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If you're going to San Francisco....

post #1 of 66
Thread Starter 
My husband and I are planning a visit to the City by the Bay in May. Any help you can give will be appreciated! I plan our trips with these things in mind:

1. I am a pretty hardcore foodie, but my husband simply eats. Some balance is required, so I get to experience some great food (not necessarily expensive) and he can be nourished. Did I mention he doesn't eat fish in any form? :rolleyes:
2. Neither one of us wants to spend a lot of time in museums.
3. We don't do hiking, boating, golfing, tennis or fishing- any sports, really.

We have already determined to spend at least four nights in San Francisco, then decamp for Monterey and vicinity for several days. We're certainly going to Golden Gate Park, Muir Woods, Alcatraz, probably take a drive across the Golden Gate bridge and maybe visit Berkeley. The rest is up for consideration.

What should we not miss? Thanks in advance!
Mezzaluna

P.S.- we don't have a hotel, but prefer full-service hotels. I've been looking in the Union Square area so far.
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post #2 of 66
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair! :D

It's been so long since I've been there...

If you can spare the time you can hit Napa Valley. Here's me at the Hakusan Sake brewery.

http://www.usfamily.net/web/kuanheidi/Hakukuan1.jpg
post #3 of 66
Sounds like fun.
It's a little old hat (not the trendiest anymore) but the Fog City Diner is really good and will probably satisfy both your foodie tastes and your husband's less curious approach. Check out their website for the menu.

Alcatraz is really a neat trip. The views of SF from the excercise yard are truly spectacular-must have been a special kind of punishment.

Don't miss the Japanese Garden in Golden Gate Park, but at all costs, avoid Fisherman's Wharf.

North Beach is a neat area. The City Lights Bookstore is still there and fun to poke around in. You're likely to see some famous writers, if you can recognize them. The readings are always interesting.

For something really fun and a truly unique experience, reserve some tickets and go through the Tactile Dome at the Exploratorium. I know, you don't do museums, but this one is really fun! The Tactile Dome is a geodesic (sp?) dome within the museum, that you explore in the dark. You crawl through these different tunnel, shutes and rooms looking for certain items. It's a blast to do with kids too.

A lot of people don't know it, but the ACT (American Conservatory Theater) stages some of the best theatrical productions in the country. I know, Broadway gets all the attention, but if you want to see cool plays with up and coming stars (think Denzel Washington before everyone knew him) go see a show at ACT-they are always good. I've seen Elizabeth Pena and Olympia Dukakis in live productions there.

If you have a car, it's a wonderful drive to cross the Golden Gate to check out Sausilito (a little too snooty in my view) but also Mill Valley, and then drive up to Point Reyes along the Pacific Coast. The Muir Woods will be along the way-not to miss. Near Point Reyes there is an earthquake observation center that has some really nice walks and interesting information about fault lines that run through that area.

Of course, if you go to Berkeley, go eat at Chez Panisse. Why go to the Bay Area and not eat there?

Have fun!!!!

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She's got the biggest hair in town!

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post #4 of 66
PS-just looked at the website, and it looks like Sam Shephard's Curse of the Starving Class will be up at the ACT while you are there. It's a great play-funny and biting- and is bound to be a first rate production.

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post #5 of 66
Mezz -- PM me! I can help you come up with an itinerary -- or if you like a more relaxed approach just point you in a few directions. I would also love to treat you to dinner! Cheers! Stevie
Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! Auntie Mame
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Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! Auntie Mame
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post #6 of 66
Ferry Plaza farmer's market.....oh man......mecca for us farmer's market addicts. Sat. morning is best but the building has some incredible shops open 7 days. Good prepared food there too....Aidells sausages, Lulu's quiche/salads, Dr. Art Lang's dried fruit....choc. satsumas are hands down my fav. choc. ever.......Frog Hollow Bakery, rissotto tart......Japanese Tea shop, the almonds are wonderful, not sure how they toast them........etc....


Mustards, really good food.....not quite as far as Napa. Both of you would be happy.

