While he may have adopted San Francisco as his home, the hus-b is still a born-and-bred New Yorker, and as such never fails to complain about the woeful quality of bagels and pizza in California. The worst insult he can dish out? “This isn’t pizza. It’s California pizza.” Burn. Anywhinynewyorker, our temporary displacement to the East Bay has led to the surprising discovery of the best bagel and best pizza the hus-b has ever eaten on the Left Coast. Here are the bagels and pizza worth braving a bridge and a tunnel to get to:
Sunrise Bagels in Concord dishes up superb bagels that are crusty on the outside and satisfyingly chewy on the inside. I knew they were good when I took my first bite; I knew they were awesome when the hus-b started interrogating my mother about their provenance. Far superior to San Francisco favorites House of Bagels and The Bagelry (don’t even mention that bakery disguised as a bagel shop that starts with an “N”), Sunrise Bagels actually boils their bagels in small-batch production to ensure perfect texture and freshness. A mixed dozen of sourdough and cinnamon-raisin has fast become a mandatory weekly pick up, with my mom often waiting an extra 10 minutes just to score a batch hot from the oven (she knows how to keep the New Yorker and the pregnant monster happy).
The hus-b and I also can’t shut up about how much we loved Boot & Shoe Service in Oakland. The tomato, housemade sausage, panna and marjoram pizza was the hus-b’s favorite (and the lucky pie anointed “best pizza in California”). We also thought the spring onion and black olive pizza topped with a farm egg was excellent. (YES, sancti-mommies, I ate an over-easy egg while pregnant. It was local, organic and damn delicious. Calm yourselves.) We were also very impressed by the other menu offerings, including a stellar little gem lettuce and radish salad with buttermilk dressing that I am still fantasizing about and a perfectly creamy panna cotta. Boot & Shoe Service also has a killer (albeit hipster-infested) bar that features our favorite (and difficult-to-find) Cap Rock gin. It was super fun watching the hus-b drink his Cap Rock martini while I sipped my Erdinger non-alcoholic beer. Really. It was totally cool. Not. Bitter. At. All.