Laura Smith Borrman

Laura Smith Borrman is the author of Iconic San Francisco Dishes, Drinks, and Desserts (Arcadia Publishing, 2017).

The roots of San Francisco’s celebrated food and drink culture are as diverse as the city itself. A bountiful ocean, rich soil, and ingenious residents combined to create unforgettable and enduring gastronomic legacies. Discover the disputed origins of local specialties like the chicken tetrazzini, chop suey, and the classic martini, along with the legend behind the creation of Green Goddess dressing.

Learn how the abundance of the bay contributed to classics like the hangtown fry and cioppino. Marvel at the introduction of America’s first fortune cookie by Benkyodo Candy Factory and how a lack of refrigeration spawned the iconic Anchor Steam Beer. Honor the Mission burrito and the immigrant family who saved a local American classic, the It’s It ice cream sandwich. Featuring classic and modern recipes from beloved establishments, the book celebrates these legends and explores the status of these foods today.


These are the legacy foods and drinks of San Francisco – the martini, sourdough bread, chicken tetrazzini, Joe’s special, the It’s-It, and so many more – with hotly disputed origin stories and beautiful modern expressions by revered chefs and barkeeps across the city and beyond. Iconic San Francisco Dishes, Drinks and Desserts features bartenders, chefs, culinary historians, and fans speaking about the city’s famous contributions to the food and booze scene. Stories and recipes await you.

California native Laura Smith Borrman is a writer, editor, story gatherer, lover of food and drink, and author of Discovering Vintage San Francisco (2015) and Wine Country Chef’s Table (2012). She has worked in pastry kitchens, culinary travel, public radio, research, and the corporate world.She was honored as a 2017 Library Laureate by Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, and writes about the city and the people who’ve shaped it at Discovering Vintage San Francisco and about food memories, recipes and motherhood at Cravings of Home. She lives with her husband (the photographer for her two most recent books) and children in Oakland.