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Apr 25, 2010 07:26 PM

Champagne tastes with beer money from Boston

Planning a first time visit to the San Francisco area with my husband starting May 14th for 9 nights.
We're an adventurous, budget minded couple in our forties who've travelled and eaten a lot!!
We try to keep our meals and lodging bills to a minimum (dinners averaging $50 including dessert for 2 people, and lodging averaging $100/night)
We LOVE to eat tasty, fairly priced food...We don't drink alcohol...we NEED good bakeries/desserts and coffee...we prefer independents over corporate chains...we love ethnic food...we love to eat the local cuisine...we like big portions...we love good diners and home style places with history...
We don't like "fancy" places, bar/lounge type scenes, paying for the view, tiny portions even if it's "amazing", or any long waits...
We especially love French, Asian (no Thai or Sushi), Soul, Low Country, BBQ, Cuban, Indian, Middle Eastern, Italian, Vegetarian, and SEAFOOD!!
With all that said............
Your expert local feedback would be MOST appreciated!!
I've come up with the "plan" below...but would really like to know from the SF chowhounds if I've made good choices...based on our interests/budget/itinerary.

Day 1 Friday:
Arrive SF at 10PM from Boston
Lorries Shuttle to Fort Mason
Check into Hostel near Fisherman's Wharf for first 3 nights: $80/night for private room with shared bath

Day 2 Saturday:
Breakfast/lunch: Walk embarcadero from Aquatic Park to Ferry Building/Farmer's Market (Kimchi fried rice and Korean tacos from Namu, sausage rolls from Ryan Farr's place, pancetta panino from Roli Rolti, pear frangipane from Frog Hollow's, garlic fries from Taylor's Refreshers, pork tamales from Primavera, oysters from Hog Island, Acme walnut and olive breads, pain au chocolat from Della Fattoria)
1PM Giants Game
Independent walking tour of glass elevators/hotel lobbies near Union Square
Cable Car ride on Powell Hyde line back down to Fisherman's Wharf
Dinner: Takeout from Chaac Mool: Yucataen food from a stand in the Fort Mason parking lot (cochinita tamale, sope, pork torta, watermelon agua fresca) About $20.00 inclusive

Day 3 Sunday:
9AM service at Glide Memorial Church
Biking from Fisherman's Wharf
Snacks/coffee at Warming Hut to get going
Ride over GGB and explore Sausalito
Continue ride to Mill Valley and around North Bay to Tiburon
Need suggestions for lunch in Tiburon?? (a great sandwich/soup, cheap takeout would be fine)
Ferry back to San Fran
Dinner: Gamine French Bistro (steak tartare & escargots appetizers, 2 burgers/frites, 2 chocolate mousse) About $80.00 inclusive

Day 4 Monday:
7AM check out of hostel, pick up car at Dollar Rental Fisherman's Wharf
On the road to Muir Woods
Lunch at Bovine Bakery in Point Reyes Station
Afternoon 5 mile hike at Point Reyes National Seashore: Laguna Loop
Check in to Point Reyes Hostel for 1 night: $44.00/night for dorm accommodations with shared bath
Dinner: Station House Cafe (warm popovers, fresh oysters, good desserts, etc) About $70.00 inclusive

Day 5 Tuesday:
Breakfast at Bovine Bakery or Station House Cafe
10 mile hike at Point Reyes National Seashore: Sky/Bear Valley loop trail
Back to San Fran late afternoon, drop car at O'Farrell St location, no drop off fee
Check into Rex Hotel Union Square for next 3 nights: $104/night travelzoo deal
Dinner: Tadich Grill (2 Seafood Cioppino's and split an appetizer, no dessert) About $80.00 inclusive: "wow" it better be good!

Day 6 Wednesday:
Breakfast: Papa Beards cream puffs takeoput and good coffee
Free admission California Academy of Sciences (3rd Wed of the month)
Visit free parts of De Young
Picnic lunch and goof around Golden Gate Park/Japanese tea garden, etc.
Dinner: Anh Hong (7 courses of beef for 2 and maybe a little something else) About $50.00 inclusive

Day 7 Thursday:
Breakfast at Dottie's??
Any other good bakery/coffee suggestions in Rex Hotel/Union Square area?
Telegraph Hill, 377 Steps
Coit Tower
Big late lunch at R&G Lounge (salt & pepper live crab, whole abalone with mustard greens appetizer, 1/2 Peking Duck, wild mushroom chow mein) About $90.00 inclusive, depending on market prices
Alcatraz Night Tour
Suggestions for late night dessert near Fisherman's Wharf or back at Union Square? How's the hot fudge sundae at Ghiradelli Square?

