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A baker makes fortune cookies at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

14 Classic Foods and Cocktails Invented in the Bay Area

And where to find the best versions

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A baker makes fortune cookies at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory
| Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Culinary history can be a tricky business, and depending on whom you ask, you may learn that San Francisco gave the world the first Martini (possible but not likely), and that sourdough bread originated here (the technique dates to the Middle Ages).

There is, however, a small canon of classic dishes and drinks that undoubtedly came from SF chefs, vendors, and barmen, most of which can still be found on a few menus around town. Below is a brief primer on these items and their history, so that the next time you spot Celery Victor, a Mai Tai, or a Hangtown Fry on a menu, you can pipe in with this important hometown trivia.

Looking for iconic dishes and drinks in San Francisco that weren’t necessarily invented on our home turf — egg custard tarts at Golden Gate Bakery and focaccia at Liguria Bakery, for instance? Those local favorites are here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Baked Goat Cheese Salad

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1517 Shattuck Ave
Berkeley, CA 94709
(510) 548-5525
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When it comes to the evolution of our current restaurant universe, there are plenty of things for which we can credit Alice Waters and Chez Panisse. But when it comes to original dishes, there are not many we can clearly point to as having been invented there — especially because Waters and the various chefs who have come through her kitchen tend mostly to pay homage to the simple, ingredient-driven cuisines of France and Italy. One dish that has remained the cornerstone of the upstairs Cafe menu since it opened in the early 1980s, however, is Waters’ own lunchtime creation — she primarily worked the kitchen at lunch — the baked goat cheese salad. The dish includes two or three breaded rounds of softened goat cheese (Waters was an early customer of Laura Chenel) that are served atop well dressed baby lettuces with garlic toasts. It’s an extremely simple dish that the New York Times’ Amanda Hesser nonetheless declares an iconic dish of the decade, and it continues to be very widely imitated.

2. The Mai Tai

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9 Anchor Dr
Emeryville, CA 94608
(510) 653-3400
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Two rival tiki bar pioneers each claim to have invented the Mai Tai, but the popular legend is that this daiquiri variation was created by Victor Bergeron at the original Trader Vic’s in Oakland, circa 1944. Here, that’s substituted for the Emeryville location, as Oakland’s Trader Vic’s is no longer. The Mai Tai is a combination of two different rums, lime juice, orange curacao, and orgeat — and the man with the competing claim of inventing the drink, Los Angeles’s Don the Beachcomber, made his version with grapefruit juice and lime juice, falernum, and a few drops of Herbsaint. As tiki drinks grew in popularity, the Mai Tai morphed into a syrupy concoction sold in Chinese restaurants. But to taste something like Bergeron’s original, you’ll want to do so at a reputable, craft-focused tiki bar where they make their own orgeat. Smuggler’s Cove will do nicely.

3. Rocky road ice cream

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4226 Piedmont Ave
Oakland, CA 94611
(510) 658-7000
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There’s no question that rocky road ice cream — a classic chocolate flavor with nuts and marshmallows — was invented in Oakland. There’s also no question that the name is a joke about the Great Depression, the crunchy flavor intended as a sweet antidote to tough times. The only question is who invented it first: 120-year-old, independently-owned Oakland soda fountain Fentons Creamery, or equally ancient Dreyer’s, now owned by Nestle but still headquartered in Oakland. According to the Dreyer’s side of the story, ice cream maker William Dreyer invented the flavor after he teamed up with candy maker Joseph Edy to open Edy’s Grand Ice Cream in 1928 — so-named for its home on Oakland’s Grand Avenue. (Side story: The Edy’s name was later changed to Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream by William Dreyer, Jr, though the Dreyer’s company still uses the name Edy’s in Eastern markets to differentiate Dreyer’s from competitor Breyers ice cream). Joseph Edy, a candy maker, had already combined chocolate, nuts, and marshmallows in candy bar form, and William Breyer purportedly adapted the combination to ice cream, cutting the only marshmallows available at the time, which were large, with his wife’s sewing scissors. Fentons story is essentially the same, asserting that Dreyer and Edy stole the name and idea from Fentons candy maker George Farren. Hold on: Why fight over the innovation of adding a few ingredients to ice cream? Sure, in today’s Ben and Jerry’s world, rocky road might not seem to stand out, but at the time, it was a big step forward, since only flavors like strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate were commonly available. — Caleb Pershan

