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Newlyweds from Toronto in search of SF's best!

s
Sadistick Jun 9, 2009 01:15 PM

Always fun getting a chance to post on other boards, usually means some type of vacation is approaching!

We are getting married in August and are heading to Hawaii, via SF - where we will be staying for 3 nights in on our way there, then upon return, 1 night in Napa.

For those that have not been to Toronto, we have a strong culinary scene, which is definetly seeing some movement towards offal, as of late, however; with varied ethnicities being our strongest suite, without doubt. While we do have some excellent restaurants and chefs, (Splendido, Scaramouche, Canoe, Colborne Lane) I know that you fine folks in the sunny state of CA have some pretty stellar ones that would put restaurants to shame.

We are coming to eat (first and foremost) and then relax and enjoy your city.

Suggestions for 3 dinners would be appreciated - I have done a lot of reading, but obviously the more recent the response the better. This being a special occasion, money is not a concern.

We also love Mexican food, but sadly lack any viable options which excite the palate in Toronto...so possible lunch suggestions as well, would be fantastic!

If there are any special events or activities you can recommend (we love the outdoors) which are going on in August, or that we should miss, I know its not food related...tips would be great.

In terms of Napa - I am not sure if this is the right board (???) but anyhow...We have rented a car, and are considering Terra for our dinner the one night, but could be easily pursueded.

We are lovers of wine in general, with stronger focus on Pinot's and Cabs from CA - I have heard Karl Lawrence and Shafer are both good vinyards to visit, but would LOVE some help here as well.

Cheers!

  1. rworange Jun 9, 2009 09:58 PM

    What are the exact days of the week that you will be here. It matters in terms of what is open or not.

    With your reading, other than Terra, what onther restaurants were interesting in SFor Napa. Does Napa mean the city, if not, what Napa town(s) are you planning to visit.

    Is this the first time in the Bay Area for both of you? If not, what have you tried and liked?

    This might get you started

    Visitng SF. Eat like a local not a tourist.
    http://www.chow.com/lists/edit/1591

    11 Replies
    1. re: rworange
      s
      Sadistick Jun 10, 2009 07:25 AM

      Appreciate the reply -

      I believe we will be in SF on Wed/Thurs/Fri

      Other restaurants that were of interest based on reading the boards: Coi, Gary Danko (though he seems more of a traditionalist), Mission St Food (dont know a lot about this one)

      We will be staying at the Prescott hotel, which I believe is fairly local, and will not have a car in SF (although I have no problems walking, or if need be cabbing for dinner).

      Would love to hear suggestions for Lunch (would love to have some GOOD sushi 1 or 2 days, and some Mexican for sure) as well as any local treats we should try while there.

      I have been to SF once long ago, but only remember one restaurant called the Stinking Rose I believe...lots of garlic!

      We will be in the Napa region with a car for 1 night, so I am happy to drive for good food.

      1. re: Sadistick
        jpancake Jun 10, 2009 09:17 AM

        Ubuntu in Napa gets a lot of love on the board; I believe the NY Times named it one of the 10 best new restaurants in the country.

        Taquerias are to San Franciscans as Jewish delis are to Manhattanites - everyone's got a favorite, and an opinion. That said, you might want to give Papalote a try for lunch. Valencia between 24th and 16th is probably the most vibrant area in the city right now, so it's a nice place for a walk. For a more restaurant-y experience, Pastores is extremely good. A bit harder to get to, and sometimes closed, inexplicably. To get to either, take BART to the 24th St Mission station. Papalote is two blocks away, Pastores a bit less than a mile.

        -----
        Ubuntu Restaurant & Yoga Studio
        1140 Main Street, Napa, CA 94558

        Papalote Mexican Grill
        3409 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

        Pastores Restaurant
        3486 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

        1. re: jpancake
          s
          Sadistick Jun 10, 2009 09:49 AM

          I have read much about Ubuntu, however; I am not sure if I can make myself go to a Veg only restaurant for our only night in Napa...it does sound intriguing though...but vs the likes of Terra, Cyrus or Martini house - how does it compare?

