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Zuni, A16, Foreign Cinema

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  • fdb Jun 10, 2007 07:33 PM

After reading various reviews, I made reservation to these 3 restaurants for my 4-day visit to SF with my teen daughter. Will be staying at Union Square (Hotel Rex). My questions are:

1. Any comments on your likes and dislikes of these places?

2. Is it safe to stroll before/after dinner in the areas where these restaurants are located? Any interesting shops or places nearby?

3. What are the best transportation between the restaurants and my hotel?

4. About Zuni--I heard their chicken is excellent but must order for 2. Since my daughter does not eat meat, is there any way to taste the chicken like in a salad or sandwich?

5. I would also like recommendation for North Beach and Chinatown for casual lunch, please.

Thanks for your help.

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  1. Zuni.

    1. I loved the roast chicken for two, but you really can't go wrong here.
    2. Not the best area to stroll going south on Market. Head north up market into the Castro if you want to stroll.
    3. Take the street car up Market St., they are old restored street cars from various cities around the world, it's a really great way to arrive for dinner.
    4. Ah, the chicken is for 2, but they have lots of other dishes that you'll both enjoy
    5. North Beach: Rose Pistola for diner. www.rosepistolasf.com

    2 Replies
    1. re: sgwood415

      Have you been to Rose Pistola since the staff change in the last month or so? The reports so far have been negative.

      1. re: rworange

        I haven't been recently. The news I've heard is that they are much improved and recapturing some of the original glory. So, fbd, I guess you could consider Rose Pistola has mixed reviews.

    2. Sounds like good choices for you and a teen. As far as Zuni - love the chicken and Caesar salad (and espresso granita). The chicken is for 2, but there is plenty on the menu for both of you to find something to your liking. I've heard their burgers are great, but I've never had one. This isn't the best area for strolling and there's not much around there for after dinner. You could walk over to Hayes Valley to stroll before dinner. A16 is on Chestnut Street, a major artery in the Marina - there are tons of places to stroll along and look at - shops, boutiques, restaurants and the like. You can take the 30 Stockton bus from Union Square and it runs down Chestnut. Enjoy your visit!

      1. A16 is wonderful. Both you and your daughter will love it. It is absolutely safe to stroll around all over where A16 is located -- at any time of day/night. You can walk up and down the Chestnut strip. You can also go see the Palace of Fine Arts before dinner -- or lit up after dinner. Or walk up and down Union (between Fillmore and Gough) for more post-frat yuppie coolness. I would cab it to/from A16.

        Zuni I'm not absolutely in love with, but it is good. I would not walk there with a teen girl from Union Square. I wouldn't walk there by myself either. The area around it is relatively safe, but not especially great. I don't think there is any way for you to get the chicken, but honestly the reason people rave about the chicken is because it is awesome *for chicken*, I wouldn't say it is noticably better than everything else there.

        North Beach go to L'Osteria del Forno. One of the best values in SF, given the quality. The porcini pizza (available by the pie or slice) is a must. Also, if you are hungry and they have it, you should try to pork roast.

        1. The neighborhood around Foreign Cinema is not the best at night. I would not stroll around there, especially at night. You'll need to take a cab to get there from union square. Of the three on your list, this is third best. It's a good place, but there are better.

          1. 1. From all the reports on the board, the first thing I plan to order at A16 is the burrata

            2. Strolling: A16 - yes (see excellent recs above) The other 2 - no

            3. Cab - It is inexpensive enough. All three are public transportation available but involve transfers.

            4. Is your roast chicken the same thing in a salad or sandwich? The whole point of that chicken is hot from the oven with the stuffing ... especially the stuffing.

            You could always pack up what you don't eat and give it out to the many homeless people on the way back to your hotel. From Zuni to your hotel there will be many. Scope out a likely prospect, ask the cab drive to pull over, ask if the persion would like a dinner you couldn't finish. I've rarely been turned down. Or just leave the container on a bench or the top of a trash bin. Someone will pick it up. If that last sounds harsh to anyone, there are people on that route that pick out food from the trash to eat. A nice clean packaged dinner, even sitting on top of a trash bin is going to make someone's day.

