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a food tour through hayes valley

a food tour through hayes valley

Thinking about something to get that difficult person on your list? We recently went on a guided food tour through hayes valley (via gourmet walks), and absolutely loved it. I'd recommend it to anyone that you're struggling to find that last minute present for.

Also, before I start rambling, I'll preface that this is not a sponsored post.  

San Francisco is definitely known for its fabulous food, and there are a handful of known food tour groups. We decided on the neighborhood of hayes valley, which is really a hidden gem with amazing eats. Likewise, the neighborhood has such an interesting history - once the most dangerous neighborhood in the city when the freeway was built over top of it. When the freeway collapsed in the '89 earthquake, the neighborhood started to turn the corner and is now one of the most expensive places to live in the city. 

Fun facts that we learned from our fantastic guide: Michael Hayes named Gough street is named after the milk man. Octavia street was named after Gough's sister. And Steiner was named after a friend of Hayes. 

The tour started at 10. But first, coffee.


I started at Artis, although both Ritual & Blue Bottle are also both nearby. No, seriously super close.. 

coffee shops in hayes valley

First stop on the tour was Tacos Cala, which is located down an alley & through the back door of restaurant Cala.  

We each had a different taco.. and they were all amazing. The tortillas on these were the unsung hero - the chef himself explaining that these are made with corn that they grind themselves on site. I'm still full, and my mouth waters when I think of these tacos, ha. 

Next up, we stopped at the Fatted Calf for their artisanal charcuterie. It didn't dissapoint.   

Let's just say this place is not for vegetarians.. Luckily, I'm not & the cuts were excellent. The butchery prides themselves on using the entire animal, holding true to their values that if an animal is sacrificed, then we should use every part of the animal. I couldn't agree more.. 

Next up, ice SCREAM (sorry, I couldn't help myself..). Otherwise known as the absolutely amazing Smitten

I was absolutely smitten with Smitten. Okay, I'll stop with the puns (blame it on the sugar).. But really, the ice cream is to die for - not overly sweet, unique seasonal flavors & rich enough to be satisfied with small portions. I tried a little bit of each of their flavors (including the vegan pop, which was so wonderfully rich), but settled in to the cookie dough & pretzels. Who would have thought to add pretzels to the classic cookie dough? Bravo. 

Next up, DragonEats, in seek of their famous bahn mi sandwiches. When we arrived, there was already a line out the door. Always a good sign. 

Our guide mentioned that the tofu had the same amount of flavor depth as the meats, so I opted for the tofu. And he was spot on. This was by far the best banh mi I've had - melt in your mouth flavor on a perfectly crusted french roll (the bakery is kept a secret).

Next up, we headed off to the Boxing Room for some classic New Orleans grub.

The guide ordered us the smoked chicken & andouille sausage gumbo, which I paired with a classic mint julep. And despite already being slightly full from the last stop, I scooped up every last bit of my gumbo. 

Our second to last stop as at Arlequin Cafe for their artisanal cheese plate. 

The goat cheese was phenomenal, and there was the cutest little garden in the back that looked like it was straight out of a cafe in England. Connected to the cafe is a fantastic little wine shop, with walls of wines to choose from. 

Finally, dessert. Again! Our tour ended at Miette, which is the cutest little cupcake bakery & candy shop. 

Okay, now insert food coma + nap at this point. This tour was phenomenal, but there are other locations & food tours as well, including the mission district & north beach. Don't live in San Francisco, check out your local city to see if there are guided food tours! And let us know what your favorites are, so we can add them to our bucket list. 

Bon Appetite! 

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