          1. re: Sadistick
            rworange Jun 10, 2009 11:37 AM

            Not to put down Terra, Cyrus or Martini house, but you will probably be eating that same type of food in any of the upscale restaurants in the area. It will be enjoyable, but hardly different.

            You will not just be getting only vegetables, but some of the fisest combined with exquisite cheese, dairy, eggs. There's no brown rice or even rice on the menu or tofu or all the ususall suspects that make vegetaraian restaurants a chore to those who eat meat.

            Imagine gettting soup where a mini flowers such as the tiniest pansies, climb up the side of a bowl like a trellis, then a beautiful pea soup is poured into the bowl that not only is the best sweet pea dish you ever had but is complex and deep with other amazing flavors.

            Do take a look at the website, the dishes are even more stunning looking than the photos ... and tastier.
            http://www.ubuntunapa.com/

            Because you mention an interest in COI rather than Danko which is more tradtional, you would enjoy the creativity here with dishes such as

            roscoe’s asparagus in various forms, a “virtual” egg *
            black trumpet and brioche terrine, BORDEAUX SPINACH, “bordelaise”

            They are a little slow on the update for the menu, so the April, as of this post is still up. Here it is in pdf format.
            http://www.ubuntunapa.com/images/downloads/Ubuntu-Dinner.pdf
            http://www.ubuntunapa.com/images/down...

            But you will be there in August, prime veggie season. When the opened in the winter a few years ago, I dreamed about what this restaurant would serve at the height of summer since I was so blown away in the dead of Decemeber.

            They exceeded my dreams.

            If you are in Napa on Saturday or Sunday they are open for lunch.. However, If I had one dinner in Napa this would be high on my list and if I move out of the Bay Area, this would be one of the first places I'd eat upon returning.

            If you go, don't miss the carta musica which sounds boring on the menu but is just greatness.

            Nearby Ubuntu is the Oxbow Public Market with lots of interesting small, casual restaurants and food shops such as Fatted Calf.

            1. re: rworange
              s
              Sadistick Jun 10, 2009 01:07 PM

              I must say, you are terribly convincing with this post RW....

              It could be a seriously interesting experience and something totally different from 'the norm'...hmmmm

              I am guessing I need reservations far in advance? How are their wine pairings?

              If you dont mind - I am having some difficulty deciding on SF spots to visit as well - I am considering Coi, possibly Danko, Aqua? How is Canteen / Bouchon?

              Thanks again for the help!

              1. re: Sadistick
                s
                sfbing Jun 10, 2009 01:32 PM

                As an avowed meat eater, I have to say that Ubuntu is awesome. Trust me, you won't even notice that there is no meat. I haven't found it difficult to get reservations at Ubuntu, but I think more people are starting to know about it.
                However, since money is no object, you should attempt to get reservations at the French Laundry. The economy appears to have made reservations more available. If you were insanely lucky and it is a weekday, you might be able to do both French Laundry and Ubuntu on the same day.

                In SF, I prefer Coi to Danko and Aqua. Danko and the Ritz have pretty typical tasting menu fare with foie and truffles etc. (if you go to French Laundry, I wouldn't bother with either Danko and the Ritz). Coi is very light--mostly vegetables, some seafood, just one meat dish.

                Canteen is excellent. Highly recommended for inventive American food with some Continental flair. The restaurant has a cute diner look next to a funky hotel. The chef is always there working like crazy.

                Bouchon is in Napa and reports are that the food is slipping.

                Good sushi in the city is a dinner thing. I think the best sushi in the city right now is available at Sebo (but not on Sundays, that is izakaya night). If you don't go to Terra, consider Ame in SF. Same owner, very different spin--Ame is Japanese-French, sort of.

                1. re: Sadistick
                  rworange Jun 10, 2009 02:17 PM

                  Danko is fine. I ranted about a dinner there a few years ago because at that point it was the uncontested darling of the SF restauarant scene and I was underwhelmed. I also didn't like the decor which was very black and dark. i guess it could be scene as romantic, but I'd save this for a 25th anniversary rather than a wedding trip.

                  I'm an active disliker of Aqua and they are currently having some problems. I dislike Aqua mainly for its cold-as-a-fish service. I think it is more of a business dinner type of place. If you look at the restaurant record for Aqua on this site, check out uhokey's report. He was quite the fan.