4. Cioppino

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552 Green St
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 398-3181
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While this Italian-American seafood stew resembles some tomato-based cousins served around Northern Italy, cioppino is definitively native to San Francisco for one main reason: a true version has to be made with Dungeness crab and Pacific shellfish. The biggest contingent of Italians who immigrated to San Francisco in the late 19th Century were from Liguria, where they made a similar stew called ciuppin, but legend has it that fisherman around North Beach had a community tradition of carrying an empty pot around to their fisherman brethren when they came back empty-handed from a day on the water. Friends were expected to toss in anything extra they might have, resulting in a catch-of-the-day stew, and they expected the same on days when their catch was dismal too. The modern version, according to Saveur, comes from Genoese immigrant Giuseppe Bazzuro at his eponymous SF restaurant, ca. 1850. And like the Provencal French version, bouillabaisse, cioppino is best served with grilled bread. Beyond North Beach haunts like Sotto Mare, you’ll find good versions at Tadich Grill and Woodhouse Fish Co.

5. Pisco Punch

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155 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 617-0071
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Famed San Francisco barman Duncan Nicol invented Pisco Punch at the Bank Exchange Saloon, on the Montgomery Block where the TransAmerica Pyramid now stands, back in the 1890s. Pisco, you see, was commonly found next other American spirits in San Francisco bars in the 19th century thanks to a busy trade route with South America, and the grape-based Peruvian brandy became quite popular here. Nicol used it to create his signature punch, mixing it with pineapple juice, lime juice, sugar, and gum syrup. As one writer at the time described it, “It tastes like lemonade but comes back with the kick of a roped steer.” Get your kicks with a version at pisco bar Destino or, for a classic SF feel, Comstock Saloon.

6. Chop Suey

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713 Clay St
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 989-8898
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The origins of Chop Suey as a phenomenon in Chinese-American cuisine can very probably be traced to San Francisco’s Chinatown and the need to create inexpensive food that would appeal to Western palates during the Gold Rush and subsequent years. Though there’s some debate about where it comes from the main evidence is this: Most Chinese immigration came through San Francisco, and San Francisco introduced Americans to Chinese food twice, once in the Gold Rush era, and again to regional and in particular Mandarin and Imperial Chinese cuisine with Cecilia Chiang’s The Mandarin restaurant in the 1960s. A popular myth has it that a Chinatown chef was trying to serve some drunken miners one night in the 1860s, and threw together leftovers in a wok including vegetables, meat, and eggs — and this jives with another theory connected to a 19th century dish from Taishan called tsap seui (“miscellaneous leftovers”). Find a take at Chinatown classic Sam Wo’s under the “vegetables” section.

7. Green Goddess Dressing

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558 Sacramento St
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 772-9060
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Like Chicken Tetrazzini, Green Goddess Dressing sprang from the kitchen at the Palace Hotel, where you can still find it at the The Garden Court — but these days, seek out the version at new classic Wayfare Tavern. As the story goes, in 1923, hotel chef Philip Roemer decided to make the dressing in tribute to a play that was in town starring famed actor George Arliss, called The Green Goddess. For inspiration, Roemer fell back on his French training and made a version of a traditional sauce au vert, combining anchovies, scallions, parsley, tarragon, mayonnaise, tarragon vinegar, and chives. Some modern versions add avocado as well, but that is not part of the original recipe, and at the Palace these days you’ll find a lighter version, made with an egg but no mayonnaise. As for the namesake play, which was later turned into two films starring Arliss, it’s some overtly racist drivel in which Arliss, in brownface, plays an Indian maharajah.

8. Hangtown Fry

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240 California St
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 391-1849
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A Gold Rush-era invention that is undoubtedly rooted in Northern California, the Hangtown Fry has its supposed origins in Placerville, which was then called Hangtown, up in Gold Country. One legend has it that a man waiting to be executed requested an “oyster omelette” as his last meal, and knowing that the oysters would have to be bought by the coast a hundred miles away, thereby delayed his execution. The original omelette, which is really a scramble or frittata, was made with fried oysters and bacon, and the version you’ll find at Tadich Grill, where the dish has been served since the place opened in 1850, has mushrooms, onions, and tomatoes in it as well.

