Fuji Japanese Restaurant offers the finest sushi lunch I’ve had in the city. I could write a glowing thousand word description, or I could just show you this. Happy birthday, me!
As with any other restaurant, dinner is a rush- ingredients disappear and customers turn up in numbers large enough to stress out the staff and other patrons. Fuji’s best variety and calmest atmosphere occurs before 5 PM. Definitely go, and for your own sake go early. 14th and West Portal.
The second finest sushi lunch I’ve had in the city can be found at Sushi Shoh. It’s close to Fuji- if you don’t mind hills, you can walk it- but it delivers far and wide, even to our almost-Daly-City apartment complex. Unmissable: negihama rolls, an underappreciated specialty.
Don’t eat dairy? Hayes Valley has you covered! Patxi’s Pizza offers Daiya cheeze and allergen menus on request. (They do normie pizzas, too, including some impressive lasagna-deep deep dishes.) Smitten Ice Cream has somehow created dulce de leche popsicles from coconut milk that taste pretty close to the real thing. They pride themselves on a technique involving liquid nitrogen that minimizes ice crystals in the treats, and you can definitely taste the difference: they’re unbelievably thick. Hayes and Octavia.
The Valley’s honorable mention: Hayes Market, two blocks up on Buchanan, sells Earth Balance boxed macaroni (so does Amazon, never fear!). It’s about as close to Kraft as the nondairy population can get. Mix up a box and think about all the cows you’re helping!
If hot sauce is your thing, you’re in for an excellent time at Hot Licks, offering both a tasting bar and a wide variety of local brands. I’d recommend Palo Alto Firefighters’: donates to a good cause and pairs with almost everything. And right downstairs is a perfect view of the sea lions! Pier 39, upper left.
Pro tip: Pier 39 isn’t for everybody, but the slow, packed F line is definitely the worst thing about it. Catch the 8 or the 47 instead: both will drop you closer to Fisherman’s Wharf, only about four blocks away.
The Hot Licks website is a little smaller in scope, but their customer service is excellent: I’ve never waited more than a week for a package and have never received a damaged bottle. Or why not try cooking something that compliments your hot sauce collection perfectly? This is my household’s go-to pulled pork recipe; the only catch is that you have to keep an eye on it for a solid eight hour stretch. Heaven forbid.