                  I'm so far not a Thomas Keller fan either though as far as French Laundry, I preferred The Dining Room at the Ritz. The Ritz also has top notch service and a nice champagne cart. IMO, Bouchon is a waste of time for any visitor. If there is a French Bistro in your town, you won't get anything so different here. I don't even like Bouchon Bakery much, except for the jelly donuts ... they do an excellent jelly donut. But if I were going to bakeries in that area I'd pick Sweetie Pies or even Model over the touristy Bouchon Bakery ... or bistro.

                  There are places I just seem to drag my feet about and COI and Canteen are two of them, but they are at the top of my to-try list.

                  As for Mexican, I'd go to Poc Chuc which is Yucatan cuisine. Then stroll around 24th street before or after checking out the nearby taquerias, coffee shops and definately Humphry Slocombe ice cream. If you look at the lists I provided there's info about taquerias and what to order and HS ice cream. Click on any name in the list and you will find websties, if any, and more Chowhound reports. Poc Chuc is on 16th and you can either walk up Mission or take a bus.

                  Aziza is one rec often mentioned. It is Cal-Morrocan. The only trouble is it is quite the bus or cab ride up Geary. It is romantic and not the usual corny morracan thing ... no belly dancers ... very nice cocktails. They just snagged an excellent chef and though he will not be an an assistant role, I'm very curious to see how he influences the menu.
                  http://www.aziza-sf.com/about_us.html

                2. re: rworange
                  Splendid Wine Snob Jun 10, 2009 02:00 PM

                  You just convinced me too...I just made a reso! And thanks for your informative and helpful posts. I've been lurking this board for a while and you've helped me plan my upcoming July trip.

                  SWS

              2. re: jpancake
                w
                whiner Jun 13, 2009 05:56 PM

                I second Papalote. Authentic? Hell, no. Tasty? Hell, yes.

              3. re: Sadistick
                BernalKC Jun 10, 2009 04:40 PM

                Mission Street Food in the same sentence as Coi and Gary Danko? <smile>

                MSF sublets a very modest space in a very gritty block of Mission St two nights a week, Thursdays and Saturdays. No reservations, cash only, but inexpensive. Parties of 2 are seated quicker if they're open to seating with another couple. Minimal beer and wine ($5 corkage, so BYO) and no coffee service (plenty of coffee shops nearby). Menu changes nightly based on guest chefs' inspirations - the menu is posted to their website a day or more ahead of time. Check out their site to sample some recent menus.

                If you're looking for high-end, money-is-no-object dining nirvana, MSF is out. But if you want something creative, unpredictable and unique served in a funky, casual intimate setting then MSF is a great idea. Definitely an only-in-SF experience that has been at the forefront of the burgeoning street food scene.

                1. re: Sadistick
                  k
                  kmoises Jul 25, 2009 10:08 AM

                  I was just in San Francisco, Sonoma, and Napa a few weeks ago...it was an amazing trip. In San Francisco we ate dinner at Gary Danko which was a wonderful dining experience, great food and service. We did the 3-course tasting meal, but if you just want to eat a-la-carte you need to sit at the bar. Call early for a reservation as they have a waiting list.

                  We also ventured into Sausilito which is a town just after the Golden Gate Bridge going North. Wonderful town! We ate dinner at Sushi Ran after a recommendation from a former local... It was amazing, best sushi I've ever had. Try the smoked hamachi dish...

                  For breakfast, A MUST is Tartine Bakery (in the Mission). Delicious pastries, food and coffee. Worth the wait if there is one.

                  In Napa, we ate lunch at Taylor's Automatic Refresher, delicious burgers in my opinion, try the garlic parsely fries too. For dinner, we ate at Bottega. Great food, great ambiance and service. I've never been to any other restaurants there so there might be better ones, but we enjoyed it.

              4. wolfe Jun 10, 2009 03:23 AM

                Here is a link to last years last years Toronto visitors.
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5233...

