Part 1/10 in our San Francisco Series
There is a creativity in the San Francisco food scene that is unparalleled anywhere in the world. It stems from a long history food in a city that is equally, if not more well known for among other things its fog, its bridges, and its notorious penitentiaries. That history dates back to the second restaurant ever opened in North America, a sourdough bakery that has stood the test of 160 years, and one of the most recognized coffee brands in the world.
Past history aside, it is the food establishments of present that are making history in San Francisco today. Everywhere you turn in this city you find some new food invention, some cutting edge establishment, or in a lot of cases establishments that seem vaguely familiar, primarily because many of the restaurants found in Calgary, and throughout the world for that matter, are modeled after restaurants found in the Golden Gate City. Our 10 part series on San Francisco will examine some of the similarities, some of the differences, and some of the things I guarantee you haven’t seen yet, but will be more than likely find coming to Calgary in the next several years. We will take you from Maple Glazed Bacon Donuts, to Sour Dough Bakeries, to the best fast food burger you have ever had, to Sustainable Sushi that will quite possibly wreck sushi for you forever. We will talk about why restaurateurs hate food bloggers, we will point out some reckless Calgary food bloggers, and show you why simply having the means to publish doesn’t mean you should. Furthermore, we will show you where to find some great food, and we will start with Dynamo Donuts & Coffee, home of the Maple Glazed Bacon Apple Donut and Four Barrel Coffee.
Yes, your read correctly, and no you cannot find this in Calgary, at least not yet. The Maple Glazed Bacon Apple donut is a staple of the San Francisco food scene, and is a symbol of why foodies come to San Francisco. It is pure creativity in a pastry. Who would have thought to put maple glaze, apple, and real bacon on of all things, a donut? It took someone and something really special to come up with this concoction. The funny thing is, San Francisco breeds all kinds of food items like this.
Picture the lightest donut you have ever had, you know, the one that didn’t feel like it was sitting in the pit of your stomach for the rest of the day. If you can’t picture that because you have never had a donut that good, think croissant lightness and donut flavor straight out of the oven, covered with a flavorful but not super sweet maple glaze that is sweetened with apple instead of sugar, then drop the most smokey and flavorful bacon bits you have ever tasted on top, and that is the Maple Glazed Bacon Apple donut. Its almost like making a pancake and bacon breakfast into a finger food, only better. Pure genius. In fact it made food TV’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate’s bacon episode as Chris Cosentino’s favorite bacon food.
Chris Cosentino should know, as part of the Chef vs City duo he is the patriarch of all food San Francisco. What is really cool about Dynamo however, is that it is completely off the beaten trail. You might expect to find this kind of goodness near Fisherman’s Warf, or near Union Square, but you would spend the better part of your life looking there, only to come up empty handed. Instead you have to look in Mission, on a semi-questionable street (although not as seedy as another street we will tell you about in a later post), and in an unassuming location that barely looks as though a coffee shop belongs there at all. It was an interesting lesson, that would be reinforced again later, that some of the best food can be found in the oddest, and sometimes scary locations.
Seedy streets and less than trendy areas aside, Dynamo tops our list as the one place in San Fran that must be tried, and not just for the Maple Glazed Bacon Apple Donut, but for the hundreds of flavors, like spiced chocolate, that are like no other donuts you have had in your life. We can’t wait for the first Calgary copy cat to arrive!