            5. North Beach ... a block from Chinatown ... House.

            Hope you will report back after your trip to keep info fresh on the board. Have a nice trip.

            7 Replies
            1. re: rworange

              Just a note on the burrata at A16. It is indeed phenominal. But it is a lot of the same flavor. If your daughter eats cheese you may consider sharing it with her and getting another vegetarian appetizer to share. Or not. Just throwing the suggestion out there...

              1. re: rworange

                another note on the burrata - you can buy the exact same burrata that A16 uses at cowgirl creamery. it's by gioia, made near long beach, and sells for $13 for a 1-lb tub. best to confirm when they recieve their shipments and use within a day or two.

                drizzle with good olive oil and fleur de sel and there you go - plus, a much better value than spending $10 on a tiny portion.

                http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

                1. re: rworange

                  House is a great idea! I think of these places only A16 is a straight shot on the bus, but it goes through Chinatown and can be unbelievably slow - as everyone has said, cabs are the way to go. And I totally agree with RWOrange's thoughts above - I have often left food on top of a trash bin - it is certainly better that someone take it from there than having to dig around and it is a shame to have any food go to waste. I also agree that an essentially element of Zuni's chicken is the bread salad.

                  1. re: dinnerout

                    What is a bread salad???

                    1. re: fdb

                      Hunks of toasted bread with scallions, currants, pine nuts, and garlic dressed with a champagne vinaigrette, baked in oven like stuffing, mixed with fresh greens and tossed with some pan drippings. Yummy!

                  2. re: rworange

                    Just a short note about transpo - both Zuni and Foreign Cinema are pretty easily accessible by public transpo from Powell street station (walkable from your hotel). Take Muni to Van Ness station to get to Zuni, or take Bart to 16th street mission and walk to Foreign Cinema.

                    1. re: gemster

                      Foreign Cinema is actually closer to the 24th Street Mission BART Station and it's a much more pleasant walk from the 24th Street station to FC than it is from 16th Street.

                  3. The house is a great recommendation for a place in Northbeach, but I'm not sure they are open for lunch. They have fantastic food and the neighborhood is great for strolling day or night if you decide to go for dinner instead. If you want a brunch place during the week, go to Mamma's on Washington square in Northbeach. They have lunch options, but are known for their yummy brunch options like omlettes and french toast. There's always a line outside, but well worth the wait.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: mlucier

                      The House is open for lunch M-Sat.
                      http://www.thehse.com/
                      Have only been for dinner, love it too.

                      1. re: mlucier

                        Great call on Mamma's! Best pancakes I've ever had. God, I miss living in the city!

                      2. Go to Zuni, order the chicken for two, your daugher can have something else from the manu and you can take home some excellent leftovers. If you're in a hotel and don't have access to refrigeration, just take a large appetite - its easy to eat a lot of chicken at Zuni.

                        Take a walk around Hayes Valley before or after dinner at Zuni and it is plenty safe.

                        12 Replies
                        1. re: poulet_roti

                          Thanks for all the wonderful suggestoins and advice so far. Can you also recommend a restaurant for dinner in Nob Hills area?

                          1. re: fdb

                            I haven't seen it mentioned lately, but Canteen near your hotel has had many positive posts on the board.

                            BTW, I have heard breakfast at The Rex is good. If you try it, hope you will report back. I was underwhelmed by dinner there. It was ok, but kind of pricy and there's better food elsewhere.

                            1. re: rworange

                              Just got a good deal to stay at Westin St. Francis on priceline so I cancelled Rex, but I'll report back if we do make it to the breakfast there.

                            2. re: fdb

                              Okay, I'm not kidding, but do you mean on top of Nob Hill or near Nob Hill? The Ritz Carlton is up there and is excellent, but don't know that a teenager would care much - Canteen is probably a better idea with said kid. You could go to Tadich Grill and take a cable car up the hill to Nob Hill if you like!