9. Celery Victor

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374 Bush St
San Francisco, CA 94104
(415) 421-0594
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This unusual dish of braised and chilled celery dressed in anchovies and tarragon was the invention of chef Victor Hirtzler of the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco around 1910. It first appeared in a 1914 cookbook titled A Bohemian Guide to San Francisco Restaurants by Clarence Edwords, and soon gained national popularity. It seems sort of old-fashioned and odd now (celery braised in chicken broth?), but various local chefs have tried to contemporize it for modern audiences. An alternate version featuring bay shrimp and cherry tomatoes along with anchovy fillets and a vinaigrette can still be had at Sam’s Grill in the FiDi.

10. Crab Louie

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1517 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 673-1101
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A dish called Crab Leg à Louis appears on a 1908 menu at the classic high-end SF spot The Old Poodle Dog, and in 1910, St. Francis hotel chef Victor Hirtzler had a version on his menu as well. By 1914, the recipe for this mayonnaise-y crab salad would make an appearance in the cookbook A Bohemian Guide to San Francisco Restaurants by Clarence Edwords, the same one that first featured Celery Victor. Around town you’ll still find plenty of versions of this simple, cold shellfish dish made with shrimp, as well as crab, but the old-school versions are at the OG spots like Tadich Grill and Swan Oyster Depot.

11. Chicken Tetrazzini

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2 New Montgomery St
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 512-1111
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This dish — which American food historian James Beard credits to Palace Hotel chef Ernest Arbogast — was named in honor of opera singer Luisa Tetrazzini, who famously gave the “gift” of her singing to San Francisco with a free concert in the middle of Market Street on Christmas Eve, 1910. Based around an alfredo sauce, it’s a dish of linguine with mushrooms, peas, and chicken in a white-wine cream sauce, topped with breadcrumbs, and perfect in a casserole. It’s a comfort food classic that has become such a frozen-food-aisle cliche that most chefs don’t even try modernizing it. You won’t find it at the Palace Hotel these days, but try making it yourself via Giada De Laurentiis’ recipe, or score the Stouffer’s turkey version.

The Palace Hotel
Travis Wise/Flickr

12. Fortune Cookies

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75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 752-1171
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Though a couple of Los Angeles bakers have tried to claim credit for creating the fortune cookie, food historians agree that the most reliable origin story comes from San Francisco. The reason is this: A very similar looking cookie existed in Japan dating back to the 19th century, though it was a savory variety flavored with miso, and there is also a tradition in Japan called omikuji in which random fortunes are written on slips of paper. Japanese immigrant Makoto Hagiwara, who opened San Francisco’s Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park in 1894, is said to have ordered the sweet, folded cookies from San Francisco confectioner Benkyodo (which is still open in Japantown) in 1918, so they could be served at the tea garden. The move into Chinese restaurants came during World War II, when most of SF’s Japanese-Americans were put in internment camps. The Smithsonian says that Chinese businessmen then took the opportunity to copy the recipe and market the cookies to Chinese restaurants, and the rest is history. You’ll find them almost anywhere in Chinatown, but look out for the small, delicious-smelling Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory.

13. The Burrito

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2399 Folsom St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 647-3716

Food historians will argue that the burrito has its origins in Mexico and in the American southwest before it made its way to San Francisco’s Mission district. But a pair of Mission taquerias each claims to have made the first Mission-style burrito (using a large flour tortilla and stuffing it with rice and beans as well as meat), Taqueria La Cumbre and El Faro Taqueria. La Cumbre says they invented the Mission burrito in 1969, while El Faro says that its owner created the first burritos of this kind, using two six-inch tortillas, for a group of firefighters in 1961. Still others claim that this portable, all-in-one meal was the invention of cooks who served Chicano farm workers, and it was one or more of these cooks who introduced the Mission burrito to city taquerias.

14. It's-It Ice Cream

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865 Burlway Rd
Burlingame, CA 94010
(650) 347-2122
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The Bay Area’s iconic chocolate-dipped ice cream cookie sandwich was born at San Francisco’s answer to Coney Island, Playland-by-the-Beach. There, at a no-name refreshment stand, George Whitney was inspired in 1928 to sandwich a scoop of ice cream between two oatmeal cookies, and cover the whole thing in dark chocolate. The treat became an instant hit, and eventually the ice cream stand would get a sign above it that said “This is IT,” which would ultimately lead to the sandwich’s odd name. It wasn’t until the 1970s, after the demolition of Playland, that the name and recipe were sold to its current owners, the Shamieh family, who opened the company’s existing production facility south of the city in Burlingame. Demand would only grow as IT’S-ITs showed up in stores far from Ocean Beach, and now the factory produces and packs 100,000 sandwiches a day, in eight different flavors.

