It would be nice to think that I'm just expert at finding good food stores or that my incredibly developed sense of smell was leading me to cakes, bread, butchers and ice cream. But apart from Anthony's Cookies, that isn't true. I have two invaluable books to help me.
The first (Patricia Unterman's San Francisco Food Lover's Pocket Guide) is a personally selected guide to restaurants, cafes, bars, groceries, bookstores, equipment stores. It's short but detailed and so far hasn't missed once. I wouldn't have found Kamei, the kitchen equipment shop in Richmond, without it, or Dianda's Italian American Bakery, and for that matter we wouldn't have eaten at the Turkish restaurant, Troya. Unlike most guides this book isn't written for the visitor, though they would also find it useful. I think if you like food and live in San Francisco you really should own a copy of this, certainly if you've just moved it is a big help. Thanks to Celia Sacks at Omnivore for recommending it.
The second book is the Green Zebra book of vouchers for local, green and eco-friendly businesses. I'll admit I greeted this with scepticism at first. It is sold at our school to raise money and I wondered how useful I would find it. Actually, it has already paid for itself in savings - it cost $25. But it has also sent me off to less known shops and away from chains, which is all to the good. The book itself has some front matter about green issues, including handy things like a guide to which fish you should eat and which you shouldn't, which since I'm near a different ocean is all different from the guidance back in the UK. Then there are over 300 different organisations offering discounts from a few dollars off, or a free coffee to 20% off in some cases. The businesses range from restaurants, through food markets, to DIY specialists, Pilates studios, museums and so on. It's an idea that could be transferred I think - a very good way to get people to look for and try new small ethical businesses.