Baker’s Hours

May 29, 2009

San Francisco Foodie Tour: Chinatown Photo Walk

After making a quick stop at the Tartine Bakery, I met up with my Fairy Blog Mother, Lorelle and her friend Roseann for dinner. Yeah-Yeah, I know, Dessert before Dinner and all that Jazz, but I was trying to be efficient. Roseann happened to live on the same street at Tartine, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone. It wasn’t a far walk from Tartine to Roseann’s house (although I have to admit, the hills of San Francisco don’t make it easy). I met up with Lorelle and Roseann, and we headed over to a nearby Indian restaurant (More on that later). During dinner, Lorelle and I made plans to meet Thursday morning for a photo walk around San Francisco’s historic Chinatown.

wokshopWe met up at the Chinatown gate on Grant avenue at 10:00 am the next morning to begin our photo walk/shopping trip. After making a quick stop in a few interesting novelty stores, Lorelle and I made out first real shopping expedition in one of my favorite Chinatown stores, the Wok Shop. Lorelle went nuts. She loved it, and between the two of us, we spent over $80, which is actually a lot of stuff considering that one of the most expensive items we bought was a $12 cleaver. You can buy a Wok at the Wok Shop for less than $20. It is by far the cheapest cookery store where they sell quality equipment that I have ever found. Also, they will always throw a little something extra into your bag. Cooking chopsticks, maybe a pairing knife, of a knife guard. Pretty much whatever is close at hand. I’ve been buying equipment from there since I was in Culinary school. I bought my first cleaver there for $14 almost 10 years ago, and I still use it today. If you are in San Francisco, and love to cook, then make sure that you check out this place. One tip, if you are vacationing in San Francisco, there is no need for you to worry about packing your stuff into your luggage. Especially now when Airlines are charging you to check in a bag. The Wok shop will gladly ship your purchases anywhere you want.

Our next stop was The Eastern Bakery next door. There are dozens of Bakeries in Chinatown specializing in Pastries, Wedding Cakes, as well as traditional Chinese goodies like Gau, Almond cakes, and Mooncakes. Not wanting to fill up on carriables so early in the day, I decided to get a Croissant for breakfast. From there, Lorelle and I wondered in and out of random shops. The only other things I really wanted to see was the Imperial Tea Court, and to find some dried shrimp, and scallops (two popular snacks in my family).

It had been years since I had been to San Francisco, so I wasn’t quite sure where the Imperial Tea Court was, but the land marks looked familiar, so I was fairly certain that we were heading in the right direction. I wasn’t too worried about it. Chinatown is made up of mostly Grant avenue, Stockton Street, and Powell Street, so I wasn’t too worried about finding it. We wondered Grant and Stockton checking out the various markets looking for the best price for dried shrimp and scallops, occasionally stopping for photos, or to admire some of the beautiful produce.

teaI continued to follow what familiar landmarks I could fine and eventually found the Imperial Tea Court near the corner of Powell street and Broadway. Unfortunately, we got there only to discover that it was closed, and from the looks of the building, it had closed a while ago. However, thanks to the help from a nearby shop owner, we found out that the Tea Court had not closed, but moved into the newly renovated Ferry building at Pier One. Still, Lorelle and I wanted tea, and as luck would have it, we happened upon the Natural Tea Shop near the corner of Pacific avenue and Stockton street where we were able to sit down for a free tea tasting. We sat there for almost an hour sampling Jasmine, Oolong, Herbal, Blended and Flower teas. A few of our favorites were a Rosemary-Ginger tea (The Ginger and Rosemary are grown next to each other to transfer aromas), Herbal Ginseng (Tea leaves rolled with Ginseng powder before drying), and a blended mix of dried Chrysanthemum, Roses and Lavender flowers (I ended up buying some of this one).

All in all, Lorelle and I had a great time on our photo walk of Chinatown. We got to see and eat some great foods, while finding some interesting shots. in the oldest Chinatown in the country. You can see more of my Chinatown pictures below, or feel free to browse all of the pictures I took while in San Francisco on my Flickr account.

Song stuck in my head at the time of this post: The Full House Theme Song

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1 Comment »

  1. Wow sure does bring back memories, tea tasting looks, wonderful, don’t think they do that in Chinatown in Hawaii.

    Comment by Bruce — May 29, 2009 @ 3:26 pm


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