If you've never been to San Francisco, you need to know -- our summer starts NOW. Yes, in September. Not only is it pretty and warm and sunny but summer produce -- tomatoes, corn, pepper, and peaches -- is ripe and delicious at the moment. It's easy to roll your eyes at our "sustainable, local, organic" mantra, but while you're here, be sure to try some of these bites of summer.
Heirloom tomato salad at Scala's Bistro Around this time of year, just about everyone makes a tomato salad. But the heirloom tomato salad with mozzarella di bufala and olive oil croutons at Scala's Bistro, attached to the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, is particularly fabulous. The tomatoes are the star of the show, but they share the stage with the milky, creamy and moist mozzarella. The olive oil croutons add crunch and body to the salad. Scala's Bistro, 432 Powell Street, 415-395-8555
Pork and vegetable ramen at Hapa Ramen The slow-cooked pork ramen with seasonal vegetables at Hapa Ramen is another one to seek out. The salty-sweet broth is layered with richness and the bits of pork make it a meal. But it's the fresh, sweet crunch of corn that really makes this ramen something special. You can find it at the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market on Thursdays or at Off the Grid on Fridays. Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market, 1 Ferry Building; Off the Grid, Fort Mason Center
Shishito peppers at Hog & Rocks I don't know exactly when shishito peppers started showing up at farmer's markets, but I think I first saw them about two or three years ago. I had tried them in Japan and was thrilled to see them not just in markets, but on restaurant menus as well. They are typically quickly fried then sprinkled with salt. But at Hog & Rocks in the Mission District, they go one step further and add a squeeze of lime. The result is bright and lively -- the perfect bar snack. These peppers are usually mild and sweet with an earthy green flavor, but every once in a while you will get a spicy one! Hog & Rocks, 3431 19th Street, 415-550-8627
Sorbet from Scream Sorbet My last Summer pick is the sorbet from Scream Sorbet. These surprisingly creamy, dairy-free sorbets made from summer fruits are an intense blast of flavor. Despite not having a retail location yet, they made 7x7's recent list, The Big Sweet SF: 50 Treats to eat before you die. Fortunately, you can find the sorbet at many farmer's markets around the bay area, including the San Francisco Ferry Plaza on Thursdays. Try the seasonal fruit flavors like pluot, peach, raspberry and nectarine. They are not sickly sweet, but tangy and juicy in a way that "screams" summer. And what could be better than that? Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market, 1 Ferry Building
--Amy Sherman of Cooking with Amy
[Photo Credit: Flickr/Eric Heath]