melted but not messy, and the flavor was fantastic. I would highly recommend giving Patxi’s a try if you ever get the chance!