I am now forever a Texas girl (Texas forever!), but San Francisco has always had a special place in my heart. I grew up right outside the city, so I’d often drive in with my parents just to run the Golden Gate Bridge or Bart in with friends to do some shopping. It’s definitely a special kind of place. You get all the glory of living in a big city without the claustrophobia; no matter where you are, you’re always just a short walk away from the Bay or a short drive from redwood forests and golden hills.
Last week, two brave friends of mine agreed to join me on a crazy adventure. 3 friends. 8 hours. 6 stops. And lots and lots and lots of walking through the beautiful streets of this crazy place, just to be able to share my favorites with you.
The city is an absolute mecca for healthy food. They’re definitely up on their “local farmers, no preservatives, naturally sourced” game. There is no shortage of amazing places to grab some healthy eats, but a few of the best:
Mariposa Baking Company
Mariposa is located inside the beautiful Ferry Building Marketplace, which is often called a “food purveyor’s paradise.” The building was opened in 1898 as a train station into the city, and you can just feel the history and richness of the place. It now serves to honor artisan food by housing tons of local farmers and food businesses, and just walking around the building and scouring all the little shops can be an adventure of itself.
Mariposa is a favorite of mine because it’s an entirely gluten free bakery owned and operated by a local family. They have everything from chicken pot pies to hot dog buns to pizza crusts to avocado toast (who doesn’t these days), but of course their sweets are a special treat. The coconut lemon squares are to die for, and this chocolate cookie was a decadent brownie in cookie form. You really can’t go wrong at Mariposa, and if you’re strictly gluten free, this place is a special little spot.
Location: 1 Ferry Building Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94111 – Suite 32
Ferry Plaza Farmers Market
The Ferry Building itself is packed with tons of permanent shops, but right out front, on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings you’ll get a dream-worthy farmers market. The whole square in front of the building is packed with pop-up tents and overflowing with fresh fruits and veggies galore.
The Bay, with its perfect weather and rich soil, is just bursting with farmland and you can find evidence of that in any farmers market of the area. Nothing beats fresh, and it doesn’t get fresher than here.
My favorite: the cute little lady selling make-your-own-bouquet wildflowers.
Location: also 1 Ferry Building Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94111
Jane has a sweet and salty kind of vibe. The menu offers the tried and true classics along with some off beat creative choices. And most importantly, they serve breakfast all day. Granolas, chia puddings, toasts (lots of toasts), eggs, quiches, quinoa, smoothies, even a breakfast salad. Alll the breakfast. All day long. Need I say more?
We ordered 2 things: the raw sprouted black rice porridge and the infamous avocado mash on gluten free seeded bread. Both were absolutely, insanely good. The black rice porridge was served with almond and coconut milk, chia seeds, coconut, granola, and fresh sliced kiwi and it was even better than I imagined it would be. Mildly sweet and perfectly filling. And the avocado mash wasn’t just any avocado toast- it was topped with pickled shallot and jalapeño for an extra kick. The gluten free nut and seed bread was dense and flavorful and nutritious. Gosh it was all just so good. Definitely get yourself to one of the Jane’s.
Locations: 2123 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115 -OR- 925 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109
Nourish Cafe is a sweet little spot in the Hyde district. Right across the street from the SF Trader Joe’s, its humble storefront hides the organic goodness waiting inside.
The menu is loaded with salads, soups, sandwiches, wraps, drinks and coffees. We had just filled up at Jane so we didn’t order much but their menu is for sure worth a meal. They also have a fridge packed with of some handy to-go fuel and a great little case full of gluten free, real-ingredient sweets and treats.
The sign out front said the Blue Matcha would change our lives so we of course had to give it a try. It most definitely didn’t cause any crazy epiphanies or life transformations, but it sure was beautiful. And the Super Seed Cookie was the perfect example of why I love spots like this. Made with almond flour, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, quinoa, maple syrup coconut oil, ginger, cinnamon, and sea salt. Real food ingredients you can enjoy with peace knowing you’re nourishing your hungry body. Heck to the yes.
Locations: 189 6th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94118 -OR- 1030 Hyde St, San Francisco, CA 94109
Seed + Salt
I refuse to pick a favorite, but if you held a gun to my head and told me I had to, Seed + Salt would probably be the name I’d mercilessly utter. Everything from the menu to the decor to the vibes- it’s all fresh and clean and bright. This was the spot we lingered at the longest just because the energy was so great.
We ordered the 50/50 Wonderbowl with organic mixed greens, whole grain brown rice, roasted yams, pickled cabbage, jicama, fresh avocado, black beans, green peas, sesame seeds and a bomb housemade cashew dill dressing. I want so badly to get that dressing recipe because man oh man it was so good. A bowl packed with nothing but nutrients, and after a few spots of snacks, it sure felt good to get some serious veggies in my system. If you’re anywhere near the Presidio, Seed + Salt is a definite must!
Location: 2240 Chestnut St, San Francisco, CA 94123
Roam Artisan Burgers
We ended the day with Roam and I’m so so glad we did because they sure know how to make a quality burger. It’s easy to associate burgers as crap food but they reminds us that with quality meats and fresh ingredients, they can be far from it. Roam’s goodness starts with their sources. All their meats are from humanely-raised pasture-grazed animals and all of their ingredients are sourced from local farmers. They offer 4 patty options: 100% grass-fed beef, free-range turkey, all-natural bison or a house-made organic veggie. Their additional seasonal option while we were there was a wild boar. For each meat, they list the name of the actual farm it was supplied by on that particular day; it really doesn’t get more transparent than that! They offer a few different bun options and for my fellow gluten-freebies, they have both a gluten free bun and a lettuce wrap.
I went with the lettuce wrapped seasonal Summertime option: grass-fed beef, heirloom tomato, balsamic glaze, herb ricotta, parmesan and extra arugula. With a side of sweet potato fries, of course. I don’t often eat dark meet and I definitely don’t often nom on a burger, but my gosh this was straight fire. You can truly taste the freshness. And I’m sure that had the hubs been with me, this would have been his favorite. For all you meat-lovers out there, both health conscious and not, Roam will be a hit.
Location: 1923 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115 -OR- 1785 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94123
There are honestly so many other places that could make this list. A few of my other faves:
- Dosa on Fillmore – fresh South Indian cuisine for a fancy sit down
- Pressed Juicery obviously – the healthiest, tastiest, most wonderful frozen treat everrrr
- Mixt – a great spot for a quick salad
- Bowl’d Acai – because when you’re in California, an acai bowl isn’t an option
If you’re heading to the Bay, you’re in for a treat. I hope you love this glorious city and I hope a few of these spots help you soak up all its healthy glory.
And thanks, J & V, for joining me on this crazy adventure. You always make me smile.
xoxo, Mollie Mason
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