Day 8 Friday:
7AM check out of hotel and pick up rental car at Dollar O'Farrell Street
Tartine Bakery for breakfast/road treats (coconut cream tarts...)
On the road to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park near Santa Cruz
11AM historic steam train trip to Bear Mountain at Roaring Camp
Lunch in Santa Cruz at Malabar Cafe (Sri Lankan fusion: mango almond curry, spinach kofta, grilled bread and brown rice) $50.00 inclusive
Walk Santa Cruz boardwalk
Check in to Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel in Pescadero for 1 night: $56.00/night for dorm accommodations with shared bath
Dinner: Duarte's Tavern (artichoke soup, Pacific Snapper and Crab Cioppino with homemeade pie for dessert sounds great) PRICES??
Is this place all that? I've read mixed reviews and want to order the right thing!

Day 9 Saturday:
Early AM bird watching/walking at Pescadero Marsh
Possible visit to Harley farms to see the goats and buy some cheese for lunch
Ano Nuevo Reserve and/or Waddell Beach?
Check in to Point Montara Lighthouse Hostel in Montara for 1 night: $71.00/night for private room with shared bath
Visit Half Moon Bay/Moss Beach
Dinner: Cafe Gibraltar (Mediterranean fusion: braised pork cheeks over polenta and oysters 3 ways for the appetizers, Moroccan Lamb and Catalan roasted rabbit for the main dishes, banana coconut cream pie for dessert) About $100 plus...inclusive...last night in Cally!!
I hope this place doesn't disappoint!!

Day 10 Sunday:
Depart Hostel by 6AM
Return car to Dollar without a drop off fee
9AM flight back to Boston, full and happy...........

Tartine Bakery
600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Della Fattoria
141 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, CA 94952

Tadich Grill
240 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

Duarte's Tavern
202 Stage Rd, Pescadero, CA 94060

439 Balboa Street, San Francisco, CA 94118

Cafe Gibraltar
425 Ave. Alhambra, El Granada, CA 94018

Warming Hut
983 Marine Drive, San Francisco, CA

Bovine Bakery
11315 Shoreline Hwy, Point Reyes Station, CA

Station House Cafe
11180 State Route 1 N, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

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  1. Regarding Pt. Reyes, we had an okay dinner there last Spring but the service was very poor. Negligent, aloof, didn't seem like the staff cared if they had any paying customers. Would not return. Osteria Stellina has favorable reviews, but maybe beyond your price point. Have read about Pine Cone Diner for breakfast and good reviews. For a casual snack/meal, there is a Mexican-type grocery tacqueria w/pizza that looked and smelled delicious. Cowgirl Creamery and other tenants could provide great supplies for a tasty meal.

    Pine Cone Diner
    60 4th St, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

    Cowgirl Creamery - Petaluma Facility
    105 H St, Petaluma, CA 94952

    Osteria Stellina
    11285 Highway 1, Point Reyes Station, CA

    2 Replies
    1. re: macadam

      Pt Reyes, I would expect that cafe in Bolinas to be good.

      1. re: macadam

        Osterina Stellina is doable for just over $50; get a pizza, two apps, a dessert, maybe around $60.

        and totally worth it.

        i enjoy tadich grill, but don't set your expectations too high, and i wouldn't consider it a splurgeworthy meal

      2. Station House was the restaurant in Pt. Reyes was the dinner experience I was referring to; sorry!

        Station House Cafe
        11180 State Route 1 N, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

        1. The original comment has been removed
          1. Or email me (see my profile) for the hotel we stay in every trip for less than $80 per night in shoulder seasons. Just a couple blocks from Union Square, and no shared bathroom

            Also don't forget about the Muni pass ($24 for 7 days) -- well worth it if you plan to use public transit, especially the cable cars, at all.

            And to keep this on food, even though I am not local, if you do stay in F'man's Wharf (shudder) then be sure to check out Tanguito for some tasty empanadas. It's a stand with a few tables and the empanadas are made fresh there. Just go early as they sell out.

            2850 Jones St, San Francisco, CA 94133

            1. re: grayelf

              I think the 7-day Muni visitor pass is now $26. Still, at $5/ride, with no transfers, for the cable cars, it's well worth it.

              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                Right you are Ruth! And since the mods deleted my post on Poc Chuc I guess because it talked about the neighbourhood, let me just say that is a great rec for the OPs. A sit down Yucatecan meal to compare to their planned Chac Mool takeaway would be fun I think.

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

          2. I wouldn't go to Beard Papa -- it's a chain, and you say that you like independents, but even more importantly, I don't really like their creampuffs. There are lots of other great bakeries around SF, you could go to the Sentinel, to Thorough Bakery, or to any of the La Boulange outlets (small local chain, good baked goods).

            You could get better food, and better French food at that price than at Gamine. SF excels at mid priced Cal/Italian, and it's missing from your list; I'd replace Gamine with La Ciccia, A16 or Incanto, all of which you can get out of for $80 or less with no alcohol.

            La Ciccia
            291 30th Street, San Francisco, CA 94131

            2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

            1. The original comment has been removed