With so many nooks and crannies to explore and more delis, coffee shops, restaurants and bars then you can count, North Beach is one of those neighborhoods where I could happily come for breakfast and stay for dinner. My goal had been to check out the City Lights Bookstore but once I was in the area I couldn’t stop myself from going down just one more alley and turning just one more corner.
North Beach is San Francisco’s Little Italy so of course it was only a matter of time before I gave in to the divine smells that kept wafting by and got myself a slice of pizza and then … well I had to get a scoop of gelato too because … you know … research for the blog.
For the pizza I went with Pizzelle di North Beach, mostly based on the fact it wasn’t that busy and I wasn’t in the mood to stand in line. I ordered my go-to slice of veggie. No hot sauce in sight so I had to make do with chili flakes. It was truly delicious – a very pleasant surprise. Pesto-based sauce vs. tomato which I usually would never choose and actually didn’t notice when I was ordering or I might have gone with something different. While I couldn’t really see into the kitchen so I don’t know if they have a traditional wood-burning pizza oven, it certainly tasted like it. The crust had that wonderful smoky flavor and athough I could happily have kept eating, the slice was a generous size and one was really all I needed (this time!).
More exploring led me to Caffè Trieste which is known for being, among other things, the site where much of The Godfather screenplay was written. The more I read about San Francisco the more I find myself stumbling across these historical gems when I’m out and about. This city has so many stories to tell.
After my unplanned pizza break I decided to turn this into a mini-foodie expedition and, in keeping with the Italian theme, go in search of gelato. A number of coffee shops and bakeries sell gelato but you need to keep your eye out because it’s not always obvious as you walk by. I went with a scoop of hazelnut from Mara’s Italian Pastry and, even though my expectations were now raised, it did not disappoint.
I happily wandered home in the rain and I swear the spoonfuls of gelato along the way made all those hills easier to walk up. I’ll have to try this again soon to see if my theory holds true.