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feedback needed on San Francisco trip (3 days)
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harpospeaking



Joined: 13 Sep 2005
Posts: 194
Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 2:04 am    Post subject: feedback needed on San Francisco trip (3 days) Reply with quote

Hi everyone,

I'm hoping to tap into the advice of our San Francisco correspondants (or anyone who knows city very very well). I'm planning a 3 day trip to San Francisco right after Christmas with my mom. Would you be so kind as to review my itinerary and let me know if there's some restaurant or food shop I absolutely should visit? I'll be staying at hotel in Nob Hill and we won't have a rental car so places will need to be accessible via public transportation, taxi or walking.

Here goes:

Day one - Arrival

We expect to land in Oakland Airport around 10:15 am, take a shuttle provided by our hotel and be at Nob Hill by noon. As check-in time is at 3 pm, I thought we'd walk over to the Swan Oyster Depot and try some clam chowder and some cracked dungeness crab.

By the time lunch is over (I heard there's always a line outside the Swan Oyster Depot), I expect to check into my hotel room and unwind a bit.

Weather permitting, I'd like to tour North Beach and get some good coffee. Suggestions?

Dinner - not sure about what to have here. If the weather is bad, we'll probably stay in and eat at one of the hotel's restaurants. (We're staying at the Intercontinental Mark Taper on Nob Hill.) If, however, you know of any great restaurants in Nob Hill, could you pass a recommendation my way? I'm looking forward to great French and Italian food.


Day Two: SF Tour

I found a shuttle tour company that takes you out and about SF for 5 hours starting at 11:15 am. You meet the tour at the Ferry Building and it hits a lot of major highlights like Sausalito (via Ferry), Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown, Palace of Fine Arts, Nob Hill, Grace Cathedral, Lombard Street, Golden Gate Park, Japanese Tea Garden, Alamo Square Park, Cable Car Barn Museum. It sounds like information overload, but I thought it would be a nice way to get an overview of San Francisco.

https://www.sanfranshuttletours.com/itinerary_day_1.htm

Re Sausalito - If by chance, we stop long enough in Sausalito, can anyone recommend a nice place for lunch? Also, could you tell me what you like there? I love getting restaurant recommendations with actual meal recommendations too.

Dinner - still no clue as to where we're eating. Recommendations please!


Day Three: Last call for touring and going home

Our flight leaves at 6:55 pm from Oakland Airport, but I'd like to get in the following:

- Gourmet food shopping at the Ferry Building (morning) or Union Square

- Tea at the Ritz Carlton before leaving for the airport (please let me know if this is overrated)

Please let me know if I'm missing out on anything really great. My main interests in San Francisco are: food, architecture, food markets, spectacular views (might be limited given this time of year), great coffee and used book stores. Based on Clotilde's pictures of food from the Ferry Building, I know this won't be my last trip to SF.

Thanks in advance for your help!
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srk



Joined: 09 Apr 2005
Posts: 85
Location: Berkeley, CA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Harpo,

My favorite culinary place in SF is the Ferry Building, and it's a fantastic place to get lunch as well as for gourmet shopping. If the weather is good and if you like walking (and don't mind hills!), here's my favorite several-hours-with-stops walking tour, which includes good views, good food, and a good bookstore.

I usually start with lunch at the Ferry Building, then walk up Embarcadero a few blocks and then over to Columbus Ave (by the base of the Transamerica building, one of the defining buildings in the SF skyline) and up Columbus - I do mean UP - through North Beach, the Italian-American part of town. Stop at City Lights bookstore, a famous Beat bookshop owned by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Then go for coffee, go to Stella's Pastries, etc (or save this for later). When fortified, keep going up. After lots of up and a few turns (look at a map before you do this!), you'll reach Coit Tower, a city landmark on the top of Telegraph Hill with fabulous views and Depression-era murals around the inside of the base. Then head back down through North Beach, stopping anywhere you missed en route. You can also veer off into Chinatown from North Beach, which will be en route-ish back to Nob Hill. Be forewarned that most of the food I've had in Chinatown is so-so (Oakland's Chinatown is better, real instead of touristy), but the ABC Bakery has tasty Chinese pastries, buns, etc that make for delicious snacks.

