When my kids see a certain glint in my eye they know they’re in for a food adventure. This look means that there’s a high likelihood that we’ll be jumping in to car to trek off to some obscure corner of the Bay Area to find some (hopefully) tasty bite. Thank goodness they’re both good sports about it and humor this eccentricity. Our latest quest was happily close to home, in San Francisco’s Japantown as we went in search of the famous coffee crunch cake. I’m not sure if coffee crunch cake is “a thing” elsewhere, but it has a history here in San Francisco. Most old-school SFers will remember Blum’s coffee crunch cake with a special fondness: pillowy whipped cream sandwiched between light layers of chiffon cake, the whole thing encrusted in crunched up pieces of coffee-flavored honeycomb toffee. This was the signature item at Blum’s (sadly gone) which was in the also now defunct ritzy department store I. Magnin’s. If I could travel back in time, some shoe shopping at Magnin’s followed by a stop at Blum’s for cake would most definitely be on my to do list.
The happy news to report is that while Blum’s is no longer, coffee crunch crunch cake lives on in San Francisco! Continue reading
On it’s own, this 2-stop detour in San Francisco’s inner Sunset neighborhood is a super mini-adventure or afterschool jaunt when school is back in session. But combine it with a stroll down Irving Street or a trip to nearby Golden Gate Park and you’ve got a whole day’s worth of fun. Start by stopping in at the always delicious Arizmendi Bakery on 9th Avenue between Irving and Judah streets. Sample a few of their awesome baked delights (we like the corn and cherry scones, the pumpkin muffins and “wolverines” — but trust us, you can’t go wrong with anything in here). The coffee’s good and you can munch away while you watch the streetcars pass by from the benches of the “parklet” in front of the bakery. If you go after 11am you can try a slice of their pizza of the day. Just remember to bring cash since they don’t take credit cards.
Once you’re all fueled up, meander 6 blocks over to Garden for the Environment (7th Avenue between Kirkham and Lawton Streets). Garden for the Environment provides a wide range of youth and adult educational programs throughout the year on everything from composting to sustainable landscaping. The garden is also open for pop-in visits everyday from dawn until dusk and is a great place to experience a little nature in the city. You’ll probably see volunteers tending the garden plots and spy a nice selection of native plants and edibles. We love to take every chance we can to experience “where our food comes from” and a visit to Garden for the Environment never fails to inspire us to keep working at our own home gardening projects.
You might also like: Cherry Cornbread Muffins; Cheeseboard Collective and Tilden Park; Wild Flour Bakery; The Great Fort Mason Adventure; Lotta’s Bakery