If you get a chance, and some research is needed....oh Shel you there?
In SF there is the only handmade fillo shop in the US. mid-eastern nams that starts with an S....it's been numerous years since I've been there but oh my....exceptional.
cooking with all your senses.....
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post #7 of 66
Mezz and I have been in touch privately - in fact, just this morning.

Mustards is good, but overrated. Many better and less pretentious places in the area.

I'm not sure about that filo shop ... read or saw a show about it, or another one, recently. Regardless of which shop it was, it was amazing to see that dough stretched.


shel
post #8 of 66
Do you guys like tea? We never miss Imperial Tea Court in Chinatown. You sit at a table and taste teas for as long as you want. It's really great on a cold day; you walk out feeling fabulous.

Imperial Tea Court

1411 Powell Street
San Francisco, CA 94133


Oh man, I was just going to suggest a KILLER Japanese restaurant, but nevermind.

Well, for others, you must check out Minako. I think there may be many articles on it. Organic sushi.

Oh yea, I also agree that you should skip Fishermans' Wharf.

I went to a wedding in Frisco a few weeks ago; it was held at Crissy Field. It's a gorgeous park on the Golden Gate side and you can see much of the city and the bay. So pretty!
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
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Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
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post #9 of 66
Thread Starter 
What a treasure trove of ideas and knowledge! But after all, this is Chef Talk. :D

I looked at Chez Panisse and will consider what to do about it as we get closer to our May trip. I know you need to get reservations there; they will take them up to one month in advance but you have to give them $25 per person deposit for making the reservation. I understand why, but then.... Others seem to think there are enough really good restaurants in the Bay Area that we could look elsewhere and be satisfied.

Shroom, the market sounds fabulous! I love Aidell's sausages.

FnF, the ACT and City Lights bookstore will also go in the file. I'd love to see a production while we're there, and bookstores are magnets for me.

Harpua, DH and I both enjoy tea, so that's on the list too! My MIL told us about the tea house in Golden Gate park- also on the list.

Kuan, if we don't make it to Napa, do you have other suggestions?

Botanique, I've replied. ;)

Mezz
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post #10 of 66
I second the recommendation for the Ferry Building Marketplace. The marketplace is wonderful for foodies. A farmer's market sets up outside Tuesdays and Saturdays.
ferrybuildingmarketplace.com

If you are walking North Beach and visiting City Lights, I suggest a stop for lunch at Molinari's Delicatessen. In many ways, it is the ultimate Italian deli. Both you and your hubby will be more than satisfied there. You go in, grab a number, and then pick what bread you want your sandwich on from the bin in the middle of the store. Then you can peruse the menu board. When your number comes up, hand them your bread and tell them what you want. I love their meatballs! Take it outside to the three or four tables they have set up and people watch to your heart's content. Truly a great experience!

I know you don't want to spend a lot of time in museums, but SF has one that is unique that you might want to check out: The Cartoon Art Museum.
cartoonart.org
Defiinitely worth a look-see and won't take up a lot of time.

On your way to Monterey, you will probably pass through Half Moon Bay. If you do, Pasta Moon is a delicious stop in a cute, funky town.
pastamoon.com

While in Monterey, the Aquarium is super cool!

SF and Northern CA is one of my favorite places on earth. You will love it!
The answer to the big question is love.
The answer to all the little questions is good red wine.
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The answer to the big question is love.
The answer to all the little questions is good red wine.
--Vimrod
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post #11 of 66
I went to school in Berkeley so I know that side a little better. Chez Panisse is a bit out of the normal price range, ha! But there are fantastic restaurants nearby. Cheese Board Pizza makes some of the best pesto. There's a Jewish deli, Saul's, that's supposedly topped national knish and matzo ball taste tests (never confirmed this, but they're pretty tasty).

