Sugar being a highly addictive substance on par with hard drugs, and me being a recovering hypoglycemic and all, I try to sidestep the stuff as much as possible, allowing myself a modest ration each day, generally in the form of a dark chocolate bar or some intravenous simple syrup. But when traveling to San Francisco, with but a short window of time in which to eat as much of the city's dessert-ish delights as possible, I tend to go a bit crazy. Here's where you'll find me, patronizing the city's finest purveyors sugar, spice and everything nice.
Step inside this exceptional little Market Street shop for a magazine (they carry over 700 different ones), and you'll also find a mind-blowing chocolate stash--literally hundreds & hundreds of imported and domestic bars, truffles & bon bons. Obviously, you should get the Xocolatl de David bars.
The boggling array of delectable foods neatly packed into this tiny Mission market almost seems physically impossible. You'll find everything from fresh chops to candied orange rind, and all the necessary picnic fixings for an afternoon in Dolores Park. Love the local chocolate selection!
It's a rare bakery that's so good, you feel nothing but gratitude after upwards of a half hour in line. My musts are the chocolate croissant, quiche, lemon tartlet, chocolate eclair and fromage blanc Bavarian.
Years ago, during a girls' trip to SF, my British friend fell so hard for this chocolatier's legendary fleur de sel caramels that she used to make me mail boxes of them to London. Which I gladly did, because I completely understood--they are unforgettable. And while you're here gathering caramels for your favorite Brit, might as well get a ginger heart, rose caramel, Force Noir truffle, peanut butter puck, & sesame nougat for yourself.
Stop into this beloved chocolatier's small Dogpatch retail space for samples, great chocolate-related conversation, and a hazelnut bar for the road.
This tiny, magnificent sweet shop lures you in with beautiful displays and a jaw-dropping wall of glass jars filled with every candy you could ever want (& so many more). Love the meticulously curated chocolate selection & retro candies too.
Fun waterfront location along the Embarcadero? Yes. Loads of chocolate samples and little to no oversight of those who go back twice? Yes. Free factory tours? Yes, daily at 10:30am & 2pm. Can't help but love this hard-to-pronounce chocolate maker. (psst: the t is silent, so it's pronounced 'cho' as in cho-colate.)
Sure I believe in fate, especially times like the morning when I was driving through the jam-packed Mission District and there was one lone parking spot for miles...right in front of Dynamo. Coincidence? No way. All their doughnuts are great, but I've got a soft spot for the passion fruit glazed with milk chocolate bits.
Just the exterior's hand-painted fantasy cone alone will put you in a good mood, so you'll be downright ecstatic by the time you've tasted your way through this Dogpatch ice cream shop's inventive menu. Try the Birthday Cake & Candied Violet, and the homemade malt balls!
This handsome Mission bakery is nothing short of spectacular, with row after row of tempting sweet & savory financiers, gougeres, cakes, & eclairs. But what I cannot stop thinking about is the out of this world "sipping caramel" with a crispy croissant chip. They also do afternoon tea weekdays from 1-4pm.
Brave the lines at this buzzy Mission deli and you shall have your reward...in the form of thick hand-sliced pastrami sandwiches, chocolate egg creams, and perhaps my favorite swirled thing ever--the rich chocolate-veined babka.
This amazing artisan chocolate shop in the Mission is famous for their hot chocolates but for something out of the ordinary, try the delicious cacao pulp smoothie. And don't leave without the three-bar sampler pack, it's a deal.
Chocolatier Michael Recchiuti's cacao-centric Dogpatch cafe's menu might leave you faint, what with its list of desserts like the signature devil's food cake layered with bittersweet ganache, topped with cacao nib-infused cream & caramelized nibs, and sitting in a pool of coffee creme anglaise. Yes, WOW.
Sleek & chic, this elegant bakery is pastry chef Belinda Leong's showroom. Try the signature kouign amann, a flaky croissant, or one of the glamorous desserts.