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Restaurants and a Celebration Activity for SF/Sonoma

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I'm fairly new to the board and have been reading threads here all day. Lots of great tips!

My girlfriend and I are traveling to SF and Sonoma for 6 days soon. We'll be spending 3 days in each location. She recently finished a masters programs and this trip is to celebrate that achievement. I found a lot of great restaurants using the threads in here already. We're looking for places that are fun, exciting, and tasty. Places that range in the $15-$20 per entree category would be ideal because as recent graduates, we're trying to do this trip on a budget. Also looking for some fun lunch places to get sandwiches, chowder, etc. We're also looking to splurge a little bit for 1 meal, maybe something in the $30 per entree range.

Also, I wanted to do something special as a gift for her graduation. This activity can either involve food or not. I think she would be really surprised if I planned something for an afternoon or night that she didn't know about. Maybe a scenic lunch in Sonoma or some type of harbor cruise in SF? Any idea or activity is welcomed.

Thanks for the help everyone!

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  1. For her gift - what about a balloon ride followed by brunch, or a lunch/dinner on the Wine Train? http://www.napavalleyballoons.com/

    http://winetrain.com/

    2 Replies
    1. re: Michelle Grinnell

      Unless things have changed a lot. The wine train is very expensive for what you get.

      1. re: wally

        I haven't read much good on the wine train either.

        Aziza might be fun for your splurge dinner.

        Here's some ideas for moderately piced restaurants in SF
        http://www.chow.com/search?search%5Bq...

        You can change the search criteria to narrow down by neighborhood ... for example, SF moderate North Beach

        Town's End is good and has a three-course $22 prix-fix.

        If here on Saturday, at the Ferry Plaza farmers market you can eat inexpensively and soak up a lot of local color.

        In Napa, (you can search using the above and changing the SF to Napa), stopping by the Oxbow Market will result in lots of great quality restaurants that don't break the bank.

    2. My list of SF restaurants in that price range would be:

      L'Osteria del Forno (Italian)
      Helmand Palace (Afghani)
      Troya (Turkish)

      and in fourth

      Taste of the Himalayas (Nepalese)

      Actually, those are all a little less than $15-$20, more like $12-$17, but I cannot think of any place with $18 entrees that I even like as much. That said, my reccomendation for the splurge would be:

      Ame (Asian/French/Italian fusion)
      Boulevard (CA-French)
      Quince (CA-Italian)

      All of those restaurants entrees are in the 30's, so it would even out...

      1. Missed the lunches part:

        Sonoma:
        Oakville Grocery in Healdsburg has great sandwiches.

        SF: Blue Barn Gourmet in the Marina is my favorite lunch place. You should also grab a Burrito. My favorite is Papalote, but La Tacqueria and Tacqueria Can-Cun are both a bit more traditional.

        If you wanted to be terribly romantic, you could put in some serious organizing and do a candlelight dinner in a cave. I mean, I have no idea if any winery would go for it, and it would haveto be a real wine cave, not some warehouse. But I have had dinner in the Freeman cave and I thought to myself that it would be an amazing place to just be with a girl...

        1. Hi:

          Chowhound has a very narrow mission--where to find deliciousness. General travel planning questions, like where to stay or what else to do while visiting a town, are off topic for our boards. Please keep your replies focused on helping the poster find great chow and activities that involve food/wine etc., as off topic replies will be removed.

          Thanks!