If you've never been to San Francisco you need to know our Summer starts NOW. Yes, in September. Not only is it pretty and warm and sunny but Summer produce--tomatoes, corn, pepper, and peaches are all ripe and delicious at the moment. It's easy to roll your eyes at our "sustainable, local, organic" mantra, but while you're here, be sure to try some of these bites of Summer.
Around this time of year just about everyone makes a tomato salad, but one that sticks out in my mind as particularly fabulous, is the Heirloom Tomato Salad with mozzarella di bufala, olio verde, basil and olive oil croutons at Scala's Bistro, which is attached to the Sir Francis Drake Hotel at Union Square. It's the variety of tomatoes which are the star of the show, but they share the stage with the milkiest, creamy and moist mozzarella. An interesting addition too is the olive oil croutons which obviously add crunch and body to the salad.
Hapa Ramen isn't exactly like any ramen I have had before. The Slow Cooked Ramen with seasonal vegetables is the one to seek out. The broth is layered with richness and the bits of pork make it a meal. The broth is a little bit sweet and a little bit salty. But it's the fresh and super sweet crunch of corn that really makes this ramen something special. You can find it at the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market on Thursdays or at Off the Grid on Fridays.
I don't know exactly when shishito peppers started showing up at farmer's markets but I think I first saw them about 2 or 3 years ago. I had tried them in Japan and was thrilled to see them not just in markets, but on restaurant menus as well. They are typically quickly fried then sprinkled with salt. But at Hog & Rocks in the Mission District they go one step further and add a squeeze of lime. The result is bright and lively, the perfect bar snack. Mostly these peppers are mild and sweet with an earthy green flavor, but every once in a while you will get a spicy one!
My last Summer pick is the sorbet from Scream Sorbet. These surprisingly creamy, dairy-free sorbets made from Summer fruit are an intense blast of flavor. Despite not having a retail location yet, they made 7x7's recent The Big Sweet SF: 50 Treats to eat before you die. Fortunately you can find the sorbet at many farmer's markets around the Bay Area including the San Francisco Ferry Plaza on Thursdays. Try the seasonal fruit flavors like Flavorosa pluot, peach, raspberry and August Fire nectarine. They are not sickly sweet but tangy and juicy in a way that "screams" Summer. And what could be better than that?
432 Powell Street
Hog & Rocks
3431 19th Street
Ferry Plaza Farmers Market
1 Ferry Building
Off the Grid
Fort Mason Center