                1 Reply
                1. re: wolfe
                  grayelf Jun 10, 2009 09:46 AM

                  We have almost no decent Mexican in Vancouver either -- I feel your pain. We go for tacos every time we visit but this topic is rather contentious as per jpancake above.

                  Loved Pastores in March 2009 and Poc Chuc a year earlier; here's some abridged comments FYI.

                  La Torta Gorda looks very much like an old-style diner inside, complete with pedestal stools at the counter, but serves mostly Poblano-style Mexican food – a proper loncheria. Although the tortas looked great as they were being prepared, I went for a carnitas taco and a quesadilla con flor de calabaza (squash blossom) y epazote washed down with a more-than-competent agua fresca de pina (sorry, no tilde) or pineapple water. Both were fresh made, hot and delicious, served on exemplary corn tortillas, the first thin and small, the second large and thick. The carnitas were well seasoned and relatively dry, which is how I prefer them. The three items I had came to less than $10. Other bonuses: super friendly staff, quick service, really big serviettes, a nice clean bathroom and even a tiny patio out back. We will return to this busy spot to try their chiles rellenos, mole poblano and other goodies.

                  We had lamentably unnecessary resos at Poc Chuc (2886 16th S btwn South Van Ness and Shotwell) for 7:30. The server (who may also have been the owner) was incredibly gracious, offering us complimentary sangria or red wine. We chose sangria which was delicious. As no alcoholic beverages were listed I suspect this and the bottle of red wine on offer were provided expressly for us. We started with the Platillo Maya ($10) and an order of plantains with a delightful side of mixed greens ($6). The platillo (which by the way was beautifully plated) had an empanada, a tostado, a salbute, a panucho and a small flauta-type beasty called a kotzito. We shared these and I decided to order two more each of the salbute, panuchos and an empanada as a main, while the guys went for the eponymous Poc Chuc marinated pork ($14) and the pollo pibil ($12). Both were extremely generous in size and delicious from the tastes I had. The total bill came to $56 so I’m guessing they only charged me $10 for my customized main, and of course there were the gratis libations. Outrageously good value for well presented home-style cooking. The food, service, ambience and room were all winners. The location seems out of the way (although easy to get to on BART) and a bit sketchy to a visitor…

                  -----
                  Poc Chuc
                  2886 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                  La Torta Gorda
                  2833 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                2. s
                  Sadistick Jun 11, 2009 04:49 PM

                  Mission St Food sounds interesting, and given we will be in SF from Wed-Fri night, it is feasable...

                  The question now is, is it worth one of our 3 dinners?

                  I think Coi is a definite - would love some ideas for other 2 nights.

                  grayelf - many thanks for the mexi reco's - I think I may fall in love (and gain many pounds) with the Mission district.

                  Also - think we have settled on Ubuntu for our Napa jaunt...uniquely interesting, and something we dont have in Toronto.

                  Wouldn't mind some assistance on the winery visit front - I have heard great things about Shafer, Karl Lawrence and Anthill Farms....we will be staying at Gaia Napa Valley Hotel - not sure of the distance to these - but we have a car (although what fun is that!?)

                  But seriously - appreciate everyones assistance.

                  18 Replies
                  1. re: Sadistick
                    JasmineG Jun 11, 2009 04:56 PM

                    Mission Street Food updates what the menu is going to be on its blog every week http://blog.missionstreetfood.com/ so you can make backup reservations, pay attention to the blog, and see which sounds better (and, of course, cancel your reservations for elsewhere if you decide to go to MSF). I adore Canteen, and would recommend it for a dinner (or weekend breakfast/brunch).

                    1. re: Sadistick
                      wolfe Jun 11, 2009 05:21 PM

                      Gaia Napa Valley Hotel is in American Canyon Just south of City of Napa. I can find Shafer at about 20 miles is Napa Valley. Anthill appears to be in Sonoma about 50 miles away and I can't find K Lawrence. Ubuntu is 9 miles north, right at the fork, stay on Soscol, left at 1st, right at Main. It's on that block on the right.

