Cookie Crawl in Trendy Valencia Corridor

Cookie jars at Paxton Gate Curiosities where we started our cookie crawl.
Cookie jars at Paxton Gate Curiosities where we started our cookie crawl. 

Another Saturday in San Francisco’s Mission District but this time for the 3rd Annual Holiday Cookie Crawl. The event was brought to us by the Valencia Corridor Merchants Association to benefit the local nonprofit Raphael House of San Francisco which helps at risk San Francisco families with stable housing and financial independence.

Mestelle and I arrived at 10:30 in the morning. The event started at 12:00pm so we had time to try out a local favorite, Tartine Bakery & Cafe, for some freshly made baked goods. The constant line whenever I pass by is telling of how popular this place is. Their more famous pastries can sell out in the afternoon so we decided to come early. We waited about 20 minutes in line. Once we got to the display cases, it was a matter of self control as everything looked tempting. I had to get the banana cream pie, which was sold out the last time I came, a coconut cream pie and a few other of their pastries. It can get crowded inside and you have to be quick in order to snag an open table. Thankfully, they have outside seating and it wasn’t too cold outside to take a few bites of our dessert haul.

Banana Cream Pie (left) and Coconut Cream Pie (right) at Tartine Bakery
Banana Cream Pie (left) and Coconut Cream Pie (right)
Pain Au Chocolat, Mexican Wedding Cookie,  Chocolate Chunk Cookie and a Morning Bun at Tartine Bakery
Pain Au Chocolat, Mexican Wedding Cookie,
Chocolate Chunk Cookie and a Morning Bun
Large 826 Valencia Address in San Francisco's Mission District
Large 826 Valencia Address in San Francisco’s Mission District  
Valencia Corridor Merchant's Association Cookie Crawl Flyer          Valencia Corridor Merchant's Association Cookie Crawl Map
After lunch, we walked a block to Valencia St. to start the cookie crawl. Merchants that took part in the event had red balloons outside their shops. The first shop we saw with the red balloons was Paxton Gate’s Curiosities For Kids, which has a selection of puzzles, costumes, wooden toys and other unique gifts for children. At the register, our $10 donations snagged us each a bag for the cookies, a map that listed the various participating businesses and also our first cookies.
We headed south and kept our eye out for the red balloons. Between 16th and 21st streets, there were a cluster of shops listed on the map so it wasn’t such a far walk between places at our start. Valencia St is known for being a great neighborhood for dining, boutiques and eccentric shops. While I’ve been to a few places that were listed on the map, there were also many that I hadn’t even known about. It was such a treat to walk into a store, previously unknown to me, and be pleasantly surprised by what’s inside. 
We walked into 826 Valencia Pirate Supply Store. The front section of the store is small but packed with all the essentials for your next Jack Sparrow themed party. A quick view of their website reveals that they are also a non-profit that helps kids with writing skills. A few more stores that stood out were Serendipity and Little Paper Planes with their assortment of stationery items, cards and other quirky gifts. Probably my favorite discovery of the day was Paxton Gate, which had various items from crystal stones, succulents, terrariums, taxidermy, and many more nature related goods. My husband has recently been getting into making his own shrimp ecosphere. Maybe a terrarium will go nicely with it? 
Succulent Wall Frame at Paxton Gate Curiosities For Kids in SF's Mission District
Succulent Wall Frame at Paxton Gate Curiosities For Kids
826 Valencia Pirate Supply Store in SF Mission District
826 Valencia Pirate Supply Store
Xanath Ice Cream in SF's Mission District
Xanath Ice Cream Display Case.
I will definitely come back to try their saffron ice cream.
   
Little Paper Planes in SF's Mission District
Little Paper Planes
  
Purple Christmas Tree at Serendipity in SF's Mission District
Purple Christmas Tree at Serendipity
Cookie Crawl map after the event in SF's Mission Distrcit
Post Cookie Crawl Map
Walking around for an hour made us hungry so we took a break and had lunch at Mission Cheese. Mestelle ordered the California Gold Sandwich which had chevre, prosciutto and fig reserves while I had the Farmer’s Plate of 2 cheese items and 1 meat and we shared the mac & cheese. It was a nice light and savory lunch and afterwards we went next door to Dandelion Chocolate for some hot chocolate.  
Mac & Cheese (left), California Gold Sandwich (right),
and a 2 Cheese and 1 Meat Farmer’s Plate (bottom), 
Sign Board Outside Mission Cheese
European Drinking Chocolate at Dandelion Chocolate
European Drinking Chocolate at Dandelion Chocolate
  

Back home, I surveyed the loot and counted 16 cookies. As you can see, what each shop handed out was different. They’re another 16 sugary additions to the morning’s Tartine Bakery pastries. It looks like I’ll have to brush my teeth twice as long tonight. We also couldn’t help but buy some empanada’s at Venga Empanada since they were also handing out cookies for the event.

Cookie Haul from the Various Shops on Valencia Corridor
Cookie Haul from the Various Shops on Valencia Corridor.   
Extra nice of Xanath Ice Cream to include these measuring spoons
with the cookies that they gave away. 
Argenine Beef Empanada at Venga Empanada in SF's Mission District
Argenine Beef Empanada at Venga Empanada

The Cookie Crawl was not only a cookie collecting activity but also a great way to discover the many unique shops that line Valencia St. The next time I go back to the Mission, I’ll remember to check out the new stores that I visited and maybe even pick up a few succulents.

  
– Jamie  

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