It’s no secret that I love Seattle and the culinary treasures it holds. Rare is a city that holds a candle to our fresh ingredients and inventive chefs. I must admit, though, that the moment I stepped into the San Francisco gastronomic scene, I easily could’ve never looked back!
- A Room with a View
San Francisco’s grand dame – the Westin Saint Francis – stole my heart! With an enormous corner room and views down to Union Square, it was easy to imagine what this girl looked like back when she opened in 1902!
- Baseball and Beer
Winners this day weren’t just the Dodgers! 21st Amendment Brewing‘s Hell or High Watermelon was a delightfully refreshing surprise on a seasonally-unexpected hot day. My ballpark favorite? Delicious Dungeness Crab sandwich from Crazy Crab’z upper-deck food nook. For such a ridiculously-named shack, their crab sandwich far surpassed my expectations. The big bonus at AT&T Park? Gin & Tonics at your seat!
- Dinner in the Panhandle District
I’d put out a culinary SOS to friends prior to my SF trip and was delighted at the breadth of suggestions given to me. Nopalito was one that caught my eye: the freshest, organic, sustainable ingredients brought this neighborhood Mexican restaurant to life. My tip? Enjoy dinner at the chef’s counter. And try the Tacos de Pescado al Pastor!
Vibrant, exciting, bustling and absolutely gorgeous, this neighborhood is said to be one of the largest Chinatown’s in the U.S. We tucked away for delicious dimsum at CityView Restaurant on Commercial St. Their soup dumplings would hold muster in Shanghai!
- The Embarcadero’s Ferry Building
I imagine that if Seattle’s Pike Place Market and NYC’s Union Square Greenmarket had a baby, it’d be something San Francisco’s Ferry Building. With locally-purveyed goods and delicious nibbles, we found the perfect picnic provisions for a trip up to Bodega Bay at Cowgirl Creamery, Acme Bread Co. and Boccalone. And what could top the experience? None other than a streetside panhandler requesting donations for a local cat shelter (Hello Grumpycat!).
- Stinson Beach, Bodega Bay, Tamalpas Bay and Lagunitas Brewing – via Silvercar
Sometimes drives just need to be what they are. We started off towards Stinson Beach, yet realized quickly that everyone in Marin County must’ve had a similar idea. Instead, we took the road less traveled north towards Tamapalas and Bodega Bays. The winding roads were just the thing for the schmancy rental we picked up through Silvercar. Their app-based program is a whiz – just make your reservation, scan the QR code on your car through the reader on the app – and off you go! Did I mention their fleet consists only of Audi A4’s? Or that they have sunroofs and wi-fi on board?
- Wayfare Tavern
Tyler Florence’s Wayfare Tavern was a favorite in the city by the bay. Top marks for the creativity in their uber-rich oxtail poutine. This two-story brick building on the corner was jam-packed, but lacked even a drop of the pretentiousness seen at similar eateries – yet it oozed top-notch service from every pore.
- Slanted Door
Chef Charles Phan ‘s Slanted Door blends traditional Vietnamese tastes and techniques with the modernization that’s expected from a city like San Francisco. Make reservations early for this popular spot at the Ferry Building. Bar seating is all that’s available? Go for it! The behind-the-scenes banter and back-of-the-house insight are priceless (as is the Prather Ranch Pork Belly with quail egg and ginger).
- 331 Fish
We’d asked our concierge for a few suggestions for “local, fresh, sustainable” restaurants in Sausalito before heading out on the ferry. Bypassing his run-of-the-mill suggestions, we instead happened upon 331 Fish. This seaside stable was exactly what we’d wanted! With local craft brews on tap and fresh, locally-sourced seafood on the menu, we spent an afternoon noshing away on fresh clam dip, oysters and fish, while fitting in with the locals drinking hipster beer.
- Pork Store
Tucked between second-hand shops and nestled near the interection of Haight and Ashberry sits the Pork Store Cafe. This gem feels like something out of Seattle’s funky Fremont neighborhood. I half expected my “Green Benedict” to be something more appropriate for eating on April 20th (420 – get it?), but instead found it a delicious twist on the traditional benny. This homey breakfast was a perfect send off the day we left SF.
- The Girl and the Fig
While not officially in San Francisco, on our foray to wine country we enjoyed a delicious brunch at highly-recommended The Girl and the Fig. Their melt-in-your-mouth pork belly sandwich arrived with a tangy side of apple & fennel slaw and filled my belly before an afternoon of wine tasting. Although less-dazzled by the wineries (admittedly Easter Sunday isn’t the best day to find wineries open), our respite to beat the heat at Russian River Brewing in Santa Rosa brought us to the holy grail of west coast sought-after beers: Pliny the Elder.
- Macarons from Chantal Guillon
I’ve never considered traveling just for sweets – as I don’t consider myself the biggest sweet-tooth in town. However, the perfectly-baked macarons from Chantal Guillon? These are what dreams are made of!
My heart – and stomach – are already missing San Francisco’s brilliant sunshine (admittedly, we lucked on out weather), numerous craft breweries and especially their culinary gems. And since they’re just a quick 2-hour flight from Seattle? I’m positive I’ll be back nibbling my way through the city again soon!