I'm not sure how it happens, but every time I travel elsewhere I seem to forget that I live in a place that has food. I leave Brooklyn with my backpack basically empty and return with a bag that is bursting with baked goods and coffee beans and chocolate bars. Such was the case this past Sunday, when I came back from a weekend trip to the Bay Area. Here's what I toted home with me.
1. Josey Baker Bread, $7 to $9 per loaf
Josey Baker's real name is Josey Baker and he bakes bread — really, really good bread. He started doing it out of his apartment in the Mission, but now you can find his loaves all around town. If you have a chance to visit The Mill, the toast there, made with thick slabs of Josey's life-changing bread, will make you see toast in a whole new light.
I picked up a loaf of the gluten-free "Adventure Bread," which is made with nuts, seeds, oats, olive oil, and maple syrup. It weighs a ton, but is totally worth lugging home.
Get the cookbook: Josey Baker Bread by Josey Baker
2. Sightglass Owl's Howl Espresso, $18 for 12 ounces
Coffee beans are always a good souvenir because I know I'll use them. This local outfit started as a coffee cart and now has five retail locations in the city — including one in SoMa, just a few blocks from the hotel where I stayed. I chose the Owl's Howl espresso beans. They have a lighter roast than I'd usually go for, with a strong candied lemon flavor.
3. Nopalito Tortilla Chips, $8.50 for 16 ounces
I really wanted to eat Mexican food while I was in San Francisco, but there was only so much time and my stomach is only so big. As a consolation, I picked up these thick, homemade tortilla chips from Nopalito, a Mexican kitchen that combines regional cooking with local, sustainable ingredients. If you're local, you can order them through Good Eggs. I found a bag at Bi-Rite Market.
4. Poco Dolce Almond Bittersweet Tiles, $26 for 8 tiles
This San Francisco-based chocolate maker is known for its savory flavors (think: ginger, sesame toffee, and aztec chili). An almond bittersweet chocolate tile is the perfect after-dinner treat if you want something that's just a little sweet (or "poco dolce"; hence the name.) A box of eight makes a very thoughtful and delicious hostess gift.
5. Leaves of Grass Herbal Infusion, $17
Our Editor, Faith, first introduced me to the Berkeley-based tea company Leaves and Flowers. I love their handcrafted herbal blends and small-batch teas, so when I spotted this blend of lemon verbena, peppermint, and tarragon, it was a no-brainer to add to my little bundle of souvenirs.