San Francisco's Mission District is home to the Misión San Francisco de Asís (also known as Mission Delores), the oldest intact building in the city. It was founded in 1776 and named for St. Francis of Assisi.
Today, the Mission is home to a mix of the city's Mexican and Central American citizens as well as young professionals, artists, college students, activists and some really good food. Learn more about the Mission area in this guide from the San Francisco Chronicle's SFGate.
I only had one afternoon to spend exploring here but will definitely make more time next trip. I stood in line for a rich and savory ham, cheese and tomato open-faced "tartine" from Tartine Bakery for lunch. It was so huge, I could only eat half. (I had to save room for Bi-Rite Creamery's ice cream.) The place was packed and there was a line, so I didn't sample any of their sweet treats. But I look forward to trying some recipes from their cookbook soon.
Next, I explored the little jewel box of a neighborhood grocery store, Bi-Rite Market. Despite it's teeny, tiny size, I was awed by the amount of merchandise and the incredibly well-curated choices on their shelves. They even grow some of their own beautiful produce.
Bi-Rite's chocolate section alone blew my socks off. Another shopper saw me contemplating TCHO chocolate bars and enthusiastically recommended them. I came home with two of their bars for my husband, the resident chocolate fiend, to try, and I have to confess, we are BOTH enjoying them.
TCHO's factory is located in San Francisco on Pier 17 between the Wharf and the Ferry Building. TCHO is run by a former Space Shuttle technologist and a chocolate industry vet who have set up their own chocolate factory in SF. They use descriptors like "Chocolatey," "Nutty," "Fruity," and "Citrusy" to label their chocolate bars. You can learn more about them and order their chocolate bars, candies and drinking chocolate from their web site.
Misión Francisco de Asis
3321 16th Street, San Francisco
Tartine Bakery & Cafe
600 Guerrero, San Francisco
3639 18th Street, San Francisco
You can also read my separate post about Bi-Rite Creamery's ice cream shop, also located in the Mission.