All Coastside roads lead to beach picnics.
Pacifica is well known for its surf breaks and, food-wise, for that Taco Bell (you know the one), but the coastal city is full of delightful food made by passionate people.
There’s Rosalind Bakery, whose sourdough loaves can hold their own among the Bay Area’s artisan ranks; and Satay By The Bay SF, a Singaporean street food truck whose owner left an unsatisfying job in insurance to cook the food she grew up eating; and Pacifica Pizza Project, a weekend pizza pop-up run by an industry couple who play with ingredients like pickled ramps and pork belly that they cure and smoke themselves.
The best part about Pacifica, particularly during the Times We Find Ourselves In, is that every spot on this list is a short walk or drive to the beach. So get your takeout orders in, create your own beach picnic adventure (Sourdough bread and spreads! Pupusas and natural wine! Filipino pastries and coffee!) and support these local eateries.
Matthew Kosoy used to make the pilgrimage from his home in Pacifica to San Francisco for Tartine Bakery’s famed country loaves. At some point, after all the driving and parking, it occurred to him that he could bring Tartine to Pacifica by making his own bread.
Kosoy grew quickly from selling loaves out of his home to the Pacifica farmers market to Rosalind Bakery, which he opened in 2019 a block away from the beach. Kosoy swears the fog and salty waves have worked their way into the DNA of his bread. The bakery also makes pastries and cookies (if you see toffeedoodles, grab a few), housemade butter and, these days, sourdough starter, yeast and proofing baskets for at-home pandemic baking.
Also, look for Rosalind’s ever-changing savory specials — think naturally leavened baguette with roasted market vegetables; bread pudding with navy beans, bacon, ham and carrot; grilled cheese with figs and apple and a not-to-miss breakfast sandwich with pimento cheese spread. Grab a loaf and some snacks for a beach picnic. (I told you!)
450 Manor Plaza, Pacifica; rosalindbakery.com/
Table Wine Merchant
Walk into Table Wine Merchant with any wine question and co-owner and certified sommelier Katie Brookshire will answer it kindly and without any judgment of your seriously lacking wine knowledge. Brookshire left a career in restaurants to settle down in Pacifica with her family and open the unfussy but well-stocked wine shop, where most wines are sustainably made and under $20, hence the name “table wine.” “If I give you a $15 bottle of wine that blows your mind, that’s more impressive,” she says. (Brookshire directed me to a wine made from grapes I had never heard of in Long Island, New York, which cost $14.99 and made the perfect pairing for Pacifica Pizza Project’s pepperoni pie.)
Don’t miss the pantry selection with imported goods like Sicilian oregano and Calabrian bomba spread — plus Table Wine’s own red wine vinegar, made in house from leftover wine — or the fridge at the front stocked with meats and cheeses (and beer and cider, if that’s more your thing). Table Wine is also a pickup location for local farm, meat and seafood CSAs.
You can shop in the store or order online for curbside pickup or delivery. With outdoor dining permissible again, Table Wine has resumed its Friday and Saturday night wine flights on the back patio, with food from next-door taqueria El Grano de Oro.
1710 Francisco Blvd. Suite A, Pacifica; tablewinemerchant.com
Satay By The Bay SF
You can often find the Satay By The Bay food truck parked one storefront over from Table Wine, outside El Toro Loco. Owner Elly Greenfield was raised in a food-centric family in Singapore. Her mother ran a malay catering business and taught cooking classes, which meant that she grew up doing schoolwork while watching cakes bake in their two home ovens.
Greenfield, who now lives in Pacifica, opened the Satay By The Bay truck in 2020 after feeling increasingly unsatisfied with her job as an insurance agent and disappointed by the Bay Area’s Singaporean food. She serves the street food she grew up cooking and eating, like marinated halal beef and chicken skewers with her grandmother’s peanut sauce (black-and-white photographs of her grandparents decorate the outside of the truck), nasi lemak and an impressive-looking chili crab sandwich stuffed with crab meat and a sweet chili sauce.
Greenfield’s dual mission is to “continue my mom’s cooking legacy” and “bring my customers back ‘home’ with our food, even when we are thousands of miles away.”
While outdoor dining was shut down, Satay By The Bay offered delivery and pickup but this week is back to roaming the Bay Area. Check social media for location updates.
1780 Francisco Blvd., Pacifica; sataybythebay.com
Colombo’s has been making Italian sandwiches and handmade ravioli in Pacifica since 1986, when Emil and Doris Colombo bought Francesca’s Deli in the Pacific Manor Village Shopping Center. Food ran in the family — Emil’s mother was known for her homemade pastas and sauces, and she eventually started her own catering business — and still does to this day. (In 2019, the Colombo family reopened the beloved Woodside Deli in Redwood City, which had been run by relatives.)
