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Mar 24, 2009 10:24 AM

Please critique my Memorial Day weekend agenda!

I'm going to be in SF for Memorial Day weekend for a fun weekend get-away before my wedding. I've reviewed some of the posts on this board in order to put together an agenda that I hope is sophisticated, fun, and delicious.

I'd love some feedback on my choices or additional suggestions to steer me in the right direction, because one thing I did not research is where these places are located. My friends and I are staying at the Westin San Francisco Market Street (50 3rd Street), and we will not have a car, but are willing to take reasonable cab rides (i.e. not 30 minutes) for good food! My friends and I are from Chicago and we love to eat, but some of us have lost our jobs, so I'd *prefer* to keep most of the meals to no more than $50 pp including some wine, if possible. Here goes:

Friday late lunch - Tartine
Friday dinner - 1550 Hyde or L'Ardoise or South Park Cafe
(I'm really trying to go for a neighborhoody place with great food, but it would be nice if we didn't feel completely out of place looking a tad dressed up)

Saturday morning - would like any suggestions for a place to pick up some breakfast snacks or pastries for the ride to Napa.
Saturday lunch - E'toile at Domaine Chandon. (I know there are other great choices for lunch in Napa like Ubuntu, but we're taking a limo up there and also visiting Domaine Chandon, so this works out well. If there is a really compelling reason to avoid E'toile however, please chime in)

Saturday dinner - we'll likely be exhausted from wine tasting, so maybe ordering in (pizza?) or something else fairly low key. Any suggestions?

Sunday brunch - anyone been to brunch at Canteen? I couldn't find their menu for brunch online to assess pricing or food options. Either that or dimsum?
Sunday dinner - Aziza. This is going to be our dressiest dinner night out. Does the atmosphere at Aziza jive with that?

Monday lunch - The Slanted Door. I eat Vietnamese food religiously in Chicago, but my friends are newbies to the cuisine. I have to admit to a bit of sticker shock at the prices on-line, but I was having some trouble finding other good options that were open for lunch on Monday.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. The itinerary looks fun. How many people is it going to be? Canteen is very small, the biggest tables only seat 4 (or perhaps 5 if a chair is on the end?). But their brunch is very good and reasonably priced.

    Aziza should be fun - while you don't have to dress up there, you won't look out of place if you do. It's a bit of a cab ride out there, but it's worth it.

    Slanted Door will be fun. There are plenty of other Vietnamese places that are very good too, it depends on if you want the fusion aspect that Slanted Door provides. Bodega Bistro might be an option, assuming they are open Monday. There's also the Vietnamese place in Chinatown which is pretty good - I forget the name right now - but it could be nice to walk from your hotel through Union Sq and Chinatown to reach this lunch destination.

    1. If you familiar with Vietnamese and taken aback by the prices, I would skip SL. Especially for a Monday lunch. SL is about the buzzing ambiance, the view of the bay at twilight, the intriguing bar selections, the abundance of style... sounds like you'd have more fun spelunking the low-key, low-budget places others will be happy to recommend here.

      And you can catch a whiff of the style that makes SL special on Saturday night by stopping in at Heaven's Dog -- a new place by the same executive chef. I think their menu would work well for a light meal after a long day.

      1. South Park Cafe is good/solid if you're in the area but I wouldn't make a trip to it. In the same general area is Fringale, also French bistro and better in my view although South Park is located in a great place. 1550 Hyde would also be good. If you're coming from Chicago, I'd do SL regardless if you have Vietnamese often. It will be accessible to your friends and they won't feel out of place.

        1. 2 suggestions for your Saturdy morning breakfast...

          Acme Bread Co in Berkeley or Arizmendi Bakery in Emeryville. They are off the freeway a few minutes, but not so much of a detour that it will ruin your plans for Napa.

          Arizmendi Bakery & Pizzeria‎ - 4301 San Pablo Ave, Emeryville, CA‎ - (510) 547-0550‎

          Acme Bread Co‎ - 1601 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA‎ - (510) 524-1327‎

          6 Replies
          1. re: jaypeezy

            Those are good recs but they won't have a car. You can get Acme bread at the Ferry Building however and that's worth a stop. Could also hit Arizmendi on 9th/Irving in SF, particularly a good choice if you're heading to GG Park.

            1. re: ML8000

              They said they wanted to pick up breakfast before taking a limo to Napa -- presumably they can have the limo detour into Berkeley.

            2. re: jaypeezy

              Are you serious? You're suggesting that someone staying at 3rd & Market (walking distance to the Ferry Building which has its own Acme) go across the bay to Emeryville or Berkeley for breakfast?

              And "not much of a detour" is completely untrue. While its possible to get to Napa from San Francisco via the Bay Bridge & the East Bay, I have never met or heard of a single tourist who would choose to take a longer route nad MISS driving over the Golden Gate Bridge.

              Capay Organic - consolidated in Ferry Bldg #9
              1 Ferry, Bldg San Francisco, CA

              1. re: larochelle

                Oh, you're right...Berkeley and Emeryville are not on the way to Napa from SF taking the Bay Bridge.

                Please check out a map before making comments that are not correct.

                I merely suggested Acme Bread in Berkeley because it is the original location. If they are paying good money to have a limo take them from SF to Napa, what's the big problem with stopping off and seeing a few other parts of the Bay Area on their way to grab breakfast.

                Anyway, Arizmendi is about 5 min from the freeway, and ACME is maybe closer to 10 min due to stoplights and busier streets.

                1. re: jaypeezy

                  Her point was that although it's shorter/quicker to go to Napa via the Bay Bridge, a tourist like the original poster would undoubtedly prefer to take the undeniably more scenic route over the GG Bridge and through Marin, especially since they can get all the Acme goods they want without going through Berkeley.

            3. I'd suggest trying for a Friday late lunch at Slanted Door (depending on how late), and then getting your morning pastries on Saturday morning at Tartine. You can head to dim sum for Monday lunch at Yank Sing. Or you could try for a Friday late lunch at Zuni, and keep Slanted Door for Monday. Brunch at Canteen is fantastic, but as Dave said, no more than four (only sort of five) can sit at a table comfortably, so if your party is bigger than that, you might want to go elsewhere. As for pricing, I think that I remember the Eggs Benedict is about $11 (someone correct me if I'm wrong), and the main items range from $9 - $15ish.

              For Saturday dinner, you could head to Pizzeria Delfina for dinner (or pick pizza up from there)

              5 Replies
              1. re: JasmineG

                Pizzeria Delfina is *not* a place to go if you're feeling exhausted, they don't take reservations and the wait can be long. It's not close to Third & Market, either.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Yeah, but I can't think of any good low key places for dinner near 3rd and Market. But then, I've never had to wait all that long for a table at Pizzeria Delfina, I've found that the tables turn relatively quickly.

                  1. re: JasmineG

                    Near Third and Market and suitable for post-Napa-trip exhaustion maybe the lounge at Fifth Floor, Two, or Amber India. Maybe even the Ducca lounge right in the hotel.

                    Fifth Floor lounge menu:


                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      Hmm, none of those are particularly low key to me, though they're all good. I'd pick Two, of the choices.

                      1. re: JasmineG

                        Have you seen a crowd in the Fifth Floor lounge? Seems like a sort of secret hideaway to me but maybe on a Saturday night it's different.