A liquor store on a quiet street corner, New Daly City Market might be easy to pass by were it not for the enticing aromas of roasting beef and dutch crunch rolls toasting that waft out from within. Inside, just past the bottles of spirits, wine, and beer is the source of the scents: a small sandwich counter stocked with crisp vegetables, deli meats, and gourmet cheeses. There, skilled sandwich makers bustle about behind the counter, spreading garlic sauce onto crunchy loaves before layering on the likes of turkey and pepper jack cheese. Once sandwiches are wrapped in crisp white paper, customers take them out to the patio chairs on the front walk to dine alfresco or share by lobbing them newspaper-delivery-style at a friend’s front door.
The expert protein wranglers at Carroll's Meats delight patrons with lovingly sliced deli meats and a history that stretches back nearly a century. This Groupon can be redeemed at the deli counter for half a dozen delectable cold cuts, including blackened tri-tip beef, barbecue roast beef, lemon-garlic turkey, peppered turkey, roast turkey, or sausages, allowing patrons to stock up on materials for making sandwiches at home or sewing duvet covers out of meat slices (prices vary by availability and season).
In 1976, two UC Davis graduate students bought 20 acres of land in the highly arable Capay Valley. One of the students, Kathleen Barsotti, was working toward her master's degree in ecology and was determined to grow vegetables and fruits in an eco-friendly way: organically. The organic-food movement hadn't yet entered the public consciousness, and Kathleen worked overtime to convince restaurants, stores, and consumers of the taste-able merits of her process. Over time, given the possible health and environmental benefits of certified organic food, she succeeded. The farm sprouted to 300 acres to accommodate the increased demand. Today, a second generation runs the farm as well as a shop inside San Francisco's Ferry Building. Dubbed Farm Fresh To You, the store furnishes customers' bags or portable cornucopia horns with all sorts of soil-sprouted goods, including heirloom tomatoes, sweet peas, and fresh asparagus. The farm also teams up with fellow Yolo County and Pacific Northwest farms to deliver boxes of seasonal produce to area homes.
For Books Inc., it's been a long road, and if you trace the lines back to its origins, it's California's oldest bookstore. After striking gold—literally—back in 1851, Anton Roman set up shop as a bookseller. Although the shop moved, was sold, burned down, changed hands again, and was rebuilt, the spirit remained intact, and today, multiple locations of the indie bookstore have sprouted up across The Golden State. Staff members keep the shelves lined with classic and contemporary tomes in all genres, and a myriad of book clubs help keep the love of literature alive. They also run a vibrant event program featuring author events and readings where patrons can enjoy an experience they can't download.
One of the nicest things about Jump Start Coffee & Whole Foods is the way that the smallish shop interacts with its earlybird customers. Locals freshly roused from their homes in the hills, commuters greeting the newness of the day on their walk to the 24th Street BART station; all are welcome inside for a simple sunrise pick-me-up. A notch above the standard first-thing-in-the-morning café – and more full-service than corner stores that sell liquor, cigarettes and sad produce -- Noe Valley's Jump Start is a simple neighborhood classic. It's a deli that caters to the local work-from-home crowd and a coffee shop where ordering an extra shot of espresso won't get you the evil eye from the purist barista. Any day that starts with a bagel and a schmear from this happy-go-lucky spot is going to be just fine.
Every day, San Francisco Soup Company’s chefs craft crunchy salads and approximately 12 soups from scratch, keeping an eye on sustainability and seasonality. Both salads and soups showcase organic and locally sourced ingredients such as cage-free eggs from Glaum Egg Ranch and organic milk from Clover Stornetta, and soups cast tendrils of steam from biodegradable containers. San Francisco Soup Company’s commitment to conscious dining extends to the nutritional realms: each recipe comes with nutrition stats, and the menu even designates which soups are gluten-, meat- and dairy-free, and which soup spoons best shield noses from affectionate pinches.