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SF/Sausalito/Healdsburg trip plan for review

  • j

Hi all, headed to SF and wine country for a couple days in September…wanted to run my initial eating itinerary by you after reading quite a few similar threads. A bit of background, two late 20’s NYC residents. Lean towards laid-back places in NY, all genres are fair game and love fresh seafood (Marlow & Son, Locanda Verde, Pearl Oyster, Momofuku are faves)….doing one night in San Fran, one in Sausalito, one in Healdsburg and 2 in St Helena…

Arrival day: get in around 11:30AM on a Sunday…lunch at Ferry Bldg? dinner: at first, I was thinking Zuni Café but now am considering Nopa or Delfina based on an SF buddy’s advice….and totally random but is Nob Hill good area to stay in??

Monday: lunch: Tadich Grill or Sam’s or is it crazy to go back to Ferry….or is there a good, easy place in the Haight? Headed to Sausalito for the night, staying at Cavallo Point, don’t really want to do formal dinner at the hotel, what are thoughts on Fish or Sushi Ran?

Tuesday: Head up to Healdsburg while hitting wineries on the way up (quick sidetrack: any experience with Littorai Winery tour/tasting? Love their wine, and def. hitting up Merry-Edwards)…planning to have lunch at Lynmar Winery based on a good review on this site…would anyone steer me differently? Dinner in Healdsburg: Here’s the big question, originally was planning on trying to snag French Laundry rese but now I’m really debating whether the one big dinner should be Cyrus….it’s walking distance to hotel whereas we’d have to drive to Yountville if we decided on tFL. If we decide not to do big dinner, should we try Cyrus lounge or what about Barn Diva?

Wednesday: hit up some more Healdsburg area wineries...then head down to St Helena (maybe pick up lunch at Oakville Grocery before leaving?)…staying with friends in St Helena but will be on our own for one dinner…I’ve read good things about Martini House, is that the move or is there somewhere else? Any great spots for lunch at a winery or somewhere nearby St Helena?

And one more random question, what are people experiences with hiring wine country drivers? It’s tempting to do this one day so that we could kind of let loose at wineries (not total booze bags but it’s been known to happen!).

Thanks in advance and sorry for the rambling!

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Zuni Cafe
1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

The French Laundry
6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

Tadich Grill
240 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

Delfina Restaurant
3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Nopa
560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

Lynmar Winery
3909 Frei Rd, Sebastopol, CA 95472

Martini House
1245 Spring St., St. Helena, CA 94574

Oakville Grocery
124 Matheson St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

Sushi Ran
107 Caledonia St., Sausalito, CA 94965

Cavallo Point
601 Murray Circle, Sausalito, CA

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  1. hi, just wanted to bump this for some help....let me know if I need to be more specific, i've been doing research but just want some reassurance! I'm about to book the Fairmont unless others have suggestions for a place to stay....any restaurants that I should be checking out other than those listed above for my 1 dinner in SF proper? thanks!

    1. For your lunch at the Ferry Building (hint - across the street from Hotel Vitale), you might want to consider Hog Island Oyster. Alternatively, purchase cheese from Cowgirl Creamery, pain epi from Acme Bread, salami from the salami place then take these items and enjoy lunch al fresco on a bench overlooking the bay. Slanted Door is also nice but receives extremely polarizing opinions on this board. If you choose SD, make sure you research which items to order/avoid.

      Given all the great Italian available in NYC (we recently returned from a 10 day trip), I'd remove Delfina from your list since you can get similar food at home. Ditto for Sushi Ran.

      We love the cioppino at Tadich. For something different, you might try the S&P crab at R&G Lounge. We also like their three treasures dish. Again, do a search since ordering well is critical for a good meal at R&G.

      Have you considered Le Garage in Sausalito? Yes, you can get similar food at home but not with that view. It's a small restaurant so definitely make reservations and request an outside table.

      In St. Helena we prefer Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen and Rutherford Grill to Martini House. Yes RG shares the same owner as Houston's, but their food and service are excellent and they don't charge corkage.

      We're not allowed to comment on non-food related items like accomodations, but see my hint above. Hope that helps and you have a great trip!

      -----
      Slanted Door
      Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

      Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen
      1327 Railroad Ave., St. Helena, CA 94574

      Le Garage
      85 Liberty Ship Way Ste 109, Sausalito, CA

      Rutherford Grill
      1180 Rutherford Rd, Napa, CA 94558

      1 Reply
      1. re: cvhound

        Madrona Manor > TFL

        sorry it's my opinion - I enjoyed my meal better at MM (final bill, setting, and taste of food all included)

        -----
        Madrona Manor
        1001 Westside Rd, Healdsburg, CA 95448

      2. Littorai makes remarkable wine. Good inside knowledge. Lynmar makes excellent Pinots, and does (or used to do) Pinot and wood-fired pizza on Friday nights. Check the website, or call if it's not listed. Yes, to Merry Edwards. If you know about Littorai, you probably have the inside track on other small quality producers rarely mentioned on Chowhound.

