Visiting San Francisco
San Francisco; home of the Golden Gate Bridge, Painted Ladies, Lombard Street and famous cable car to name a few. An immensely huge city made up of unique neighbourhoods, each bringing its own style, character and identity. As a result of the mix of cultures and residents, you can sample cuisine from nearly every corner of the world in this city. Although it’s impossible to cover anywhere near all of the restaurants and street food in this vibrant city, showcased below are a couple of the restaurants visited on this short visit.
El Salvadorian cuisine was first on the list and a great option to satiate this urge was Panchitas Papusa Restaurant #2 in the Mission District. The main menu item, papusa is a corn based dumpling filled with cheese and a choice of fillings, and the restaurant provides a lot of options here. The menu is handwritten, the staff were friendly and happy to run through allergy concerns. Another restaurant visited focussed on asian fusion cuisine in the Inner Richmond District, named B Star. What was experienced was at both places was excellent service and an openness to discuss allergy requirements. To save a waisted trip, booking a table and inquiring about allergies in advance is good practice, though it is still always advisable to relay allergy concerns when reaching the restaurant.
Of all the restaurants visited, special mention is given to The Alembic in the Haight-Ashbury Neighbourhood, by the Golden Gate Park. This deserves acknowledgment due to the “Note about Nuts” on the front of the menu. Often times, reading a generic, “may contain traces of (insert allergen here)” feels at best discouraging or even a sign that it has lazily been placed to cover an organisation in case of an unfortunate event. However - this “Note about Nuts” at the Alembic explains the exact areas, outside of their control, that traces of nuts may be introduced. Interestingly was the mention of the drinks industry, where some practice the use of nuts to flavour spirits. This is something that is very rarely reported but deserves highlighting. So, while the Alembic could not guarantee the absence of nut traces, they have certainly gone to lengths to explain why this is the case to those travelling with a nut allergy.
The lay of the land
One of the first things you may notice in the city are the hills. Some so steep it’s almost impossible to see people crossing at the top, so driving is left to only the bravest visitors. Thankfully there is no shortage of ride sharing options available to shuttle you from neighbourhood to neighbourhood. Despite the somewhat vertical terrain, San Francisco provides some excellent running opportunities. Running along Crissy Fields to the Golden Gate Bridge, along the Embarcadero to Pier 21 or through the Golden Gate Park to Ocean Beach provide excellent ways to sightsee on foot, all the while avoiding clambering up the hillsides.
With an almost unlimited choice of food options and generally excellent service in the restaurant industry coupled with a country familiar to food allergies and the city attracting huge numbers of travellers, San Francisco seems to be one of the easier destinations when travelling with allergies.