(Last) Morning in the Castro and the Mission

After a long day of beer and coffee and driving, neither of us were really up for a big dinner, much less going far out of our way for dinner. Ed gave us a few recommendations in his neighborhood, and we ended up just walking down 24th and checking out menus until we found something that looked good. Maybe we should’ve walked further, but on a blustery night, gnocchi with five hour braised wild boar sounded comforting. We shared the gnocchi and a zucchini salad with truffle oil and black olive crostini at Lupa Trattoria – nothing too fancy, just simple Italian bistro fare that warmed our insides. A short walk back to Ed’s and we were out, cuddled up under a fluffy duvet.

With one full day left in SF, we had a lot to do! Or a lot of nothing to do – a whole day with no agenda except wherever our feet and stomachs would take us. Ed lives in the Noe Valley, a cute neighborhood not unlike Del Ray – full of cute restaurants and shops populated by young families with dogs. We stopped for cappuccinos at La Boulange de Noe, where we also tried our first canelé, a French custard pastry baked in a mold so that the outside is golden but the inside is a little runny.  We were underwhelmed by the canelé but not by the giant jar of Nutella on the condiment bar. Boulange de Noe, please forgive us for being gauche, but that spoonful of Nutella was too good not to share.


Full of sweets, we walked down 24th into the Castro, then spent the rest of the morning wandering around. After an hour or so of walking and talking, it was time for our second cup of coffee of the day – this time at Ritual. Comet often has coffees from Ritual, so while the beans didn’t have the same draw as those at Four Barrel or Blue Bottle, we were still looking forward to trying them. We killed some time with a double rainbow macchiato (me), a cappuccino (Shane), and our books. Ritual isn’t as intense as Four Barrel or as aesthetically pleasing as Blue Bottle, but they did make a damn good cup of coffee.

Counter at Ritual Roasters | San Francisco
Photo by ldandersen

One of the day’s top priorities was a stop at Treats, frequent source of parts for Shane’s myriad mopeds. Treats HQ isn’t really set up as a storefront, but the guys let us in and Shane perused the wares, coming out with a set of handlebars and a few other things. No Treats, though.

After a bit more wandering around, we were starting to get hungry and tired, so we made our way to Monk’s Kettle for lunch.

Taps at Monk's Kettle
Photo by Premshree Pillai

Monk’s Kettle has a seriously impressive beer list – but alas, I wasn’t really in the mood. I know, I know. Who goes to a fantastic beer bar and doesn’t get a beer? Me, apparently. Regardless, they have five page beer list with a wide range of all kinds of excellent things, and Shane was pleased with his pint and his cup of soup. I had a great cup of vegan chili, though my experience was soured a bit by the non-stop new media sales pitch going on at the next table. I suppose this is one of those irritating SF things that you don’t realize is going to drive you crazy until it’s everywhere. I’m not prone to violence, but I was tempted to punch the guy in the mouth. Good thing we were just having a quick lunch instead of several rounds of drinks or I seriously might have.

If you go:
Lupa Trattoria
4109 24th St (between Castro & Diamond)
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 282-5872

Nothing really exceptional, but a nice place for a simple but hearty Italian dinner if you’re in the area. We split the gnocchi and the insalate di zucchine – plenty for the two of us. Two entrees would’ve been too much

Boulange de Noe
3898 24th St (24th & Sanchez)
San Francisco, California 94114
(415) 821-1050

Bay area bakery chain – Kiya raved about their bread, and we enjoyed our cappuccinos here and espressos at the Hayes Valley location.

Ritual Coffee Roasters
1026 Valencia St (between 21st & Hill)
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 641-1011

The folks behind Ritual were previously affiliated with Four Barrel, so you can expect a similar caliber of coffee, though the space is less intimidating and you might be able to plug in your laptop.

440 Treat Ave Ste 103 (between 17th & 18th)
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 255-8957

Not really set up as a retail location, but your go-to spot for assorted moped parts in SF.

Monk’s Kettle
3141 16th St (between Albion & Valencia)
San Francisco, CA 94103-3334
(415) 865-9523

Fantastic beer list, less fantastic food. The space is pretty small, so go for lunch or a beer in the afternoon, or be prepared to wait a while in the evening.