        Fine (probably better) to switch to Cyrus instead of FL, especially since you'll be in Healdsburg anyway. That would be my vote.

        No need to seek out Oakville Grocery in Oakville. Merely another gourmet deli -- nothing that stands out -- and there's an Oakville Grocery in Healdsburg anyway. The Oakville location is good for a quick coffee and sweet thing. Do not go if it's crowded -- not a bit worth it. I think Dean & Deluca is better, and Sunshine Market in St. Helena the best of all (when you consider value). D&D does have some exotic foodstuffs not found elsewhere, but is expectedly quite pricey. These are lunchtime options.

        Martini House is excellent, especially in September. Much, much better than Cindy's and Ruth Grill. I like all three, but comparing them against one another doesn't work -- it's apples to oranges to pears -- they're all at different levels. The food is excellent at Martini House, especially in September for their heirloom tomato dishes. Nobody does tomato dishes better than MH; they even put together an entire tasting menu that is excellent -- do not miss it if it's available. The outdoor patio at the Martini House is very lovely, so I'd stick with MH.

        In SF: Sunday lunch at Zuni is excellent: roast chicken with bread salad, the best polenta with mascarpone of my life, excellent hamburgers, shoestring fries, great bubbly by the glass. Overall great ambience. If you've never been, go. I'm not much impressed with the Ferry Building anymore; though you can stroll through at lunchtime and grab wonderful bread, cheese, fruit and wine, and then picnic overlooking the water. (Pack your own corkscrew and cups, and carry them with you.) Tartine, wonderful for breakfast or lunch. For dinner, I like Delfina and Bi-Rite Creamery as an excellent pizza and gourmet ice cream combo (they're near one another). Don't know why you're overlooking dining at Cavallo Point. If you've never eaten Mexican food in the Mission, check that out, for lunch or dinner -- it's a cultural phenomenon and easy on the wallet. Thai food, same deal. In Sausalilto, Sushi Ran is excellent, even if you've had good sushi elsewhere. .

        With any of these mentions, take the time to do a search on Chowhound. Read a good number of posts on each place, and take note (even write down) the best dishes at each place. Do a search on other options in St. Helena as well. This will enhance your entire experience. I've directed you to my favorites and to where I would go were I a visitor. Good luck.

        -----
        Martini House
        1245 Spring St., St. Helena, CA 94574

        Oakville Grocery
        124 Matheson St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

        1. Just my two cents, based on where I'd take visitors.

          I like lunch at the Ferry Building followed by dinner at Zuni. Nopa and Delfina are great, but Zuni is the place I take visitors and then wonder to myself "Why don't I come here more often." I get that feeling every time, without fail.

          Tadich is good, I second the suggestion to look into Le Garage in Sausalito. You really cannot beat the view, and the food is delicious but the location is casual. I have not been to Ran, but Le Garage beats out Fish by a long shot for me.

          Lynmar is lovely, as is Cyrus. The Cyrus vs. French Laundry debate is one that will not end in a definitive answer, but I can't imagine wanting to do the drive over to Yountville and then driving all the way back stuffed, tipsy, and in the dark. But you are coming a long ways, so if it's something you want to check off your bucket list then go for it! I loved the meal and service at Cyrus, so I have no hesitation recommending it. But I haven't been to TFL. What I would definitely do since you're nearby is stop at the Cyrus bar for some cocktails. Their mixologist is AMAZING! I had one that involved strawberry and balsamic, and it was really unique and well-balanced.

          I will defer to others for the rest of your trip. Have a great time!

          -----
          Zuni Cafe
          1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

          The French Laundry
          6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

          Delfina Restaurant
          3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

          Nopa
          560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

          Le Garage
          85 Liberty Ship Way Ste 109, Sausalito, CA

          4 Replies
          1. re: Pei

            I'll leave the suggestions to the local experts but one word of advice from a fellow traveller to SF/Bay Area: 'ware Monday resto closures. They are legion, and I've been caught out more than once :-).

            1. re: grayelf

              I can't help but wonder if you realize that French Laundry is in Yountville which is maybe 10-15 minutes from St. Helena - but a very very long drive from Healdsburg. Maybe you could do that for your night out in St. Helena??

