#Tartine #Bakery + #Boudin #Giants #WorldSeries Creation

As we finish up our last few days in #SanFrancisco, we decided to revisit Tartine so that we could try some of the other items, as well as get some better photos from the last time we went.

Here is a shot of some of the fresh pastries they make each day inside.IMG_20141021_110747We also got a shot of their morning bun, which is like a croissant crossed with a cinnabon with a hint of orange flavor. This is one of the most famous pastries made at Tartine.IMG_20141021_111319This time we tried the frangipane croissant, as well, which is a croissant filled with an almond paste and almond slivers, and powdered in confectioner’s sugar. Definitely recommended!IMG_20141021_111315

We also got a shot of another famous San Francisco institution, Boudin Bakery. They make some interesting baked creations. With the recent success of the Giants in the World Series, they made a Giants-inspired alligator creation out of bread. You can also spot some bread bears in the background.IMG_20141023_172356Look forward to our next several posts over the coming days that cover some of the other places we have visited in and around San Francisco!

 

Waterfront on #Embarcadero

We thought we would say goodbye to #SanFrancisco in our last few weeks here by walking along the waterfront alongside Embarcadero Highway.  We started down by the Baseball Park and made our way around until we reached the Exploratorium on Pier 15, taking plenty of pictures of boats and bridges along the way.  One remarkable landmark is the kid’s slide inside of the coke bottle on the outer edge of the Baseball Park, next to a giant catching mitt (it looks like leather!).

IMG_20141002_141226[1]Right outside of the park is a major dock with hundreds of boats.  We wondered how often it was that a homerun would sail right onto someone’s deck, only to be found much later.

IMG_20141002_141038[1]Along the way, there was of course the Bay Bridge to Oakland.  (Ben’s fingertips feature prominently in this excursion.)

IMG_20141002_153618[1]And a giant bow and array sculpture, aimed into the ground.  (Pretty skyline, too.)

IMG_20141002_154521[1]On the way home, though, the Bay Bridge is even cooler when its all lit up.  The lights appear to move up and down, or just dripping from top to bottom in an icicle pattern, all the way across.  (Hard to see in a photo.  The lighting globes from the dock in the foreground are a nice touch, though.)

IMG_20141002_221130[1]Overall, it was a fun day, and we’re certainly glad we got the chance to take time out of our busy schedule working on Nowcado to see some of the sights and special landmarks of this city while we’ve been here for the last few months.

Nick’s Crispy #Tacos

Continuing on our day trip around #SanFrancisco, after happy hour we headed over to a Mexican restaurant we had heard great things about, Nick’s Crispy Tacos.  Upon entering, the tales were true that the place looked like a night club rather than any restaurant, and that’s because its both!

IMG_20141002_164356[1]Apparently the space is shared between an actual bar/club, with all the fancy red decor and chandeliers, and the restaurant occupies one bar in the back, where you can get a full array of the typical Mexican delicacies like tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and the like.  Of course, the food is available super late at night as well to cater to all of the night club’s customers, holding such great deals as two tacos for the price of one after 10pm.

IMG_20141002_164410[1]But don’t think that this is typical bar-quality food – they are known for their pescado (fried fish) entrees, heaped with plenty of guacamole, their special aioli-like sauce, cheese, cabbage, rice and all the rest.  On top of that, they also had my favorite Jones root beer on tap!  Avi opted for two pescado tacos, which seemed to come with just as much guacamole piled on top as the entire rest of the taco put together!  Their signature style is to wrap it with a hard corn shell inside of a soft flour shell on the outside.  I got the pescado burrito, and boy did it fill me up!  It came out piping hot, and by the time I reached the end, I could hardly finish the last few bites I was so full.  It reminded me greatly of a typical visit to Chipotle, only that Mexican restaurant doesn’t offer fried fish, and the guacamole is extra.

IMG_20141002_163957[1]For that, I give this restaurant experience major points.  Seems like the perfect club to hang out late at night, if you know you’ll be hungry.

21st Amendment #Brewery

As we’ve mentioned before, one type of common non-technical startup that can be found in San Francisco is the independent microbrewery.  Last week we decided to check out one such establishment in SOMA, the 21st Amendment Brewery.  We got there a little early for happy hour, and we wanted to check out the brewery to see the process for ourselves, so we first went to the back and caught a glimpse of several of their signature beers fermenting in the back through a window on the upper floor.IMG_20141002_142510[1]There was also this highly amusing painting hanging on the wall depicting many of the prominent San Francisco independent brewers, vaguely in the style of “The Last Supper.”  It was so wide I couldn’t catch the whole picture here.  The quote hanging on the back wall is the popular misquote of Ben Franklin’s: “Beer is proof that god loves us and wants us to be happy.”

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We did of course sample the local inventions.  Avi wanted to try several of the beers to get a real test of the brewer’s skills, so he got a flight, featuring the flavors of a watermelon wheat ale, a beer infused with red wine, a darker stout with coffee, a belgian golden ale, and a full-bodied Oktoberfest (I got the full version, foreground).

IMG_20141002_143947[1]Overall we were quite satisfied with the selection and the tastes.  It was an excellent precursor to the next restaurant we went to in our excursions throughout the city that day, a hole-in-the-wall Mexican place.  More on that next!

