January 2, 2012

Visiting My Favorite Places in San Francisco

One of my favorite places to relax in San Francisco is Samovar Tea Lounge in the Castro neighborhood. (Yes, there are two other outposts of this cafe, but the one in Castro is my favorite.) On my recent trip to San Francisco I spent a sunny afternoon meandering through the Mission District visiting favorite shops, walking past parks I used to visit, and eventually ending up at Samovar’s for afternoon tea.

I sat at a table against the wall. The warm late autumn sun streamed in the windows and the smell of tea permeated the air. The staff works very hard to make the atmosphere here warm, relaxing, and comfortable. They make it easy to take a deep breath, stopping rushing through the day, and become rejuvenated. Of course, the lovely tea and food they have helps with that too! I ordered a pot of their black breakfast blend tea and some cherry oat scones with clotted cream and jam.

All of Samovar’s teas are delightful. The breakfast blend is a rich, malty black tea which pairs perfectly with milk. And it is a perfect tea to sip in the afternoon, as well as the morning. With my tea I enjoyed the lovely scones with clotted cream. (Personally, I think clotted cream is divine.) The scones were flaky and were just on the border between savory and sweet - a perfect little snack.

I remember sitting at Samovar’s to study when I was in graduate school. I remember bringing visiting friends and family here for a cup of tea. And the memories I treasure most at this tea house is coming with my husband to relax on weekends - both before and after we were married. Samovar Tea Lounge remains one of my favorite places in San Francisco and I am glad I was able to go back and enjoy some afternoon tea. Next time I am in the city by the bay I will be back for another cup of tea!

Another favorite place I visited during my recent trip to back to the bay area is Alegrias Food From Spain. This is a small family owned restaurant in the city’s Marina district that serves delicious, authentic Spanish tapas and paellas. The atmosphere in Alegrias is cozy with a dark wood bar, white table clothes, and posters about bull fights and the famous sights of Andalusia. It is a place that is both intimate and comfortable.

But the best part of Alegrias is their food! They the majority of the menu is tapas style, however you can also order paella and other Spanish specialities. Everything is delicious; some of my favorites are the tortilla (Spanish omelet), crispy potatoes with alioli, and spinach with pine nuts, raisins, and apples. The paella is also wonderful and fun to share. To drink, there is a lovely selection of Spanish wines and sangria that complement the food. And, for the most important course of the meal, they serve delightful flan!

It was lovely to be able to have dinner at my favorite restaurant, Alegrias Food from Spain, in San Francisco on recent visit to the city. I look forward to dining there again whenever I am back in the bay area!


Margo said...

sounds wonderful! I should not have ready this hungry though... and wha? You are now becoming a "teaby" as well! I just made that word up.

Jessica said...

I like your new word! You should definitely go to both Samovar's and Alegrias if you are ever in SF!