                              1. re: fdb

                                Ok, here is the thing, part of Nob Hill, you REALLY don't want to be in. The top of Nob Hill, where all the fancy stuff is, has fancy restaurants. My favorite (which is actually not too far from the part of Nob Hill you want to avoid) is Fleur de Lys. It is absolutely gorgeous and the food, while creative, is more true modern Alsatian than any of the other great restaurants in town which are really all New Californian. Bonus: It has, bar none, the best vegetarian tasting menu I have ever seen/tasted (never been to The French Laundry).

                                I certainly agree that the Dining Room at the Rtiz Carlton is excellent, though.

                                1. re: whiner

                                  Sorry for not being clear on my question re: Nob Hill. Daughter is interested in the Vampress Tour which meet up at corner of California & Taylor at 8 pm, so I am thinking of having dinner in the area before the tour. I do love Michelin star restaurants, but not my daughter. So something modern, fun, or simply delicous will do.

                                  1. re: fdb

                                    Well, the Vampire Tour is a new one on me, but it sounds like it will be interesting! You can try Nob Hill Cafe. Also, Rue St. Jacques is a short (and flat) walk from where Calif. and Taylor. I had a mediocre meal at Rue St. Jacques so only went the one time, others have had better experiences. You can do a search on both those names and see what you come up with. Fleur de Lys and Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton are fabulous, but wasted on kids!

                                    1. re: fdb

                                      I second Nob hill cafe. Pretty straight forward italian with vege pasta options for your daughter. It is a block away at taylor and sacramento. You could also check out Venticello, similar and near by.

                                      1. re: sfeater

                                        Incidentally, Nob Hill Cafe was one of the stops of the Vampire Tour where we were told of its historical connection to the vampire legacy in SF.... lol :)

                                  2. re: fdb

                                    Canteen is good and certainly walkable. Venticello is over the hill and down toward the bay from your hotel (Taylor & Washington). The walk home is refreshing and offers great views.

                                  3. re: poulet_roti

                                    I like your style (and your name). Yes, I've also ordered chicken for 2 for myself many a time. Every chowhound must do that at least once to be a true hound, dont ya think?

                                    1. re: WineTravel

                                      very tempting..... :)

                                  4. No one mentioned about the food at Foreign Cinema. Thought it'd be a different experience but it's kind of out-of-the-way. Is it worth our time?

                                    We'll be visiting Haight-Ashbury area, too. Any recommendation for lunch or dinner there?

                                    8 Replies
                                    1. re: fdb

                                      Foreign Cinema is in the Mission District which is home to many of the most interesting restaurants in San Francisco. You could probably do better in the Mission but nothing wrong with Foreign Cinema at all. Regarding the Haight, in my opinion, the area is filthy and not much to offer in terms of great chow.

                                      1. re: fdb

                                        I've not heard any terrifc reports from Foreign Cinema, so I've never gone. I think food (and atmosphere) wise, there are probably several better options. Range, Delfina, Slanted Door... If your daughter is anything like I was when I was 15/16 she'll probably love the Haight. Can't say there is much good food there, but Escape From New York makes pretty good NYC pizza by the slice for lunch on the go. 10 blocks from the Haight there is a nice small-plates restaurant in the Cole Valley called EOS. Its big brother, bacar, just had a massive shake-up and I don't know how that affected EOS, or if it did at all...

                                        1. re: whiner

                                          Eos was sold to the steps or Rome guys about a year ago. It is completely gone down hill. The best eats in the Haight is a sausage at Rosamunde's.

                                          1. re: Amy G

                                            Oooo... I did not know that (about Eos). That is a shame, I haven't been there in two years but I liked it.

                                        2. re: fdb

                                          I would not skip foreign cinema! It's one of my SF favorites. Plus your teenage daughter will love the atmosphere. I've takenn my teenage brother there a few times and he just loves it. Might be a good spot for saturday or sunday brunch, great food and much cheaper than dinner.

                                          Lunch on Haight? Cha Cha Cha is a long time favorite, great calamari and a very lively ambiance. Dinner, you could try RNM a little further up on haight, it's a nice neighborhood spot.

                                          www.cha3.com
                                          www.rnmrestaurant.com

                                          Have Fun!