                      1. re: wolfe
                        v
                        vday Jun 11, 2009 06:01 PM

                        Ubuntu sounds wonderful for dinner, but I would seriously consider staying somewhere prettier on a honeymoon. It will most likely be hot in August, and you will be right on the main highway (mixed commercial/industrial zone) in American Canyon which can be packed that time of year. Ubuntu will be a great meal, and how nice it would be to leisurely stroll around downtown Napa and then back to a B&B or hotel within walking distance.

                        1. re: vday
                          m
                          Mariana in Baja Jun 11, 2009 06:32 PM

                          I second the idea of staying somewhere else. American Canyon is not pretty. There are so many many options in and around Napa and Yountville. And with the economy as it is you could well find something reasonable. But American Canyon has nothing to offer and you can't walk anywhere you would want to go. I grew up in Toronto and I'm trying to think of a comparison - maybe staying at the far northern end of Yonge Street and thinking you are actually in the city???

                          1. re: vday
                            rworange Jun 11, 2009 07:12 PM

                            Yeah, I have to agree about checking out a different hotel. Let me make it really clear that Chowhound doesn't allow hotel discussions as it is off topic. If you do decide to stay there just up the street across the road from a super Wal-Mart ... are you getting the drift about this location ... is Marshall's Honey Farm.

                            I'm imaging that when Marshall's first started this was all farm country instead of all the malls and chain food restaurants that currently are in that area. Marshall;s has some excellent honey, the most interesting being the pumpkin blossom. They have at least 30 types of honey. Anyway, it is nearby
                            http://www.marshallsfarmhoney.com/

                            Funny, I was just driving down that stretch of the road with a freind when he glanced over at the Gaia and said "why would anyone want to stay here when they are only a few miles from Napa"

                            In terms of food and hotels ... since I live in the area I don't know about hotel experiences first hand, The Napa River Inn which is next to Sweetie Pie's always seemed nice. Also, Sweetie Pie's is a nice place to have breakfast. Skip the Mexican joint tho in that same area
                            http://www.napariverinn.com/

                            I had breakfast at the Westin Napa Verasa. The breakfast was just ok, but the service from the hotel staff was seriously excellent. It is about two blocks away from Ubuntu and one block from the Oxbow Public Market where you could pick up some nice baked goods for breakfast from Model Bakery.
                            http://www.starwoodhotels.com/westin/...

                            You are welcome to email me (on my profile) if you want to discuss hotels specifically. Like I said, I can't give you a personal experience, but I can say what it looks like from driving by or being in the lobby or retaurant.

                            1. re: rworange
                              v
                              vday Jun 11, 2009 07:42 PM

                              Yeah, too bad Marshall's Honey Farm has been surrounded by the eyesore of urban sprawl in American Canyon.. I love your suggestion rworange of Sweetie Pies in the old Hat Mill building in downtown Napa (Napa River Inn is GREAT - also only about 2-3 blocks from Ubuntu!) which has wonderful desserts/coffees and light meals.

                              1. re: rworange
                                JasmineG Jun 11, 2009 08:30 PM

                                --Funny, I was just driving down that stretch of the road with a freind when he glanced over at the Gaia and said "why would anyone want to stay here when they are only a few miles from Napa"--

                                I was in Napa a few weeks back, and had the same conversation when driving by that hotel. Especially since all of the good wineries and restaurants are around 10 or so miles away. And after dinner and tastings, those are 10 long miles.

                                A winery that I love is Elyse in Napa -- no tour, just a little tasting room, but really nice people, and great mid-priced wines.

                                1. re: JasmineG
                                  v
                                  vday Jun 11, 2009 08:54 PM

                                  And to quickly get out in the very nearby countryside, you could get on First street downtown by Ubuntu (and Napa River Inn) and head West - cross Hwy 29, and take the back road a couple of miles to Artesa Winery. (pick up a local map at the hotel to navigate the short jaunt) Nice wines and a spectacular views of the lower valley from there:-) Or a little farther afield, (maybe 20 minutes or so) take the Silverado Trail up to Rutherford Hill Winery and have refreshments on the deck at Auberge du Soleil - my favorite little splurge and great views of mid/upper valley. Both are beautiful drives.

                            2. re: wolfe
                              s
                              Sadistick Jun 12, 2009 09:28 AM

                              I do hope that the hotel will take our cancellation...sure doesnt sound like the type of place I want to stay at....

