BBE Editor's Pick
GraceAnn Walden Tours
Join local restaurant columnist GraceAnn Walden as you nibble your way through North Beach, tasting the wares of local food artisans: ethereally light focaccia from Liguria Bakery, Victoria Bakery's chewy Italian cookies, handmade sausages from Little City Market and rich chocolate truffles from XOX Chocolates (pictured). This tour, which Walden has been running for twenty-five years, lets you experience up close the sights, sounds and—most of all—the food of one of San Francisco’s most historic neighborhoods, the longtime home to its Italian-American community. And then there’s lunch: A multi-course meal at Rose Pistola, one of the city’s favorite North Beach restaurants.
As you stroll and snack your way through North Beach, you get more than just food; you also experience local flavor. Go behind the scenes to see (and feel) the massive oven that turns out the fluffiest focaccia in the city. Taste the Old Country in chewy, almond-based cookies. Above all, have conversations with the people who make these foods, some of them for generations. Walden's historical knowledge of the city runs deep. Learn when the Italians arrived (1849) and how Sicilians influenced the North Beach 'hood. She knows everyone in the neighborhood, and everyone knows her. With her boisterous charm and quick wit, she cheerfully gossips with shopkeepers, chefs, restaurateurs; she even chats up nuns at Sts. Peter and Paul. You’ll come away with the total insider’s view of a neighborhood most only scratch the surface of.
other neighborhoods to conquer
Walden isn’t limited to North Beach, and leads food tours of three other San Francisco neighborhoods: Chinatown, Nob Hill, and Latino Mission. Her excursions are geared for the local foodie, and she routinely gets return customers from around the Bay Area, whether they’re entertaining guests from out of town or just looking to take another bite out of the neighborhood.
Weekends, 10 AM–3:30 PM
Normally $80 for a 5 1/2 hour tour that includes several small bites and meal in the featured neighborhood.