                                          1. re: fdb

                                            Foreign Cinema is definitely a different experience, and might be worth a try if you are visiting from elsewhere. I was there this past weekend and was a bit underwhelmed with our dinner. First of all, I had been there a year and a half ago and thought the food was great. However, it just seemed a bit overpriced - $26 for halibut resting on peas. I think the halibut at Range is a bit cheaper and much tastier. I did have a spectacular asparagus soup that was $10. I guess one is also paying for the atmosphere. Otherwise, I think they have some of the best cocktails in the city. I haven't had brunch there, but I am curious to try it and it might be a nice place to try if you have a Sunday morning open.

                                            1. re: fdb

                                              Foreign Cinema is excellent but as I think about it in terms of the style of food it's similar to Zuni. There are a lot of good restaurants in the Mission, but I'd recommend you go to Delfina. Great Italian style food using local ingredients in a neighborhood bistro atmosphere. It's my favorite restaurant in SF.

                                              1. re: farmersdaughter

                                                I think that Foreign Cinema is very good for dinner, but that both Delfina and Range are a notch above. (N.B. check FC's website to see what movie they're showing when you're visiting, and if you're interested, that's a big plus, and you should time your reservation to a showtime.) Also, Delfina and Range are in a more gentrified part of the Mission that might be more amenable to you & your daughter, if I correctly infer that you're not hardened urbanites. (Having said that, I don't think that either FC's or Zuni's neighborhood is *unsafe*, just a little gritty depending on your attitude/experience--panhandlers, not muggers.) If you went relatively early to Range, you could couple it with visits to City Art (an artist-run gallery) and 826 Valencia, a/k/a the Pirate Supply Store, a very hip teen writing-education center funded by an excellent pirate supply store in the front of the space. And Delfina's block is full of great auxiliary food options, i.e., Bi Rite Creamery and Tartine Bakery (each the subject of many posts here, and where you could get dessert and the next day's breakfast, respectively), and is right next to Dolores Park for strolling. (Range is within strolling . . . range of the park as well.) But I don't mean to diss Foreign Cinema . . . and now that I think of it, it's only three blocks away from Range, and thus in strolling distance of most of the same stuff; it's just a different micro-'hood, as it were, 'cause it's *just* east of the gentrification line. Anyway, I strongly second the notion of going to FC for brunch--their brunch is truly excellent, up there with Universal's or Citizen Cake's. Also, I strongly second either L'Osteria or Mario's in North Beach for lunch (though haven't been to either in a few years, so must rely on others that they've not gone downhill); of the two, I think that L'Osteria has a broader range, and their milk-braised(?) pork (milk-somethinged, for sure) is incredible.

                                            2. 5. I would also like recommendation for North Beach and Chinatown for casual lunch, please.
                                              See dictionary for definition of San Francisco casual. Easy walk from City Lights Bookstore and Chinatown.
                                              Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store and Cafe
                                              Address:
                                              566 Columbus Ave
                                              San Francisco, CA
                                              94133-2802
                                              Phone: (415) 362-0536
                                              http://www.bestofsanfrancisco.net/mar...

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: pinotnoir

                                                will admit... there's no place quite like it!

                                                1. re: pinotnoir

                                                  Mario's sounds interesting. Do I need reservation?

                                                  1. re: fdb

                                                    No. In fact if you call and ask you will probably hear a chuckle.

                                                2. Foreign Cinema - Bart or Cab
                                                  - has food similar to Zuni, though definitely not as good. (I believe that the chef or owner had some connection to Zuni before -- others with better memories might be able to confirm or deny that). In any case, I agree that brunch in their courtyard patio is a good option. Some might feel a little uncomfortable taking a stroll down Mission St. at night. If you do have dinner there, stroll toward the West rather than the East. If you have a hankering for ice cream, you might consider a very short cab ride to Mitchell's Ice Cream or walking toward Bi-Rite Creamery as suggested.

                                                  Zuni - bus or muni down Market
                                                  I agree, it's not a good idea to stroll between Zuni and Union Square at night. If you stroll, stroll Westward toward the Castro and take a muni bus or cab home.