              -----
              The French Laundry
              6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

              1. re: Mariana in Baja

                thanks for all the helpful suggestions...after looking at the menus, I think Le Garage is a great call for Sausalito. I'm sure the restaurant at Cavallo is great but I think we'll want to explore the town and/or eat in a casual setting...regarding the blow out meal, if we did French Laundry, it would be for when we were staying in St Helena, so the drive may be less of an issue...that being said, that is why I'm leaning towards Cyrus, we could really just relax and enjoy ourselves but am I missing something by skipping out on FL? i know its not an easy answer....

                since i have only 1 dinner in SF, i really want to make the right call...Zuni looks fantastic and i know its legendary but i just want to make sure its not resting on laurels and/or if there is something along the same lines that might be a bit "fresher"....

                -----
                The French Laundry
                6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                Le Garage
                85 Liberty Ship Way Ste 109, Sausalito, CA

                1. re: JT007

                  Being able to walk to Cyrus is a big plus. Should you be able to land a reservation at TFL, you could still enjoy some bites at the Cyrus bar with a cocktail or two during your time in Healdsburg. here's the bar menu, http://www.cyrusrestaurant.com/pdf/me...

                  Scott Beattie's new place, Spoonbar, is in soft opening right now. Some friends went to the "friends and family" last weekend. You'll surely want to grab one of his drinks too.
                  http://sanfrancisco.grubstreet.com/20...

                  -----
                  Cyrus Restaurant
                  29 North St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

                  Spoonbar
                  219 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, CA 95448

          2. I don't know why you are rejecting Cavillo Point either, especially in light of all your other picks. This is really a top creative chef and I'd rather eat there than French Laundry.

            You don't need to order the tasting menu. Here's the current a la carte menu (pdf format). It changes daily.
            http://www.murraycircle.com/menus/mur...

            You can be as formal as you want. There is a lovely outdoor patio area. If you don't want to eat there, there is Farely Bar next to the restaurant with the same chef preparing the meals. It makes Le Garage look quite lame and uninteresting.

            You will find out when you get there, but that road down to the hotel is something else. I would not want to drive it after dark, so you might plan your dinner accordingly should you eat elsewhere.

            Cavillo Point has my favorite pastry chef. In the morning the is a small buffet. Do NOT miss the croissants ... they are the best I've ever had.

            Seriously ... don't go to Oakville Grocery ... unless you want food similar to what you can buy at a Whole Foods deli. Bovolo has some really good stuff. Downtown Healdsburg Bakery has top notch pastries. Down the block, Flying Goat coffee is very good.

            What road will you be drinving from Healdsburg to get to St Helena. It might help in terms of other lunch ssuggestions.

            4 Replies
            1. re: rworange

              ok, maybe we should consider Murray Circle...the menu does look good but we really are more into grazing/relaxed meals, so i dont want to overload on "fine dining", which is why I was planning on either just Cyrus or TFL

              got it, dont go to Oakville Grocery, i'm not sure what road down to St Helena, I was thinking silverado trail and potentially hitting up Viader or Pride Mountain...i really wish JoLe in Calistoga was open for lunch (familiar with chef/owner from when I was based in Philly..not sure how he stacks up in wine country but his restaurant, Matyson, was superb)

              -----
              Oakville Grocery
              124 Matheson St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

              JoLe
              1457 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga, CA 94515

              1. re: JT007

                I'm a big rworange fan and have found her restaurant pics/selections extremely helpful in the past. However, for what it's worth, I had a mediocre brunch at Farley Bar.

                There were four of us that day and everyone ordered a different entree so I got to taste numerous appetizers and entrees. It's very possible that we hit them on an off day, but none of us were pleased with our meals. To be fair, we've never eaten at the restaurant b/c of our experience at Farley Bar.

                I'm also in the minority in that I'm not a huge Zuni fan. We've had dinner there on three separate occasion (all three times with another couple) and ordered the famous chicken dish twice, so I feel I've experienced a good portion of their dinner menu.

                I don't think Oakville Grocery is significantly better than Zabar's or Fairway and the Whole Foods at Columbus Circle blows Oakville Grocery, Sunshine Market, Dean & Deluca (St. Helena location), etc. away.

                If you don't want to hit Ferry Building on Sunday, Maverick in the Mission serves brunch until 3pm. It's hard to explain why, but the style of their food reminds me of Locanda Verde (we had brunch there recently), but I prefer Maverick's food to LV. It's a very small restaurant so you'll definitely want to reserve ahead. When the weather is nice, we always request a window table which they leave open.

                My husband and I travel almost an hour each way to purchase loaves of bread from Tartine Bakery in the Mission. If you like bread, you can purchase their bread after 5pm until they sell out, half loaves are available. Otherwise you can sample their bread in their sandwiches or croques.

