San Francisco is an all-around awesome city. I’m so grateful to have good friends here I can visit on a whim. I still ponder moving here myself.
On a short, 3 day trip during the workweek, I stayed with Becca and Damon in Bernal Heights. We walked, we talked, we played with cats and watched videos. And of course we ate. Today, upon arriving in San Francisco, Damon and I walked to a neighborhood favorite of theirs, the Liberty Cafe.
I’d been here once before, briefly, to pick up pastries and quiche. It’s an adorable spot with all the ambiance and accoutrements of a little cafe. It bakes bread and pastries, making everything smell incredible, it has bright indoor seating, or an outdoor courtyard, tucked away from the street noise. The food is a few dollars more, and it’s worth it.
Damon’s vegetarian, and I don’t have the biggest stomach real estate, so we shared our food, all vegetarian.
First, we shared a burrata and beet salad. While it was good, it was my least favorite item we ordered. I was hoping for more greens and beets, but the bulk of the meal was a bowl of gooey burrata. Which is good, no doubt, but there were barely any beets in the meal, and overall it was more about cheese and bread than salad. Plus, it was nearly $10.
Our final item, and the one I loved the most was a perfect mushroom and leek pizza, about $16. Everything about it was perfect. The crust was crisp and chewy, and just the right thickness for my mood. The leeks was soft and buttery, and the mushrooms were not too cooked and now too raw. Just right! I wish I could have eaten more of this.
Afterwards, we took a walk up Bernal Hill to admire the San Francisco skyline and take in some of the unexpected gorgeous sunny weather.
Liberty Cafe – Bernal Heights neighborhood
This meal was one where I had to stake my reputation on it, and it made me quite nervous. I contacted the chef and the owner beforehand to make sure things would be alright. And it was! The only thing glitch was that I didn’t bring my good camera. But that wasn’t the point. The point was to have a good dinner with some good business partners and I intentionally left the good camera at home.
Still, the guys knew I normally took photos and let me grab some snaps of the appetizers. By the time the mains came out, the good light was gone, so there’s none of that.
First, though, I have give Big Ups to Square One for putting a SWING in at the front desk. How cool is that. Between that, the wagon for carrying the market produce, and the bowl of snacks out front, they’ve got a little microcosm of coolness going on. Love the swing.
Anyway, apps. We had a beet salad with Humbolt Fog cheese. Normally the cheese is crumbled throughout the salad, but one of the diners was lactose intolerant, so the kitchen put the cheese on the side. The other appetizer was beer battered shishito peppers. I was surprised and happy to see shishitos on the menu, it seemed like only last year that hardly anyone outside of Japanese food enthusiasts had even heard of shishitos. The only place I could get them was in asian markets in LA or my mother’s garden. Now, available for munching at Square One.
The appetizer of the night was the foie gras torchon with quince confit and little toasts. One of my guests admitted to not knowing what foie gras was and I was the lucky gal that got to introduce this wonderful smooth pate to him. Yum!
We dined on pork chops, sweet potato gnocchi and lamb, braised short ribs and fish, then piles of butterscotch beignet and some of the most amazing sorbets I’ve ever had. No photos of those, however. But it was a great meal. I’m so glad it worked out.
The Contemporary Arts Forum hosted a project put on by artists of varied media, including culinary. On this night, a sheet of paper was laid on a table and dozen of edible beet marshmallows were served from it. The remaining paper became wall art later.
People were skeptical of the marshmallows, since we normally associate them to be sweet, and these were savory. But not strongly flavored. They were moist and spongy and left a red mark on the paper.
This site shows the resulting design on the paper.
Contemporary Arts Forum