                                                  A16 - completely safe and good place to stroll, windy at night. From Union Square Bus 41 or 45, cab if you are coming from North Beach.

                                                  Also, no matter how warm it is in the day, bring a jacket when you go for dinner. Yes this sounds like an obvious suggestion, but I can't tell you how many times my out of town guests have had to use the extra jackets I keep in my car. It gets chilly here, once the sun goes down.

                                                  Lunch in North Beach - walk or cable car
                                                  I used to live a block from Mario's. For a casual lunch, I'd have a meatball sandwich at Mario's (it's a small neighborhood bar); or depending on the weather, you could grab a sandwich at Molinari's (Italian hogies, cheeses, antipasto) and enjoy it in Washington Square Park; or you could hit one of the bakeries in Chinatown to do the same. For pasta, I'd try Macaroni Cafe. Pizza: Tommaso's or Zoetrope (though I haven't been there since they changed the name). The Helmand also has a good lunch buffet on weekdays.

                                                  House is an excellent pick, but possibly more than just a casual lunch. Breakfast at Mama's is great, though I'm not sure it's worth an hour wait. From my old place I would see the line winding around the block. Still, I ate breakfast there every other week, but only on a weekday morning when there was no line.

                                                  Near your hotel - walk
                                                  You noted your daughter is vegetarian. You might consider having dinner at Millenium, a fine dining vegan restaurant in the Savoy Hotel. Definitely good, unique and shows off what can be done with vegan cuisine. Another vegetarian place that is casual is Golden Era -- a Vietnamese restaurant a couple of blocks from the Savoy, but in a grimier area (so you probably want to go there for lunch not dinner). Their "chicken wings" are excellent. If you want a snack nearby, I like the bar snacks/appetizers at Scala's Bistro -- good food, no wait and quick. Another quick bite possibility is the new food court in the Bloomingdale's Mall, (both the quality and the prices are higher than what you'd expect from a food court).

                                                  The Haight - cab or bus
                                                  Citrus Club, a casual pan-asian place is good, cheap and has a lot of vegetarian options. Cha Cha Cha is a fun place. On a weekday, I might try getting breakfast at Zazie which has an outdoor patio and is in Cole Valley a couple of blocks from Haight Street.

                                                  Sorry for all this extra advice, I just got carried away.

                                                  I love San Francisco.

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: wanderlust21

                                                    Thanks so much for your extra advice, especially the details on transportation & safety issues. I appreciate the vegan rec. My daughter doesn't eat meat, but she eats fish/seafood.

                                                    By the way, I've also added Slanted Door. So here's my line up:

                                                    Wed--lunch @ Union Square or Haight area (depending on check in time)
                                                    dinner @ Foreign Cinema

                                                    Thur--lunch @ Mario's or anywhere in North Beach
                                                    --dinner @ Zuni

                                                    Fri--lunch @ Slanted Door
                                                    --dinner @ A16
                                                    --after dinner: Vampire Tour

                                                    Sat--off to Berkeley (any lunch recommendation???)

                                                    So many choices, so little time.......wish we could be there longer!!!

                                                    1. re: fdb

                                                      Based on your line-up you might like these, but you'd need to take a bus from the Berkeley Bart stop:

                                                      Chez Panisse Cafe - part of the legendary restaurant and serves lunch. If you go here you might stop by and check out the Cheeseboard, a cheese co-op across the street.

                                                      Sea Salt - discussed on the CH boards.

                                                      http://www.chezpanisse.com/pgcafemenu...
                                                      http://www.seasaltrestaurant.com/

                                                      Others can give suggestions that are close to Bart/campus. Have a great trip!

                                                      1. re: wanderlust21

                                                        Is it too late to get a reservation for lunch at Chez Panisse?

                                                        1. re: wanderlust21

                                                          I'm so excited to get a reservation at CP. Thanks for recommending Sea Salt --it looks very interesting but we only have a short day there. Save it for next time.

                                                        2. re: fdb

                                                          Sounds like a great lineup! Please report back how you and your daughter like the restaurants! BTW: If you eat red meat, you have to order the shaking beef at Slanted Door.