 

#Exploratorium Excursion

We went to the #SanFrancisco Exploratorium yesterday for their monthly After Dark event for the 18+ crowd in the evening. IMG_20141002_174834Almost immediately upon entering, the learning began. To emphasize the source of water for both the toilets and drinking fountains were the same, a drinking toilet is placed right next to the water fountain that you can drink from. They admit this is a bit of a social experiment as well – can you convince yourself to drink from the toilet even knowing it has never been used for anything except as a drinking fountain? Interestingly, most people still opt for the regular fountain.IMG_20141002_181450There were tons of exhibits and activities going on throughout the night, and we cannot possibly capture them all here, but here are a few of the highlights.

This is an action shot of pinheads that were vibrating to create a shape:IMG_20141002_182357

 

This is an action shot of still Batman and penguin figurines that, when rotated quickly with flashing lights creates the illusion of animation. There might be something lost in the still shot…IMG_20141002_184736There was a section for interesting animals, too! Check out this baby alligator that you could pet:IMG_20141002_185044Or how about a serval (a large tiger forest cat):IMG_20141002_184751There were some really impressive man-made feats, as well. For example. a large marble maze created entirely with toothpicks:IMG_20141002_183826Of course, being San Francisco, the exhibits wouldn’t be complete without some sort of fog demonstrations. They had a few of these, but one of the coolest ones was the fog tornado:IMG_20141002_200453There were also a lot of exhibits related to perception – both visual, and auditory – though we can only really share the visual ones. One awesome effect let me show you my hand – infinitely!IMG_20141002_193647Last, they also had several exhibits that let you geek out. Takes me back to my college days:IMG_20141002_192905

 

There were some really cool magic shows and scientific demonstrations throughout the night too, as well as food and liquor stands throughout. It seems like Nowcado could be used to provide an optimized walking plan through the museum while hitting all your desired vendors! Either way, though, definitely a fun event that I encourage you to check out next month if you haven’t been already.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#Pizza #Hacker

We went to the @PizzaHacker in #SanFrancisco yesterday, because we had heard such great things. As an avid pizza-trend follower, I had heard about Jeff Krupman slinging out really high quality pies to people outside of dive bars in his modified Weber grill a few years ago. Apparently he did so well, he now has his own restaurant (with a proper pizza oven to boot), which I was really excited to try.

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In case you do not know, one of the best tests of a pizzaiolo (the fancy name for a professional pizza maker) is their most basic pie, the Margherita. You want to test all the small things in that pizza to see if they are done properly. Is the dough at the right level of hydration? Is the bottom of the crust properly charred? Does the cornicione (the outside crust) have enough rise? Does the sauce just have a hint of sweetness without being cloying? The questions go on, but the point is something that is seemingly very simple is actually more involved than you might think.

So the ultimate question: Does the pizza hacker live up to expectations? Well my friends, I can say the answer is a resounding YES!

Here is the margherita that was pushed out:IMG_20140903_195930

 

Great char, creamy cheese, fresh basil, and solid leopard spotting on the crust.

One of the great things they had at this place sitting next to their red chili flakes was what seemed to me like a Sambal olive tapenade. I had never had anything like this before:

IMG_20140903_201119

 

The taste was mildly hot, a little fruity, slightly smoky, pretty salty and oily, and with the texture of finely chopped olives. I asked the waiter what we were eating.

“Calabrian peppers,” he said. “No, what is making it salty? Surely there are olives in there?” He insisted further “Nope, we just grind up Calabrian peppers.” Suspicious, I decided to do some research on these magical peppers, and it turned out he was right. These peppers have all of these flavors! If you like olives or complex flavors, or if you generally shy away from chili peppers thinking they are too hot, this might be a great thing to try.

To round out the evening, my co-founder tried one of the more complex pizzas called “Purple Rain” (great for any Prince fans out there) with balsamic vinegar, prosciutto, and Cherokee purple tomatoes.

 

He was equally impressed with their ability to make a solid pizza with toppings as they were making a simpler pizza.

It was great seeing startups in the area like us, even in non-technical areas. This is proof that doing something really well is all you need to succeed.

Celebrate #LaborDay!

This #LaborDayWeekend, we thought we would celebrate the #SanFrancisco way.  It is well known that SF has the highest concentration of start-ups in the world, especially in areas of technology.  Of course, we at Nowcado fall into this category, but you may not have realized that San Francisco is also a great place to find a totally different kind of startup – microbreweries!  Having a beer is a typical part of standard Labor Day events, so in the spirit of supporting our fellow entrepreneurs, we decided to check out a few such establishments in the city, and the products they had to offer.

As with any startup, the key to success is differentiation from your competitors, and understanding what appeals to your customers.  It was fairly obvious to us that these brewcrafters had it down to a science.  Everything from the catchy, unapologetic names of the beers to the unorthodox ingredients made sure to leave a lasting impression – there were too many intriguing options to try them all (though we certainly tried)!  Most remarkable is the diversity of the styles, from Belgian lagers to tripels, custom IPAs, wheat, barley, or even oatmeal ales, infusions with chocolate, citrus, herbs and spices, and several styles we had never even heard of before.  Each new beer is “tested” with the brewery’s customers, like any great startup product, and refined by adding or adjusting ingredients based on feedback over several weeks.  After the brewer (and customers) are satisfied, the beer will start to be distributed to the various stores and restaurants where that local brewery’s products are available.  So if you’re an avid beta tester of new products, don’t forget to check out the new products at your local microbreweries.