1. Baked Goat Cheese Salad

1517 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709

When it comes to the evolution of our current restaurant universe, there are plenty of things for which we can credit Alice Waters and Chez Panisse. But when it comes to original dishes, there are not many we can clearly point to as having been invented there — especially because Waters and the various chefs who have come through her kitchen tend mostly to pay homage to the simple, ingredient-driven cuisines of France and Italy. One dish that has remained the cornerstone of the upstairs Cafe menu since it opened in the early 1980s, however, is Waters’ own lunchtime creation — she primarily worked the kitchen at lunch — the baked goat cheese salad. The dish includes two or three breaded rounds of softened goat cheese (Waters was an early customer of Laura Chenel) that are served atop well dressed baby lettuces with garlic toasts. It’s an extremely simple dish that the New York Times’ Amanda Hesser nonetheless declares an iconic dish of the decade, and it continues to be very widely imitated.

1517 Shattuck Ave
Berkeley, CA 94709

2. The Mai Tai

9 Anchor Dr, Emeryville, CA 94608

Two rival tiki bar pioneers each claim to have invented the Mai Tai, but the popular legend is that this daiquiri variation was created by Victor Bergeron at the original Trader Vic’s in Oakland, circa 1944. Here, that’s substituted for the Emeryville location, as Oakland’s Trader Vic’s is no longer. The Mai Tai is a combination of two different rums, lime juice, orange curacao, and orgeat — and the man with the competing claim of inventing the drink, Los Angeles’s Don the Beachcomber, made his version with grapefruit juice and lime juice, falernum, and a few drops of Herbsaint. As tiki drinks grew in popularity, the Mai Tai morphed into a syrupy concoction sold in Chinese restaurants. But to taste something like Bergeron’s original, you’ll want to do so at a reputable, craft-focused tiki bar where they make their own orgeat. Smuggler’s Cove will do nicely.

9 Anchor Dr
Emeryville, CA 94608

3. Rocky road ice cream

4226 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

There’s no question that rocky road ice cream — a classic chocolate flavor with nuts and marshmallows — was invented in Oakland. There’s also no question that the name is a joke about the Great Depression, the crunchy flavor intended as a sweet antidote to tough times. The only question is who invented it first: 120-year-old, independently-owned Oakland soda fountain Fentons Creamery, or equally ancient Dreyer’s, now owned by Nestle but still headquartered in Oakland. According to the Dreyer’s side of the story, ice cream maker William Dreyer invented the flavor after he teamed up with candy maker Joseph Edy to open Edy’s Grand Ice Cream in 1928 — so-named for its home on Oakland’s Grand Avenue. (Side story: The Edy’s name was later changed to Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream by William Dreyer, Jr, though the Dreyer’s company still uses the name Edy’s in Eastern markets to differentiate Dreyer’s from competitor Breyers ice cream). Joseph Edy, a candy maker, had already combined chocolate, nuts, and marshmallows in candy bar form, and William Breyer purportedly adapted the combination to ice cream, cutting the only marshmallows available at the time, which were large, with his wife’s sewing scissors. Fentons story is essentially the same, asserting that Dreyer and Edy stole the name and idea from Fentons candy maker George Farren. Hold on: Why fight over the innovation of adding a few ingredients to ice cream? Sure, in today’s Ben and Jerry’s world, rocky road might not seem to stand out, but at the time, it was a big step forward, since only flavors like strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate were commonly available. — Caleb Pershan

4226 Piedmont Ave
Oakland, CA 94611

4. Cioppino

552 Green St, San Francisco, CA 94133

While this Italian-American seafood stew resembles some tomato-based cousins served around Northern Italy, cioppino is definitively native to San Francisco for one main reason: a true version has to be made with Dungeness crab and Pacific shellfish. The biggest contingent of Italians who immigrated to San Francisco in the late 19th Century were from Liguria, where they made a similar stew called ciuppin, but legend has it that fisherman around North Beach had a community tradition of carrying an empty pot around to their fisherman brethren when they came back empty-handed from a day on the water. Friends were expected to toss in anything extra they might have, resulting in a catch-of-the-day stew, and they expected the same on days when their catch was dismal too. The modern version, according to Saveur, comes from Genoese immigrant Giuseppe Bazzuro at his eponymous SF restaurant, ca. 1850. And like the Provencal French version, bouillabaisse, cioppino is best served with grilled bread. Beyond North Beach haunts like Sotto Mare, you’ll find good versions at Tadich Grill and Woodhouse Fish Co.