                                                      2. So many good restaurants, so little time! First I have to say our 4-day trip to SF had exceeded my expectation. After some last-mintue shuffling, my daughter and I had a fabulous time trying out 7 restaurants:

                                                        Wed (lunch)--After barting from OAK to Westin St. Francis, checking into our spacious room in the new tower, we strolled through Union Square to the Rotunda at Neiman Marcus for a quick fix--tomato soup, beet salad, and their famous pop-overs. As spectacular was never my expectation (from previous experience at NM in LA) the soup and salad turned out to be pretty decent. And the pop-overs were of course as delicious as ever. The strawberry butter was new (but good) to me, as butter AND strawberry jam are served seperately in LA. The dome ceiling was very pretty--reminds me of Paris, my favorite city in the world!

                                                        Wed (dinner)--A friend met us up at Ame in St. Regis Hotel. I was intrigued by their menu on the website so made a last-minute reservation (hence dropped Foreign Cinema from my original lineup). It's an easy walk from our hotel. The restaurant (and hotel lobby) was very chic, service attentive, and food presentation very impressive. We ordered 4 appetizers--Tempura Poke, Chawan Mushi w/ lobster & uni, Tuna tartare and Avocado with shaved foie gras, and Age-dashi Anago Eel. It was fun trying out Hiro Sone's innovative appetizers but the best is yet to come....for entrees, we ordered Sake Marinated Black Cod & Grilled Maine Lobster w/ Hokkaido Scallops. Both were excellent(but the lobster was really tiny). For desserts, we had Chocolate Mousse Crunch with Chocolate Sorbet, Saffron Custard with Seasonal Fruits and Mochi, and Apricot Almond Tart with Almond Milk Ice Cream and Lavender Caramel. All were delicious but I especially loved the tart. Overall, we liked Ame very much and would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone who enjoy nouveau cuisine.

                                                        Thurs (lunch)--Taxied to Zuni because we were afaid to lose our reservation. We were seated right away at a table upstairs. Our server was very attentive in every way. After some contemplation, I decided to go for the Roasted Chicken for Two for myself (as I noted before, my daughter eats fish/seafood but no "meat".) The one-hour wait gave us a chance for some heart-to-heart talk which was nice, and before we know it, voila!, there came my chicken! It didn't disappoint me but at that time I couldn't understand all the rave. I thought it was delicious chicken but it didn't blow me away as I expected. Now one week later, I start to think about all the other chickens I ever had and realize it was indeed very good chicken. I ate all the dark meat, and gave up on the whites. The bread salad was different but very tasty. My daughter's Caesar Salad and Chocolate Pot o' Cream were also very good. But what kept me thinking about Zuni Cafe till this hour was the Espresso Granita--the texture and the aroma.....it was just superb!!! I would go back just for that if not anything else! After lunch, took bus to Haight-Ashbury for some interesting shopping.

                                                        Thurs(dinner)--I was very glad to grab one of the highly coveted dinner reservations (although too early at 5:30) at A16. I'm sorry to say that I was quite disappointed at this place albeit it seemed to be a favorite on the board. The small dish of olives were overly salty, the beet salad was OK but not great, the Margherita Pizza w/ Daniele Prosciutto was charred on most part of the crust, and the raspberry sorbet and hazelnut gelato weren't impressive after having tasted the best gelato at San Crispino in Rome. But the real nightmare was the Chocolate Budino Tart with sea salt and olive oil, which was probably the worst dessert I 've ever had. I am not a very picky eater but I just don't understand olive oil on dessert. I actually had to rush to the ladies room to prevent a disaster on my plate. But it wouldn't do A16 justice if I didn't mention that the Squid Ink Pasta w/ Zucchini Flowers were really fabulous! I would go back for the pasta, and maybe try other dishes but definitely the chocolate tart no more! After dinner, a nice stroll on Chestnut before taking Muni 30 back to hotel via North Beach (which I regret not having a chance to visit this time) & Chinatown!