                              1. re: Sadistick
                                rworange Jun 12, 2009 10:02 AM

                                What day are you planning to be in Napa and what is your timeline... arriving at the airport at what time and taking the plane out?

                                It occurred to me that that drive up 80 to Napa isn't the most scenic so I hope you will consider an alternate route either on the way up or back.

                                There's 12/121 which is a pretty stretch of road between Napa and Sonoma with quite a few wineries. So if you come up over the Golden Gate Bridge, take the Sonoma exit off 101 and eventually hook on that road. It would be a nice drive.

                                Gloria Ferrar makes champagne and is along that route. If you haven't been to a winery that makes champagne it is interesting to see the different process.

                                Stuff though like what day of the week matters since traffic can get grim at times.

                                1. re: rworange
                                  v
                                  vday Jun 12, 2009 11:06 AM

                                  Sadistick, I second the drive over the GGB and up 101. I can't think of any "good" way from SFO to Napa during commute hours, so hope you can avoid that traffic. RW is giving you good advice re Gloria Ferrer. They make a REALLY good ultra-premium Cuvee called Va de Vi. On their website they describe it as "a classic blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with just a trace of Muscat." It has just a hint of sweetness from the Muscat. They were pouring tastings of this at the recent Carneros Fest (I was lucky and got a free pass to this event). Wow! I thought it was the best thing I tasted that day and I tasted lots of wine! Tasting some of their award winning Cuvees and sparkling wines might be a really fun way to finish up the last leg of your special trip.

                                  1. re: rworange
                                    s
                                    Sadistick Jun 12, 2009 02:10 PM

                                    I thank you for your reply - and you vday -

                                    We will be arriving quite early in SF to go to Napa - approx 5AM!

                                    We were able to cancel our reservations at the previous hotel - although I know this is not a hotel website, I would reallllly appreciate any suggestions of something better, I have no idea if there is a way to private message on CH, but that would be great!

                                    I think I may be leaning to Shafer, but I am still open to winery suggestions - -

                                    Many thanks to all!

                                    1. re: Sadistick
                                      rworange Jun 12, 2009 02:24 PM

                                      Re-read this.
                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6264...

                                      There is no pm, but check user profiles (My Chow). If people are open to being contacted, they leave an email address somewhere there.

                                      1. re: Sadistick
                                        rworange Jun 12, 2009 02:27 PM

                                        Oops ... posted the wrong link above and corrected it.

                                        1. re: Sadistick
                                          wolfe Jun 12, 2009 02:34 PM

                                          I wouldn't think of giving hotel advice but there is a fortuitous confluence of fine restaurants in the small town of Yountville, just north of the City of Napa.
                                          http://search.chow.com/search?query=y...

                                          1. re: Sadistick
                                            v
                                            vday Jun 13, 2009 02:24 PM

                                            Sadistik, Shafer should give you a chance to taste some really great wines, and with that early arrival to SFO, you will have a nice long day to find your pleasures in the rest of the area.
                                            I think if you want more info about hotel accommodations than have already been "hinted", it might be a good option to go to a site like the TripAdvisor Forums for Napa Valley. Glad you decided to cut loose of American Canyon . . . Once you do your homework re hotels, feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions.

                                        2. re: Sadistick
                                          m
                                          milklady Jun 14, 2009 01:53 PM

                                          FYi I've stayed at this hotel before. It's not as close to Napa as ideal, but is really a lovely hotel, with nice rooms and a pool and is MUCH more reasonably priced than pretty much everything in Napa. So, don't stress if something else doesn't work out.

                                        3. re: wolfe
                                          w
                                          whiner Jun 13, 2009 05:53 PM

                                          Karl Lawrence is made out of the garage at Sequoia Grove.

                                      2. w
                                        whiner Jun 13, 2009 05:51 PM

                                        In terms of food:

                                        If money is not a concern, in SF, go to Coi.

                                        If you want all three nights to be fancy (by SF standards, still no tie for gentlemen needed at all) the others should be 2 of the three Gary Danko, La Folie, The Dining Room at the Ritz. I prefer the open 5 course menu at La Folie and Gary Danko as opposed to the 3 course or else set menu at The Dining Room.