552 Green St
San Francisco, CA 94133

5. Pisco Punch

155 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

Famed San Francisco barman Duncan Nicol invented Pisco Punch at the Bank Exchange Saloon, on the Montgomery Block where the TransAmerica Pyramid now stands, back in the 1890s. Pisco, you see, was commonly found next other American spirits in San Francisco bars in the 19th century thanks to a busy trade route with South America, and the grape-based Peruvian brandy became quite popular here. Nicol used it to create his signature punch, mixing it with pineapple juice, lime juice, sugar, and gum syrup. As one writer at the time described it, “It tastes like lemonade but comes back with the kick of a roped steer.” Get your kicks with a version at pisco bar Destino or, for a classic SF feel, Comstock Saloon.

155 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133

6. Chop Suey

713 Clay St, San Francisco, CA 94108

The origins of Chop Suey as a phenomenon in Chinese-American cuisine can very probably be traced to San Francisco’s Chinatown and the need to create inexpensive food that would appeal to Western palates during the Gold Rush and subsequent years. Though there’s some debate about where it comes from the main evidence is this: Most Chinese immigration came through San Francisco, and San Francisco introduced Americans to Chinese food twice, once in the Gold Rush era, and again to regional and in particular Mandarin and Imperial Chinese cuisine with Cecilia Chiang’s The Mandarin restaurant in the 1960s. A popular myth has it that a Chinatown chef was trying to serve some drunken miners one night in the 1860s, and threw together leftovers in a wok including vegetables, meat, and eggs — and this jives with another theory connected to a 19th century dish from Taishan called tsap seui (“miscellaneous leftovers”). Find a take at Chinatown classic Sam Wo’s under the “vegetables” section.

713 Clay St
San Francisco, CA 94108

7. Green Goddess Dressing

558 Sacramento St, San Francisco, CA 94111

Like Chicken Tetrazzini, Green Goddess Dressing sprang from the kitchen at the Palace Hotel, where you can still find it at the The Garden Court — but these days, seek out the version at new classic Wayfare Tavern. As the story goes, in 1923, hotel chef Philip Roemer decided to make the dressing in tribute to a play that was in town starring famed actor George Arliss, called The Green Goddess. For inspiration, Roemer fell back on his French training and made a version of a traditional sauce au vert, combining anchovies, scallions, parsley, tarragon, mayonnaise, tarragon vinegar, and chives. Some modern versions add avocado as well, but that is not part of the original recipe, and at the Palace these days you’ll find a lighter version, made with an egg but no mayonnaise. As for the namesake play, which was later turned into two films starring Arliss, it’s some overtly racist drivel in which Arliss, in brownface, plays an Indian maharajah.

558 Sacramento St
San Francisco, CA 94111

8. Hangtown Fry

240 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

A Gold Rush-era invention that is undoubtedly rooted in Northern California, the Hangtown Fry has its supposed origins in Placerville, which was then called Hangtown, up in Gold Country. One legend has it that a man waiting to be executed requested an “oyster omelette” as his last meal, and knowing that the oysters would have to be bought by the coast a hundred miles away, thereby delayed his execution. The original omelette, which is really a scramble or frittata, was made with fried oysters and bacon, and the version you’ll find at Tadich Grill, where the dish has been served since the place opened in 1850, has mushrooms, onions, and tomatoes in it as well.

240 California St
San Francisco, CA 94111

9. Celery Victor

374 Bush St, San Francisco, CA 94104

This unusual dish of braised and chilled celery dressed in anchovies and tarragon was the invention of chef Victor Hirtzler of the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco around 1910. It first appeared in a 1914 cookbook titled A Bohemian Guide to San Francisco Restaurants by Clarence Edwords, and soon gained national popularity. It seems sort of old-fashioned and odd now (celery braised in chicken broth?), but various local chefs have tried to contemporize it for modern audiences. An alternate version featuring bay shrimp and cherry tomatoes along with anchovy fillets and a vinaigrette can still be had at Sam’s Grill in the FiDi.

