We can bet these San Francisco sweet spots will tantalize your taste buds with their unique confectionary creations!
Sugar and Spice
Treat your sweet tooth to a Southwestern-style thrill at Chili Pies (& Ice Cream), a charismatic sit-down bakery in the NoPa (north of the panhandle) neighborhood at 601 Baker Street. Their signature Green Chili Apple Pie is cradled in a cheddar cheese butter crust drizzled with chili honey and topped with a scoop of Three Twins organic ice cream. Experience a similar taste sensation with a Green Chili Apple Milkshake or cool off your palate with a Lemon Pie Vanilla Milkshake. If you want some "real food" before digging into a slice of Mexican Chocolate Pecan Pie a la mode, enjoy a hearty bowl of Santa Fe Stew or their famous Frito Chili Pie.
Worth the Risk
Don't be daunted by the dodgy name or Tenderloin neighborhood, Hooker's Sweet Treats at 442 Hyde Street is too delightful to miss! While many patrons swear by the easy-on-the-teeth Original Hooker Caramel caramels made with smoked sea salt and 70% (fair trade) dark chocolate chunks, others insist it's the Strawberry Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding that makes it consistently worth the risk. All agree, however, that the slight bitterness of the fresh in-house roasted Sight Glass coffee drinks are a perfect complement to these confections, a sensation that mail-order recipients of Hooker's Caramel Boxes never get to fully appreciateâ€¦another noble reason for making the trip in person!
Pie on the Fly
With the growing popularity of their divine locally-sourced fruit pies, the Three Babes Bake Shop has branched out from their location in the Richmond District at 1760M Cesar Chavez. They're meeting the demand for their Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble, Georgia Peach Pie and Chocolate Mint Chess Pie (among many others) with pick up locations around the Bay Area, deliveries to homes through the Good Eggs team and shipping to their fans outside of Northern California. Though they admit they are only two babes, the ladies have harnessed the power at least three superwomen with their vision of "creating positive change in our community through food." Using only locally-grown organic ingredients provided by long-time farmer friends, this dynamic duo endeavors to make their insanely delicious pies a showcase for the hardworking individuals who cultivate California's rich bounty.
Life is Like a Box of Chocolatesâ€¦ Sweet Taffy
Considered the undisputed "sweet spot" in North Beach, walking into the Z. Cioccolato candy store at 474 Columbus Ave is rather like entering Willy Wonka's Outlet Store! Maybe because most of their concoctions are made by their in-house candy "elves," that explains why the Salt Water Taffy is so super soft and the Mayan Dark Fudge melded with Cinnamon literally melts in your mouth. The smell of their complimentary caramel popcorn will draw you in and the samples of their fudge, taffy, caramel and chocolate (dark, milk, sea-salt) may entice more adventurous nibbling, perhaps culminating with specialty creations like Mo's Chocolate Covered Bacon!
Love below Zero
Prepare to fall head over heels for Smitten Ice Cream once you've experienced your first made-to-order scoop of creamy decadence from their "Brrr" liquid nitrogen churn. This patented process eliminates the need for all those nasty preservatives and binders with a super-cooling process that creates exceptionally small ice crystals for what is rightly described as the "smoothest, densest and most flavorful ice cream on earth." Besides the ever-changing selection of flavors by the scoop, you can feast on seasonal dishes like Salty & Cinnacle with a scoop of salted caramel ice cream over warm cinnamon shortbread with hot chocolate sauce topped with homemade whipped cream. Yum!
Lela Lake is a seasoned traveler who shares her love of food discovery with her readers. Originally from Texas, she has lived in Montana, Vermont, Colorado and New Mexico. She writes for LeraBlog and Hostelbookers.com as a freelance travel and food writer.