These sandwiches are the real deal, like the “Godfather” (mortadella, toscano salame, coppa, prosciutto, provolone, oil, vinegar, oregano, pepperoncini, artichoke hearts, onions, tomato and lettuce on a house-baked sourdough roll) or the “Sicilian” (hot or mild sausage with ricotta cheese, olive oil, lettuce, tomato and pepperoncini on sourdough). You can also stock up on Colombo’s frozen gnocchi, ravioli and other pastas.
484 Manor Plaza, Pacifica; colombosdeli.com
Pacifica Pizza Project
Ryan Wilson and Natalie Wong’s pandemic passion project making fresh pizza at home has morphed into a weekend pop-up dubbed the Pacifica Pizza Project. The couple, who met in culinary school, sell about 20 pizzas a night on the weekends, all made on a wood-fired oven attached to their backyard smoker. They’ve obsessively tweaked their dough recipe to yield their ideal texture and flavor, using three kinds of flour — 00, bread and AP — and letting it proof for three days in the refrigerator.
The menu is simple with just cheese, margherita, pepperoni, funghi-leek and a rotating special inspired by family trips to the farmers market. But there’s a lot of care in these pizzas: The couple makes their own chili oil, lamb merguez sausage and herb-cured pork belly (and on a recent weekend, smoked brisket), plus a zippy, herbaceous ranch you will end up scooping out of the container with your crust, guaranteed. The ranch is made with sour cream, buttermilk, fennel pollen, pickled ramps, herbs and Meyer lemon from their home garden and a dash of yuzu juice. (The fennel pollen is inspired by Wilson’s childhood spent among the wild fennel growing on the hillsides of Marin.)
The couple moved from San Francisco to Pacifica, Wong’s hometown, about a year and a half ago. They come from the restaurant world, Wilson as a chef and Wong as a general manager. After having their son, they eventually left for the more forgiving schedule of corporate kitchens.
“It was time to spend time with family and not be in the restaurant business, but oddly enough here we are serving people on the weekends, which is what we were trying to get away from,” Wilson said. “But it’s fun and we’re really enjoying it.”
Pacifica Pizza Project is open Friday-Sunday evenings and takes orders on Instagram. You can ask for par-baked pizza and finish them off at home if you don’t live close by (or just take that hot pie straight to the beach).
Craftsman Coffee serves espresso drinks out of an adorable 1961 Citroën H van parked at the Sea Bowl parking lot on Hwy. 1, with ocean views across the street. Owners Kirk and Judy Hayes started roasting coffee in their Pacifica home several years ago and eventually graduated to the Coastside Farmers’ Market before embarking on the dream of a vintage coffee truck (which reportedly took a year-and-a-half to upgrade and ship from the United Kingdom to California).
The van opened at the Sea Bowl parking lot in November. In addition to small batch coffee, Craftsman makes a cacoco mocha, golden milk, chai tea and honey tea latte. You can also buy freshly roasted beans sourced from farms around the world and instant coffee made from a crystallized blend of Brazil and Kenya roasted coffee.
The van is open Wednesday-Friday from 7:30 a.m. to noon but follow Craftsman Coffee on Instagram for pop-ups and other updates. Credit card only.
4625 CA-1, Pacifica; crftsmncoffee.com
Fog City Eats
What was once Pacifica’s Fog City Yogurt is now Fog City Eats, a tiny storefront that shifted from serving frozen yogurt to pupusas and other Salvadoran food in December. You can order four kinds of pupusas — cheese, zucchini-cheese, revueltas (pork and cheese) or spinach-cheese — plus Wednesday through Sunday, Salvadoran breakfast plates like casamiento (fried rice with beans, cheese, sour cream and eggs), fried plantains with handmade tortillas and Salvadoran tamales.
1610 Francisco Blvd., Pacifica; fogcity.shop
Load up on señorita bread, lumpia, bibingka, pan de sal and other Filipino baked goods at Starbread Bakery’s Pacifica outpost. The family-owned Starbread was born in 1988 in Vallejo and has since made a name in the Bay Area with its soft señorita bread filled with butter and brown sugar — and sometimes special flavors like guava and nutella.
1261 Linda Mar Shopping Center, Pacifica; starbreadca.com
San Francisco cookie pop-up Sunflour recently relocated to Pacifica, so locals now have access to Julie Tayag’s home-baked creations, like ube-filled coconut cookies and brown-butter hazelnut chocolate chip cookies.
Tayag bakes cookies on evenings and weekends on the side of her full-time job at Genentech and started selling them on Instagram during the pandemic last year. A self-taught baker who loves recreating cookie nostalgia, her flavors range from fruity cereal milk (fruity cereal cookie dough filled with Valrhona ivore and topped with crushed rainbow cereal) to classic chocolate chip.
“I love making flavors that remind me of all my favorite childhood treats,” Tayag said.
She also sells frozen cookie dough so you can bake at home as you please.
Follow Sunflour on Instagram for information on future cookie drops.
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