Traveling Tuesdays: San Francisco

Earlier this summer my parents went to San Francisco and Napa Valley with my Aunt and Uncle and had a ridiculously fun time. I was so jealous of their stories that I asked my dad to write up a little blurb about his trip.

So here is my first ever guest blogger and my dear-old dad, Rusty:

Hello all! I am thrilled to get to share our trip with you because we had a blast. San Francisco is a mythical place with spectacular views, world-class dining, first-rate mixology and a free spirit. Though we weren’t here long, we went with the philosophy that we can sleep when we’re home and squeezed as much in as possible. We spent three nights in San Francisco at the famed Westin St. Francis on Powell Street. Their famous Clock Bar serves some excellent artisan cocktails and the cable car comes right to the front door on its track down to the Fisherman’s wharf. We then just explored the sites and took in the amazing culinary scene.

The food:

Our first evening we had dinner at Gary Danko, the deservedly #1 rated restaurant in San Francisco. For two hours we were dazzled by a five-course tasting menu, wine pairings and a deluxe cheese cart with 18 different cheeses.

A friend of my brother and sister-in-law treated us to another gourmet adventure with lunch at Scala’s Bistro in the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. We tried the bistro burger and the pork loin and then we met Tim Nugent, the Bravo TV celebrity pastry chef. He brought us a dessert sampler to try that included his famous panna cotta and his perfected peach gelato.

If that wasn’t enough, that evening we went for seafood at Farallon Restaurant beginning with Happy Hour at the Jelly Fish Lounge for $6 appetizer/cocktail combos and then the main course in the amazing underwater-feel atmosphere. The grilled Hawaiian Ono was just what the doctor ordered.

The next day we ventured out to the Ferry Building, which is a foodie’s paradise. Though, be sure to go before 5pm because many of the restaurants and stores close it up at 6pm. We tried the macaroons at Miette Patisserie and then had dinner at Chef Phan’s esteemed Slanted Door. I sampled the caramelized shrimp, barbequed ribs and the prime rib paired with Castalonia blonde ale and it was awesome. The main dish was only complimented by the cherry pie and Red-Jasmine tea. I will definitely be revisiting the Ferry Building to try out some of other temptations like the Cowgirl Creamery, Acme Bread, Hog Island Oyster Co. and Lula Petite Brownies just to name a few.

Finally, we couldn’t leave San Francisco without going to Ocean Beach to enjoy a fabulous Sunday Brunch at the famed Cliff House. We sipped on bottomless Wycliff bubbly as a harp serenaded us in the background. It rounded out a pretty great trip.

Sight-seeing musts:

  1. The flowers and view of Lombard Street – the most crooked street in the world;
  2. A ride on the cable cars;
  3. Ghirardelli Square for a brownie fudge sundae or an Irish Coffee in Buena Vista Bar;
  4. Fisherman’s Wharf for lunch at the Crab House, sourdough from Boudin’s Bakery, salt water taffy from Pier 29, and t-shirts and souvenirs;
  5. Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate Park;
  6. Presidio Park and Beach;
  7. Japanese Tea Park and the Conservatory of Flowers; and
  8. The view from Coit Tower’s.

Other Fun:

  • We caught a matinee production of Les Miserables at the Orpheum Theater that moved us deeply.
  • I have a personal goal to attend every dueling piano bar in America, or at least try, and Johnny Foley’s Irish House did not disappoint. This made for a very-fun filled night of sing-alongs and cocktails.
  • We also checked out the home of the Beat Generation and flower-power at the corner of Haight-Ashbury. We grabbed a breakfast burrito and coffee at Squat and Gobble and explored the eccentric neighborhood.
  • We walked through the North Beach District, which is San Francisco’s version of Little Italy, peppered with pizzerias and trattorias. Vesuvio Café is a great bar in the heart of the city.


Thanks for reading and stay tuned for my Napa Valley post next week.

– Rusty



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