Oh, and if you stand on Shattuck or University Avenue, pick up a rock, close your eyes and throw, the rock will probably hit the best Indian, Thai, or Himalayan hole-in-the-wall you'll ever eat at. hehe...
post #12 of 66
The cafe, upstairs, at Chez Panisse is great. Less expensive as well. Ingredients are still top notch. Hardly anyone mentions the cafe. Caf&#233 Menu - ChezPanisse.com

Saul's is not a very good "Jewish" deli, whatever that's supposed to mean. Much of the food isn't even close to approaching a NYC deli, service has always been spotty, and prices are getting to be too high for what you get in the way of food and service.

Cheeseboard pizza is darned good, and the Cheeseboard has some great baked goods and a wide selection of cheeses from around the world - staffed by people who know cheese, not just sell it.

Next door to Saul's is a small pastry place - Masa's I think it's called. SUPERB! Not expensive. Comfortable and cozy with seating for about ten or twelve.

Indeed, there are quite a number of good, inexpensive holke-in-the wall places along University Avenue.

Shel (who spends a lot of time in the Gourmet Ghetto)
post #13 of 66
I wouldn't pass up the chance to stand under the "Haight-Ashbury" street sign and have my picture taken!

doc
post #14 of 66
So, you're finally catching up with the sixties :D

Shel
post #15 of 66

Cha-Cha-Cha

And while you're in "The Haight," stop in at Cha-Cha-Cha (CHA3.COM) for some fabulous Sangria and Cuban/Caribbean food!

Cheers!

Micki
--o--o--o--o--o--o--o--o--
Micki, aka Pastry Maven

"Yom-yom-yooom, ze chocolad!"
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Micki, aka Pastry Maven

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post #16 of 66
Thread Starter 
See why I love this place??!!

Shel, I had come across the Cafe at Chez Panisse. It might be a great highlight for a day in Berkeley.

I'm with Doc: I won't miss the chance to visit Haight-Ashbury! I was a hippie wannabe rather than there real thing (how can you really be a hippie and go to a university in a town called "Normal"? :D)
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post #17 of 66
It ain't nuthin' like it was ...I lived there summer of '66 through early '68. The place turned to sh!t sometime in 67. I do remember a couple of good cafes - there was Magnolia Thunderpussy's, a truly great, and as far as I could tell, authentic fish n chips place (served the food on newspaper), a neat little Russan hole-in-the-wall that served fantastic borscht and nicely done perogies.

Last time I was there the place had been nicely Yuppie-ized. There's nothing there that even smacks of the "old days." We used to distribute free food, the Black Panthers had a place across the street from my flat and put out free food for the neighborhood every now and then (Bobby Seale was frequently the 'que meister - he made good 'que - wrote a barbecue cookbook, FWIW), Janis and the Dead were neighbors, Quicksilver Messenger Service lived downstairs at one point, The Airplane never locked their door and we'd drift in and out, shooting pool on the table in the dining room, there were free concerts in GG park (Speedway Meadows) - Oh well, I guess if you want to have your picture taken underneath the street sign, y' gotta go there.

Shel (sometimes missing the old days)
post #18 of 66
Mezz,
Went there this past summer.
ACT,
silicon val
I found the drive to Nappa fast and easy and the food is the payoff. Bunch of places on (I think) Washington street.
We really disliked the Wharf. Turned around and boogied off fast. Although we bought discount tickets on line for most of the tourist attractions, we enjoyed the boat tour from the wharf. Giardelli's, cheaper at CVS.
We negotiated a good room price at the Marriot Marquis because it was under remodel.
Some really nice galleries.
Miur is great at opening hour. Place gets busy later.
Had dinner during lunch rush at Hurley's place in Nappa. pretty good
Dankos sounds touristy but had a great 3 hour meal
Had a couple of pounds of red meat at Arcadia while visiting Stanford and silicon and was so full, spent the night there. ( probably my best meal), except for a deli like joint across from the Marriott. Patty melts, corned beef sand, etc. Can't remember the name but was worth the wait.
You'll have a great time.
Bring warm clothes
Don't walk anywhere. We hiked a couple of blocks and had to make two hills. The top of the second hill I was ready for the paddles and mouth to mouth.

Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is To Short!!
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post #19 of 66
Thread Starter 
Pan, thanks for the insights! I look at the Google map of SF, then see photos from street level and want to grab my asthma inhaler! But we'll manage. My husband is a technical geek so maybe Silicon Valley would be a lure.

Shel, it sounds like you were in Berkeley for some good times- historic times, even. I seem to remember Ruth Reichl worked for AW at one point.... Was it in that time period? I read her memoir but it's been a while.
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post #20 of 66
Mezz,
intel has a pretty good museum.

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post #21 of 66
Yes, don't go to the Wharf. About 20 years ago, they served fresh grilled salmon on SF sourdough. These days it's crappy carnival fried seafood.
post #22 of 66
I was in San Francisco then, not Berkeley. Moved out of the Haight in early to mid 1968, and moved to Berkeley in 1969-70. Wasn't familiar with RR in those days. Although I cooked a little - very little - my first real cooking experience took place soon after I moved to Berkeley, Made a cheese souffle for my first dish for a group of about six or seven people. What was I thinking!

Shel
post #23 of 66
Interesting. I had a freind from Dubuque that lived there on Haight-Asbury area in '67- ?

SO maybe you can clear something up for me. '67 was the "Summer of Love" right?

So when did "Death of Hippie" take place? Was it the end of the summer of '67 or sometime during the summer of '68?

Are you familiar with the documentary "It was 20 years ago today"?

In that documentary there is a scene of a somewhat hefty hippie walking down the street looking into the documentary cameraman's camera, with a young girl, with kind of a scared look on her face, and he was gesticulating and shouting out (no sound on that shot) that my friend pointed out to me was a well known "Norbert the Nark".

Yeah, Shel, I miss those days too. Yet, like Grace Slick said in retrospect, "it was just that there were SO MANY of us baby boomers with nothing else to do, it really didn't mean much at all". Like the guy in that documentary that lived on a boat in Amsterdam, he said "Everyone's always asking, "What's happening? Is there anything happening?" (paraphrased as best I can remember). All over the world, the hippie culture (or at best the imitation of what appeared to be the hippie culture and flower children frame of mind) was spreading.

So, the spirit and spirituality and the "feeling" of maybe being part of something big that might be or even was changing the world through love was in the air. But I wonder, was it just the same then as it is now, with kids wearing their jeans down below their underwear? Just people following what was "popular" and "trying to fit in" or was there really something different about the late '60's that will probably never occur again in anybody's lifetime forever?

Looking very forward to pursueing this off-shoot of the original thread. Mezz doesn't mind, do you? :)


doc
post #24 of 66

More San Francisco Stuff

Last night, while reading these messages, I realized that no one touched on some of the real food and dining treasures of San Francisco. Everyone has been concentrating on the more typical tourist spots.

Check out Clement Street, in the Richmond Districe, where there are more restaurants than you can imagine. It's a nice level aprt of town - great for walking for those not used tothe hills - and entertain yourself with numerous cafes and and chinese, thai, japanese restaurants.

Move into the sunny Mission District, oh, from about 16th street out, and you'll find yourself in the heart of the Latino area. Wonderful culture, and some truly great, small restaurants :lips:. Enjoy the hustle and bustle of the place on a weekend day. Easy to get to with a simple street car ride from down town. The Mission area is also nice and flat :)

Explore Chinatown - get some Dim Sum (I can recommend some great Dim Sum places) and check out another cultural aspect of the city.

shel
post #25 of 66
Thread Starter 
Nah, Doc- how could I!? I'm not that territorial. ;)

Shel, you are the information source that seems limitless. What a goldmine you are!
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post #26 of 66
Well, thanks ...
<LOL> I'm just a foodie and a city explorer ...

You might want to consider a trip to Japan town ...

Patricia Unterman's Hayes Street Grill near city hall has been serving up Good Eats since Alton Brown was a pup. Patricia was the SR Chronicles main food critic and restaurant reviewer for a long time. A number of the local chefs eat there frequently, and certainly recommend the place.