Have fun!
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Donna and I just went to the farmers' market in the ferry building this past weekend and I don't mind taking the excuse to show off a few of the reasons srk is providing a wonderful idea.

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Donna



Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 827
Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I certainly agree with everybody so far!

The Farmer's Market at the Ferry Building is open on Tuesdays and Saturdays - if that jibes with your trip. And there are plenty of tasty little places to get lunch inside. Rainey and I found a seafood place and she had an oyster po'boy and I had a softshell crab po'boy on Saturday - sitting on the ferry dock (being grateful we could not see oil from the dreadful spill, but depressed that we knew it was out there).

I will recommend some restos that I ADORE -

•Grand Cafe on Geary (west of Mason I think, so just below Nob Hill)

• Rue Lepic - absolutely French as French can be and just formidable! on Pine (at Mason, I think)

• Foreign Cinema on Mission at 24th or 25th I think - one of my all time faves! Very creative wonderful food! And a great wine list! Cool

• If you like little French Bistros with typical French (but very well made and DEE-LISH) French food, Cafe Claude is on Claude Lane and across the street on Belden Alley is Plouf (French onamatapoeia for the sound a drop of water makes when it hits). This is in the Financial District - not too far from Nob Hill - you can take the cable car!

Have fun!
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harpospeaking



Joined: 13 Sep 2005
Posts: 194
Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow! Those pics of the farmers market at the Ferry Building are gorgeous! How much time do you think I should give myself (before my SF tour starts) to look around the market? I will be there on Saturday morning, so things will be in full swing.

Thanks everyone for the suggestions; your knowledge is invaluable.
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes. The colors of those beans were wonderful. Much richer than the pix indicate.

Why I took pix instead of grabbing a bag I do not know! Shocked The 'shrooms were to die for. ...and they had a handy poster of poisonous mushrooms hanging up. ...just in case, I suppose.

Don't miss the culinary antiques. I could have spent a fortune there if I'd had one. Lucky Donna may have found herself a prize. Wink
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Donna



Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 827
Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I forgot a couple of things -

Bookstores - don't forget to hit City Lights on Columbus if you are in North Beach. The home of the beats since 1953. Lawrence Ferlinghetti started it!

Tea at the Ritz - I love going there - I do so every 10 years or so, but it's very dear! I think tea runs between $50 and $90 depending on which menu you choose! (for two) But it is atmospheric and lovely!
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harpospeaking



Joined: 13 Sep 2005
Posts: 194
Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the tip re the City Lights Bookstore, Donna! I've heard nothing but great things about this bookshop. While I was on vacation in England, it was my goal to find a nice vintage hardcopy of James Joyce's "Ulysses" (unfortunately, I haven't gotten around to finishing it!). This time around, I'll try and hunt down a nice volume of e. e. cummings or Emily Dickinson's poetry. I'm not much of a fan of the beat poets.

(The e. e. cummings volume reminds me so much of that scene from "Hannah and Her Sisters" where Michael Kane woos Barbara Hershey with a volume of e. e. cummings and the poem "somewhere i have never traveled")
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Donna



Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 827
Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also forgot to mention one of my FAVORITE Italian restos - l'Osteria del Forno. It's on Columbus Ave - 519 Columbus - closer to the Church of St. Peter and St Paul. VERRRRRY TINY (seriously) but well worth the wait for a FABULOUS Italian meal - not pasta centered. Everything is cooked "al forno" or in the oven. Great meat dishes including a pork braised in milk and a "Roast of the Day". Rosemary potatoes are to die for also! If you go for lunch they have great foccacia sandwiches.

If you go for dinner, go early - 5:00 or 5:30 PM!
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harpospeaking



Joined: 13 Sep 2005
Posts: 194
Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds heavenly Donna! I'll be sure to check it out. Just the mention of non-pasta centric Italian food and rosemary potatoes brings me back to Tuscany where I ate my weight in meals. Very Happy
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Lilia Dignan



Joined: 23 Mar 2005
Posts: 159
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harpospeaking,

I think everybody has covered everything so far. Just want to add the following.

For your Day 1 dinner suggestions in Nob Hill: 1) Venticello Ristorante, 1257 Taylor Street (just a few short blocks from your hotel) and 2) Rue Saint Jacques on Taylor Street at Pacific Avenue (just another block away from Venticello).

