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Recommend destination restaurant for weekend trip?

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I'm willing to drive anywhere within 3-4 hours of SF for good food, and since I want to plan a romantic weekend without the baby anyway, I thought I'd ask here for tips on places with great food that are off the beaten path and close to nice lodging. While I want this to be a romantic getaway, the restaurant doesn't have to be the typical "romantic restaurant" with low lighting and fancy linens. I care somewhat about ambience (no hole-in-the-wall places for this trip, though I usually love them), but my bottom line is just really tasty food of any cuisine except Chinese (which I'm super picky about as it was the food of my childhood and because I don't think there are any destination Chinese restaurants beyond SF, the South Bay, and Oakland). And by nice lodging, I mean a cute B&B or cottage, not a motel or chain hotel but we're willing to stay at at a chain hotel if the food is worth it.

We've been to the typical "weekend trip spots" (Napa, Sonoma, Calistoga, Half Moon Bay, Carmel, Monterey, Seaside, etc.) but I'm sure there are other "overlooked" areas with great food.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. That's an excellent question, but probably should be asked on the California board.

    The Gold Country comes to mind, but I'm not familiar with dining options up there

    1. Thanks for the tip! I'm off to post there now!

      1. Depending on how much you want to spend, Big Sur is beautiful and has some nice places to stay and eat.

        1. Well, here's one that I'll bet no on mentions ... beautiful Richmond, CA ... seriously.

          Actually, it is the East Brothers Light House Bed and Breakfast which you get to from a boat that leaves Point Molate at the foot of the Richmond-San Rafael bridge.

          Here's a Chronicle link ... which includes ...

          "Dinner was a fragrant Tuscan-style tomato soup enlivened with basil from Carolyn's garden, a spinach salad with mandarin orange slices and sugared almonds, a choice of salmon or chicken Wellington, steamed broccoli with sesame sauce and a rich chocolate torte with raspberry-brandy sauce. Curt circled the table ceaselessly, refilling glasses with Zinfandel or Chardonnay. It was, everyone agreed, a sensational meal in a surpassingly romantic settling. "

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

          The website
          http://www.ebls.org/

          A little about getting to Pt Molate. The restaurant that is in the marina is closed for the season. It was where "Blood Alley" with Lauren Bacall and John Wayne was filmed.
          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/37071

          There is Hidden City Cafe in nearby Point Richmond if eats were needed prior to boarding the boat.

          If anyone ever does go to the lighthouse, hope they report on the food there.

          1 Reply
          1. re: rworange

            The food sounds good, but any hotel that provides ear plugs... (It IS a lighthouse.)