Swan Oyster Depot is a 100 year old institution that is worth a stop. The Tadich Grill is another long time institution. Wanna spend some $$$, check out Masa's. Hubby better wear a jacket and tie, and you'll have to wear real shoes <LOL>

Julius Castle might be nice for drinks - can't speak to the food as it's been years since I've eaten there. It's another long time SF institution - great views IIRC. Best bet is to take a cab there.

Judy Rodgers' Zuni Cafe has always been a favorite. Her "signature" dishes of roast chicken and Caesar salad are, well, pretty good :D However, I've read some mixed reviews lately, but you know my feelings about reviews. Take a look at the Zuni Cafe cook book if you've got the time and inclination.

I'll shoot more suggestions your way as I think of them and have time - OH, you've got to check out the murals at Coit tower. At one time the tower was the highest and most visible building in the SF skyline.

Oh, when in Berkeley you'd not do much better than Ajanta, Cafe Raj, Breads of India, and the Bombay Cafe for Indian food. All excellent, all of a different style,and ranging in prices from downright cheap (Bombay Cafe just of University Ave on, I belive, 9th street) - very authentic Indian fare (my friend, who has travelled extensively in India, calls it "train food" as it's like the food served on the Indian trains), ideal for an inexpensive lunch, then wander next door and check out the spices and other Indian grocery items. Ajanta is probably the most expensive, and the cafe Raj is my everyday favorite, with great food, friendly, smiling service, fresh ingredients, and a simple atmosphere. Breads of India is a small place with a limited menu, with tight seating, and great food.

Oh, down the street from Cafe Raj and arond the corner to the south is Sam's Log cabin - an authentic log cabin built in the 1930s. Sam's is funky, homestyle, organic, and serves fresh ingredients. Can't go wrong for breakfast - but don't expect your coffe mugs to match <LOL>

A little further to the south is Ruen Pair, excellent, authentic Thai. Don't order the food hot unless you're ready for HOT! I'm sweating just thinking about it.

OK, now I'vegotta sign off. Doc, I'll get back to you on that hippie bizniz ...
post #27 of 66

Michelin Stared Restaurants in San Francisco Area

Hey, I just discovered that the San Francisco area has 38 Michelin starred restaurants - as many as NYC - that might make dining choices interesting. In addition there are dozens that have been recognized by Michelin as being of very good value. If you're interested, I'll shoot you the list or post it here. Not up for it right now.

Shel
post #28 of 66
End of July numerous years ago the wind and cold was definately heavy sweater weather.....coming from southern Louisana.....!!!!

Across from Swan's (which is a old timey seafood bar, not really a place to take your guy) is a wonderful cook shop. Found Italian tuna, all kinds of great 00 flour, various odds and ends that made shipping it all home still a deal. After the post office started giving out "set rate" now $8.95 boxes that you can stuff with any weighty items, they've become apart of the supplies in my travel bag....stamped ready to use with labels that are already filled out. So anything special can be easily shipped home. Used 3 on the last trip to SF, plus of course the large market basket hauled on the plane with farmer market shtuff....used to take a cooler wherever we'd go but have really been alittle put off by the airline rules, it's alittle unclear what types of cooling are acceptable.
cooking with all your senses.....
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post #29 of 66
I haven't been to Saul's in years...shame that it's gone so downhill. Then again I've never had authentic New York deli so it's hard to compare. I was missing the place a few weeks ago and yelped it...apparently it still has many defenders, maybe because they remember the good old days?
post #30 of 66
It's beginning to sound like we need a get-together in SF. My son is going back out to Stanford for visit in July. I might tag along.
Corse I'll have to walk 10 paces behind him. 16 yrs old and he thinks he hung the moon. He just tells people that old hippie in the tie dyed shirt has been following me for a while:lol:
Had some good affordable food at at Asian restaurant right near the Italian border. Across the street from Larry Flints place. Can you believe that is the only land mark I remember:D

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