                                        If you want a more laid back atmosphere with excellent food, Ame and Boulevard would be my two suggestions.

                                        I've not been to The French Laundry, but clearly, that is the place to go in Napa if you can get in. Terra should be *great* -- same people as Ame that I just reccomended. That said, my one experience there was less than stellar -- I'm basing my rec on my experiences at Ame that were so good tat I'm sure I was just there on an off night. However, for a more moderately priced dinner (ok, expensive, but not TFL insane) I really really like Martini House.

                                        As far as wineries are concerned... YES!!!!! Go to Karl Lawrence if you can. I promise you won't regret it. Ric and Mik are awesome. Obviously, you need an appointment. Shafer is also a good tour, though expensive, iirc.

                                        Neal, Lewelling, Del Dotto ($$$), and Chappellet are all orthy of consideration as well. but Karl Lawrence is my very favorite tour in Napa. And Shafer... is Shafer.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: whiner
                                          s
                                          Sadistick Jun 13, 2009 08:48 PM

                                          Coi is on the list in SF, and I am still deciding if Ritz Dining room is #2 (I have heard mixed things about Danko), I think either a sushi dinner or possibly Mission St Food sounds like quite the experience to round out the 3rd night.

                                          I have to confirm this with the wifey, but I believe we are in Napa on a Sunday - which looks like no Shafer....

                                          I think we are going to end up staying in Healdsburg as I am being torn towards Cyrus for dinner, so looking for wineries on the drive up to Cyrus which are open on weekends!

                                          (Where is Karl Lawrence? Couldnt find them on the website)

                                          Will have to look into where Neal, Lwewlling and Chapp are located...not really looking to drive ALL day!

                                          1. re: Sadistick
                                            w
                                            whiner Jun 14, 2009 12:34 PM

                                            Sadistick,

                                            1- I would go to La Folie over Gary Danko. My decision would be between Ritz and La Folie. I'm putting my money where my mouth is... 30th is at La Folie.

                                            Healsburg is Sonoma, not Napa. If going to Healdsburg from SF, forget Napa. Go to Sonoma wineries. They are better, anyway! Number #1 in the area, must must , must is Merry Edwards (by appoinment only). Other top ones are Siduri/Novy (appointment), Hartford, Martinelli, and Rosenblum in the town of Healdsburg.

                                            Karl Lawrence is located in the garage behind Sequoia Grove, but if you are going to Healdsburg, you really shouldn't be dealing with Napa wineries at all unless you absolutely hate Pinot Noir and love Cabernet.

                                            1. re: whiner
                                              s
                                              Sadistick Jun 15, 2009 07:54 AM

                                              We love Pinot!

                                              How far is Healdsburg (drive wise) from Napa and from SF for that matter? I believe we have settled to stay there given we are going to Cyrus for dinner, and would much rather not have to worry about having some wine with dinner and being able to walk back to the hotel.

                                              I appreciate your suggestion for Merry Edwards, will have to check that out -

                                              Where bouts is Sequoia Grove?

                                              1. re: Sadistick
                                                w
                                                whiner Jun 15, 2009 08:58 AM

                                                Healdsburg is close to an hour's drive from most of the Napa wineries. It is about an hour and 15 minutes (light traffic) from SF.

                                                Sonoma is more or less due north of SF whereas Napa is northeast of SF. The wineries in Sonoma are farther north than those in Napa, but, again, you don't have to drive east to get there (though posibly a little west). So driving time to Sonoma wineries (depending wich ones) isn't longer than to Napa wineries (depending which ones). Napa and Sonoma are seperated by a small mountain range making the crossovers infrequent and often windy.

                                                Sequoia Grove is in Napa, iirc right on the border of Yountville and Rutherford on the main highway. But, again, you would be spending so much of your day driving if you went there. If you love Pinot, I would abandon the Napa idea, I really would. You'll spend potentially hours less driving if you just focus on Sonoma. Plus, I prefer the scenery and tasting room culture (Karl Lawrence being an exception) in Sonoma vs. Napa.

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