374 Bush St
San Francisco, CA 94104

10. Crab Louie

1517 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109

A dish called Crab Leg à Louis appears on a 1908 menu at the classic high-end SF spot The Old Poodle Dog, and in 1910, St. Francis hotel chef Victor Hirtzler had a version on his menu as well. By 1914, the recipe for this mayonnaise-y crab salad would make an appearance in the cookbook A Bohemian Guide to San Francisco Restaurants by Clarence Edwords, the same one that first featured Celery Victor. Around town you’ll still find plenty of versions of this simple, cold shellfish dish made with shrimp, as well as crab, but the old-school versions are at the OG spots like Tadich Grill and Swan Oyster Depot.

1517 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94109

11. Chicken Tetrazzini

2 New Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94105
The Palace Hotel
Travis Wise/Flickr

This dish — which American food historian James Beard credits to Palace Hotel chef Ernest Arbogast — was named in honor of opera singer Luisa Tetrazzini, who famously gave the “gift” of her singing to San Francisco with a free concert in the middle of Market Street on Christmas Eve, 1910. Based around an alfredo sauce, it’s a dish of linguine with mushrooms, peas, and chicken in a white-wine cream sauce, topped with breadcrumbs, and perfect in a casserole. It’s a comfort food classic that has become such a frozen-food-aisle cliche that most chefs don’t even try modernizing it. You won’t find it at the Palace Hotel these days, but try making it yourself via Giada De Laurentiis’ recipe, or score the Stouffer’s turkey version.

2 New Montgomery St
San Francisco, CA 94105

12. Fortune Cookies

75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118

Though a couple of Los Angeles bakers have tried to claim credit for creating the fortune cookie, food historians agree that the most reliable origin story comes from San Francisco. The reason is this: A very similar looking cookie existed in Japan dating back to the 19th century, though it was a savory variety flavored with miso, and there is also a tradition in Japan called omikuji in which random fortunes are written on slips of paper. Japanese immigrant Makoto Hagiwara, who opened San Francisco’s Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park in 1894, is said to have ordered the sweet, folded cookies from San Francisco confectioner Benkyodo (which is still open in Japantown) in 1918, so they could be served at the tea garden. The move into Chinese restaurants came during World War II, when most of SF’s Japanese-Americans were put in internment camps. The Smithsonian says that Chinese businessmen then took the opportunity to copy the recipe and market the cookies to Chinese restaurants, and the rest is history. You’ll find them almost anywhere in Chinatown, but look out for the small, delicious-smelling Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory.

75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr
San Francisco, CA 94118

13. The Burrito

2399 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Food historians will argue that the burrito has its origins in Mexico and in the American southwest before it made its way to San Francisco’s Mission district. But a pair of Mission taquerias each claims to have made the first Mission-style burrito (using a large flour tortilla and stuffing it with rice and beans as well as meat), Taqueria La Cumbre and El Faro Taqueria. La Cumbre says they invented the Mission burrito in 1969, while El Faro says that its owner created the first burritos of this kind, using two six-inch tortillas, for a group of firefighters in 1961. Still others claim that this portable, all-in-one meal was the invention of cooks who served Chicano farm workers, and it was one or more of these cooks who introduced the Mission burrito to city taquerias.

2399 Folsom St
San Francisco, CA 94110

14. It's-It Ice Cream

865 Burlway Rd, Burlingame, CA 94010

The Bay Area’s iconic chocolate-dipped ice cream cookie sandwich was born at San Francisco’s answer to Coney Island, Playland-by-the-Beach. There, at a no-name refreshment stand, George Whitney was inspired in 1928 to sandwich a scoop of ice cream between two oatmeal cookies, and cover the whole thing in dark chocolate. The treat became an instant hit, and eventually the ice cream stand would get a sign above it that said “This is IT,” which would ultimately lead to the sandwich’s odd name. It wasn’t until the 1970s, after the demolition of Playland, that the name and recipe were sold to its current owners, the Shamieh family, who opened the company’s existing production facility south of the city in Burlingame. Demand would only grow as IT’S-ITs showed up in stores far from Ocean Beach, and now the factory produces and packs 100,000 sandwiches a day, in eight different flavors.

865 Burlway Rd
Burlingame, CA 94010

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