In Sausalito, there is Sabella's which we like by the water for seafood.

At the Ferry Plaza: The Hog Island Oyster Company where you can eat at tables on the terrace overlooking the Bay. Great View! This might be the same place where Donna and Rainey had lunch last Saturday. Another favorite is a Vietnamese resto, The Slanted Door (it is always crowded but serves really wonderful dishes).

Other suggestions:
Rose Pistola (in North Beach - lots of grilled foods and great atmosphere), 532 Columbus Avenue.
Bocadillos (a casual Basque Restaurant - no reservations needed - have beatiful Spanish wines and good Spanish hams), 710 Montgomery Street is still in the Financial District but very close to North Beach.

Weather in SF could be variable - sunny with some rains, colder than Pasadena but much milder than the East Coast; could have a lot of fog as well.

Happy planning and do enjoy your stay in San Francisco. Who knows, I might run into you. I live just down the hill from your hotel.

-Lilia
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harpospeaking



Joined: 13 Sep 2005
Posts: 194
Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the additional suggestions Lilia! Now I'm stuck with the "problem" of having too many great places to choose from. You live in Nob Hill? What an amazing place to live! PM me if you want to try and get together for lunch/dinner in Nob Hill. I'll be in town starting Friday afternoon on 12/28 through Sunday afternoon 12/30.
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Lilia Dignan



Joined: 23 Mar 2005
Posts: 159
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 11:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just looked at your itinerary and found out you will only get 45 minutes in Sausalito. That would probably not enough time to eat at Sabella's or The Spinnaker.

The farmer's market at the Ferry Plaza starts early. 8:30 or 9:00 would give you plenty of time to do a little of the market before your tour. You may even want to pick up something for your lunch there. I normally go to the market on Saturdays when I'm not babysitting my 3-year old grandfille. I will pm you - hopefully I will be free to see you and your Mom.

I think that Rue Saint Jacques has an early bird special. Rue Lepic from Donna's post is just a block down the hill from The Mark on Mason and Pine.

Hoping to be able to get together with you and your Mom. I will let you know as soon as possible!

-Lilia
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ripley



Joined: 16 Jan 2007
Posts: 35
Location: Oakland, CA, USA

PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2007 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, Oakland is more than an airport, you know!

If you take the BART you can walk to Old Oakland without too much trouble.

there's a couple great used bookstores (with old and rare and fun finds) in downtown Oakland , Bibliomania, on 1816 Telegraph and The Bookmark on 721 Washington St.

there are some really nice places for breakfast/brunch/lunch, like the Cock-a-doodle Cafe 719 Washington S (just up from The Bookmark), or Luka's who have a southern-style weekend brunch (2221 Broadway), or farther over to Jack London Square (maybe a 15 minute walk from the Cock-a-doodle cafe) is the Fat Lady, a sorta New Orleans-style restaurant that does a good brunch as well, crazy speakeasy style decoration inside and seats outside in good weather too.

Dinner in the Temescal part of Oakland (up Telegraph better to take a bus) can be great at Dona Tomas, an upscale mexican restaurant, quite creative and delicious.

Overall, you shouldn't miss Blue Bottle Coffee (http://www.bluebottlecoffee.net/) , which is amazing, micro-roasted in Oakland and served in a few places around town (they have very strict requirements on how it can be prepared so it can't be sold under the Blue Bottle name unless the restaurant/cafe meets their standards) - one place is in Hayes Valley (315 Linden Street) in San Francisco, and another is Guerilla Cafe in Berkeley

And the place in SF you really should not miss is The Richmond district. On Clement street, there is a simply HUGE incredible bookstore called Green Apple Books that I can spend hours in, and a truly fantastic Burmese restaurant called Burma Super Star - the best way to get in (there's usually a wait) is to go early, put your name and cell phone number on their waitlist, and then walk up the street to Green Apple and browse until you get called for dinner!
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Donna



Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 827
Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2007 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ripley - I am a big Blue Bottle fan! We buy it every week at the Temecal farmer's market! And today, I went to the roastery, because I ran out and couldn't wait until Sunday!

Do you go to the Temescal market?
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