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Nov 28, 1998 08:46 AM

San Francisco/ "wine Country" Advice Request

  • m

We'll visit again in March.
Where to stay? Found Auberge du Soleil attitude
unbearable; Mandarin wonderful but strain on
budget;Park Hyatt, nice.
Where to eat? Is Cafe Panisse worth the wait? Love
Plumpjack, 'specially the winelist, and the welcome.
Think Sunday night fancy dinner at Harbour village near
embarcadero, a miracle; like dimsum at Yank Sing near
Embarcadero; Found Boulevard too noisy & food so-so,
tho' Wife and d.-in-law- to-be thought it great.

All help appreciated.
Thank you.

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  1. we're in sf often. some of our favorites are, the house, jackson fillmore, trattoria contadina, sushi groove, frascatti, elan vital., beach chalet for brunches, khan toke for thia, tommy's has the best tequilla bar in the usa, (5929 geary, 415 387 4747) enjoy!

    1. j
      jonathan gold

      The Cafe at Chez Panisse is definitely worth
      the wait, though for the first time in the
      restaurant's long history, it finally takes
      reservations. Have whatever seems to contain
      the most fresh vegetables, anything grilled,
      oily fish and any meat dish that contains the
      growers name (Niman-Schell beef, Rocking
      Horse pork, etc.)--the produce is the best
      in the world.

      And though your tendency may be to order
      California wine, CP's Rhones, Provencal reds
      and Alsatian whites are in a league of their
      own. (I always order the Chave St. Joseph, which
      used to be available nowhere else--not even in

      Also in the extended CP family,
      Bar Cesar is a platonic vision of a tapas bar
      (garbanzos stewed with Spanish chorizo, grilled
      fresh sardines) with another great wine list,
      heavy on tiny California bottlings. Cafe Fanny,
      down the street on San Pablo at Cedar, has
      just perfect poached eggs and buckwheat crepes
      and millet muffins andgrilled cheese sandwiches
      with tapenade, not to mention bowls--bowls!--
      of cafe au lait good enough to make you weep.

      And at Picante way down on 6th Street, owned
      by some in-law or something, I recently had,
      I am slightly ashamed to admit, the best
      chile verde of my life, with thick, homemade
      tortillas and many, many bottles of cold Bohemia
      beer. I may have to move to Berkeley some day.

      In Napa, to keep it short, do go to Bistro Jeanty
      (dreamy pigs trotters and crepes Suzettes), La
      Toque (Ken Frank is the best foie gras chef
      on the planet), Mustards (extremely good basic
      American grill food), Terra (swell sweetbreads)
      and the French Laundry ($150 per person, and worth
      every penny). Tomatina in St. Helena has wonderful
      thin-crust pizza; the Oakville Grocery has impeccable
      picnic supplies at prices that make Dean & DeLuca
      seem like the Price Club.

      Do not, under any circumstances, let yourself
      be talked into going to Tra Vigne (a triumph
      of marketing over substance), Bouchon (Thomas
      Keller's dreadful new bistro), the restaurant
      at the CIA for dinner (drinks on the terrace
      are ok) or Domaine Chandon (drinks on the
      the terrace are wonderful).