Exploring San Francisco Mission District With Avital Food Tours
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Due to the unavailability of tickets, instead of the 12 PM food tour, we went for 3 PM tour last Saturday. We were asked to assemble at The Women's Building, San Francisco where we met our amazing tour guide from Avital Tours - Ida. There were 10 people on our tour and we kick-started the tour after knowing each other. It was nice meeting people from different parts of the country and we were eager to explore this tour with new set of friends. The Women's Building from where the tour starts, is a beauty to look at. Our guide Ida shared some details about its history with us. The mural painted by seven women artists is titled MaestraPeace and covers the outside of the building. It is certainly a masterpiece!
Our guide then gave us a brief of how the tour is going to be. We were going to taste everything starting from appetizers to cocktails to entree to dessert and all of it from different restaurants. The first stop we made was Hog & Rocks, located at 19th street. It is considered one of the Bay Area's Top 100 Restaurants by the SF Chronicle and also San Francisco's first and only Ham & Oyster Bar. The ambience was great with some nice music and it felt like the perfect place to chill out with friends. We were greeted by the restaurant staff who then served us an appetizer and cocktail. I wasn't much of a ham and oyster eater, so I opted for vegetarian appetizer. My appetizer included flat bread, pickle, sauted roots and pimento cheese. Most of them opted for ham & oyster along with flat bread. It was rightly paired with cucumber and mint flavored cocktail. All of us relished the food and then bid goodbye to this restaurant heading on to the next.
The next stop is the favorite for all the taco lovers. This trendy Taco & Tequila Bar called Tacolicious/Mosto, situated on the Valencia street offers delicious tacos and over 350 different types of tequila. The moment we stepped in, the atmosphere was totally pumped up with music, people eating tacos, groups having fun, and enjoying drinks. We were escorted to the seats by our guide and were served with chips and different types of salsa. The salsa was super yummy and a delight to eat. In no time, came our tacos! We had chicken, pork and vegetable tacos on our table. I helped myself with veggie tacos and trust me, it was the best vegetable taco I ever had! It had sauteed potatoes, mushrooms, artichoke etc. as some ingredients and they added taste to the taco. After having our tacos, we all chatted for a while and departed to our next stop which was Chino.
Craving for some Asian food? You can surely find it in this innovative Asian restaurant - Chino. The decor of the restaurant was really cool with an impressive lighting set up. I had seaweed salad along with iced tea. Some tour members opted for dumplings along with chicken wings. As time went by, all of us were getting the actual feel of this food tour and were thoroughly enjoying it!
While we were walking from one restaurant to other, our guide Ida made sure to make us aware of different historic spots of San Francisco. We came across some stunning murals and buildings which we wouldn't have managed to see in this busy life. Be it the Vamos Gigantes mural or The Mission, it felt good learning about them.
Before we went to our last destination for dessert, we made a quick stop at Bi Rite Market, an iconic artisan grocery for fresh seasonal fruit tasting. The market was a small place but was crowded. The place was full of fresh flowers, fruits, vegetables, eatables, desserts etc. Basically, it has something to offer to everyone. We were served strawberry along with a small piece of cake to cleanse our palate before having dessert. We went around the market for sometime and purchased some fresh fruits to take back home. It was a fabulous experience at this market place which is quite popular in the neighbourhood.
Now comes the favorite part of any meal - dessert time! Our last stop was Craftsman & Wolves where we were served Strawberry, Lime & Elderflower Verrine. It was such an innovative dessert with distinct and delicious taste. Personally, I loved it so much that I wanted to have a bit more. But then I had sufficient food already and felt satiated.
Mission District Food Tour costs $76 + $18 alcohol upgrade and is totally worth it. However, I wish there was option to customize the food. Since I opted for vegetarian food, I couldn't taste non-vegetarian as the food options were already set. But then, I am glad I went on this tour and experienced it. The restaurants, the food, the streets of San Francisco, the people on our tour and our friendly tour guide Ida made it an enjoyable trip. Avital Tours also offers Haight Ashbury Food Tour and North Beach Food Tour in addition to Missin District Food Tour. You can visit their site here to check out more details.
All in all, this was a unique experience which was first of its kind for me. I am looking forward to plan more food tours in the coming time!