May 7, 2009

San Francisco Eye Candy

Earlier this week I was in San Francisco for a short visit with friends, eating my way through some of the city's best bakeries, admiring the city's Victorian and Beaux-Arts architecture, and visiting as many charming boutiques as time would allow. Here are some of the highlights:

On an early morning walk to Coit Tower I stopped to admire the window display at I Dream of Cake (1351 Grant Avenue, 415-918-CAKE). They have an amazing wedding cake gallery on their website ( - check it out - you will not be dissapointed! The walk back to Union Square yielded some delightful decorative ironwork, such as the entryway doors below:

And then it was off to the Ferry Building to enjoy the sites and smells of the Farmer's Market and lunch at The Slanted Door.

After a quick pick me up from Blue Bottle Coffee Co. it was off to Hayes Valley for some macarons. First up: Paulette Macarons (437 Hayes St., 415-864-2400).

The slick white interior is the perfect backdrop for Paulette's exquisite vibrantly colored macarons. These are some of the best I have tasted outside of France and standout flavors include sweet wedding almond, violet cassis, coconut, passion fruit, and jasmine tea. Then we strolled over to Miette (449 Octavia St., 415-626-6221) where we sampled their hazelnut and vanilla macarons and gushed over the precious displays.

Then it was back to my friend's flat in Pacific Heights for a walking tour of the neighborhood's immaculate mansions and visits to a few of her favorite shops.

On our way out we passed these enigmatic window displays for mixed media artist Julie Salles's intensely elaborate and whimsical story boxes ( The delicacy and precision of her cut paper work is stunning. My friend, who an authority on all things floral, took me to one of her favorite florists, Bloomers, which was completely packed with gorgeous spring flowers including lilacs, peonies, and lily of the valley, not to mention a lovely selection vessels, ribbons, and letterpress note cards. Unfortunately, we did not have time to visit her other neighborhood favorite, birch - I guess I now have a reason to go back!