                                                        Fri (lunch)--The Slanted Door at the Ferry Building. Again I consider myself lucky to get this early lunch reservation. The Ferry Building reminds me of Chelsea Market in NYC. I'd really love to take time to sample all the goodies at the various venders, but this time we were there for The Slanted Door. It was a sunny day and we were happy to finally see the ocean for the first time since we arrived. It's very hard to order with only two people so we finally decided on food that we both would eat--Slanted Door Spring Rolls with shrimp (sans pork), Caramelized Catfish Claypot w/ shallots, gingers, and thai chillis, Bok Choy w/ shiitake mushroom, and broken rice. We've had more authentic Vietnamese foods in LA, but my daughter and I actually liked the food here. The desserts were also a pleasant surprise--Passion fruit and pineapple meringue tart and Vanilla Bean creme brulee--both served as a perfect ending for a highly enjoyed lunch! Worth mentioning was the green tea appropriated called "Heavenly Flower", which came in a wine glass, that my daughter found fascinating! After lunch, we hopped on the F-car to SF Shopping Center. Wow! I wouldn't know how to drive on Market St.

                                                        Fri(dinner)--We booked an 8 o'clock Vampire Tour on Nob Hills (which my daughter really enjoyed), so an early dinner at Bar Crudo which was within "hiking" distance from our hotel was just right. This was a tiny tiny place with no sign, but the seafood was excellent! I tried all 4 raw oysters, then we shared the Crudo for 2, Arctic Char, and Seafood Chow. Everything was excellent!!! After dinner, hiked down to our hotel to pick up jacket, then taxied to Grace Cathedral. Glad we hiked down (not UP) the steep hills after the tour. Again I wouldn't know how to park my car on Taylor St.

                                                        Sat (lunch)--Checked out of Westin St. Francis; friend picked us up and headed to Berkeley for our last-minute addition--Chez Panisse Cafe. I have written a review on another post about our "perfect" lunch at this little gem. There were 7 of us at this meal, and everyone absolutely LOVED every single dish! Everthing was so fresh, and the flavors were so simple yet profound. I've come to realize and apprecite the essence of California cuisine. I've not been to French Laundry but actually prefer CPC to Per Se in NYC. What a perfect place to culminate our culinary trip to the Bay Area!

                                                        Thank you everyone for all your advice and suggestion! I loved SF! As I was telling all my friends: I left my heart and "stomach" in San Francisco! I shall return for more!

                                                        8 Replies
                                                        1. re: fdb

                                                          Thanks so much for your detailed report! Sounds like a great eating tour overall. Zuni's espresso granita is amazing. The recipe is in the cookbook, BTW. Too bad about A16. I've never been but will keep your comments in mind to balance other comments on this board. Chez Panisse Cafe is a fitting and delicious way to end your visit. I'll go look for that report now...

                                                          1. re: Carb Lover

                                                            Found the recipe of espresso granita online. It requires tons of time and effort.

                                                            http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/espresso...

                                                          2. re: fdb

                                                            Yes, thanks for reporting back. So what did you do with the rest of that chicken?

                                                            1. re: rworange

                                                              I did seriously consider heeding your suggestion to bring it to the homeless at U.S. but because we weren't going straight back to the hotel , I decided to give them back to the kitchen (wonder what they did with it??). I figured it could be spoiled by the time we went back.

                                                            2. re: fdb

                                                              The espresso granita is great. When they first started serving it years ago, a friend phoned me and said to rush over immediately.

                                                              They do an equally great blood orange granita in season.

                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                There is an Italian Ice place near where I live. They also have blood orange ice when in season. Somehow the granita at Zuni has a different and better texture than anyone else.

                                                              2. re: fdb

                                                                Thanks for reporting back! It sounds like you made the most of your short time in the Bay Area. I had that chocolate tart with salt and olive oil when I was at A16 a few weeks ago, and loved it, but then I enjoy olive oil and salt on desserts.

                                                                1. re: JasmineG

                                                                  I love olive oil and salt on a good Italian bread, but I guess it made my "sweet tooth" ache when put on that chocolate tart. :) What other dessert do you like with olive oil and salt on?