                We're huge carb addicts so we sampled lots of bread in NYC (Zabar's, Amy's, Balthazar's, Sullivan Street Bakery, Scarpetta's, etc.) and Tartine's country bread in S/F remains our favorite. If you can't get to Tartine, Acme's pain epi from the Ferry Building is also pretty tasty.

                Foreign Cinema in the Mision also does a great brunch. The inside of Foreign Cinema reminds me a lot of LV's interior. Very spacious, airy, bright with a great positive ambiance.

                -----
                Tartine Bakery
                600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                Foreign Cinema
                2534 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110

                1. re: cvhound

                  Thanks for the thoughts...I figure we will want to hit the Ferry Bldg either Sunday or Monday for lunch...leaving the decision to be made between a trip to the Mission for a burrito or Tartine or lunch at Tadich on Monday....

                  I'm leaning towards Zuni still but am able to be swayed...just read some positive press about Frances....

                  -----
                  Zuni Cafe
                  1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                  1. re: JT007

                    Frances is great, but it's a very difficult reservation right now, so be prepared to either wait for a while or have a backup plan.

            2. Healdsburg is near wonderful winery regions, Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Russian River. You'll find many recommendations here for wineries in those areas, many of which are very small with no "glitz" at all.. One lesser-known place I like to visit is a group of wineries and tasting rooms at 4791 Dry Creek Road north of Healdsburg, off the road and up a hill into a parking lot. Family Wineries is a tasting room for six small wineries, all quite good. In the same location are four(?) other small wineries with their own facilities. I find the whole experience very good, friendly, and low key.

              http://www.familywines.com/index1.html

              23 Replies
              1. re: Mick Ruthven

                Anthill Farms and Papapietro Perry are located here and worth checking out as well.

                1. re: Mick Ruthven

                  ok, first glitch in my plan has come up...Cyrus isn't open on Tuesdays...totally bummed as I was looking forward to it and was comfortable in my choice of Cyrus over TFL....now I may try to get an elusive reservation for French Laundry for when we are staying in St Helena...so now, where should we eat in Healdsburg? In looking at other threads, Barn Diva looks interesting, any other places to consider?

                  -----
                  The French Laundry
                  6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                  1. re: JT007

                    Madrona Manor.
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7018...

                    -----
                    Madrona Manor
                    1001 Westside Rd, Healdsburg, CA 95448

                    1. re: wolfe

                      thanks for the suggestion...if i get a rese at French Laundry for the next night, is Madrona going to be a bit overkill? the setting looks lovely but is it formal? is Barn Diva a little too trendy? sorry to be a pain but trying to make the right choice...maybe I will take the advice above and have our special formal meal at Murray Circle...

                      -----
                      The French Laundry
                      6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                      Murray Circle
                      601 Murray Circle, Sausalito, CA 94965

                      1. re: JT007

                        Maybe I'm crazy but Madrona just looks fussy to me, if that makes sense, in reading reviews, i'm sure the food is top-notch but i just dont see myself being relaxed...

                        1. re: JT007

                          Fussy compared to what, The French Laundry, Cyrus or Gott's Roadside Tray Gourmet?

                          -----
                          The French Laundry
                          6640 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                          1. re: wolfe

                            An examination of TFL menu would reveal a level of fussiness that would make Madrona Manor look like minor league baseball.

                            So what does fussy mean to you? That there were lots of details on the menu that described the gourmet ingredients used? That you were unfamiliar with the ingredients or dishes and that made you uncomfortable? Or that with the food descriptions you thought the service would be hovering and intrusive? Or that the expense would be too great?

                            1. re: maria lorraine

                              Sorry to be vague. With TFL, I'm expecting a service level and surrounding environs befitting a Michelin 3 Star and would be comfortable with that since it's a such unique experience (at least for me)....Food/menu isn't the issue but rather the Madrons setting seemed "fussy" to me for lack of a better descriptor...I could be totally off base but just my initial thoughts.

                              I'm going to try for TFL rese for Thursday night (2 mos from this Friday)...if I don't get one, then I can revisit Madrona Manor...other than that, should I go with Barn Diva when in Healdsburg?

                              1. re: JT007

                                So it wasn't the food at all, but the locale and grounds of Madrona Manor?

                                -----
                                Madrona Manor
                                1001 Westside Rd, Healdsburg, CA 95448

                                1. re: maria lorraine

                                  yeah, i guess so...i dont want to come across as shallow by dismissing Madrona on the grounds of ambiance but i tend to gravitate to more casual places but am also willing to step it up (ala TFL or Cyrus)...again, i could be totally off base. I've got the stomach for one "fine dining" experience on this trip and I want to make sure I make the right call.....

                                  1. re: JT007

                                    A bit of an update: I'm on the waitlist for TFL for my last night in St Helena....thus far, after all your thoughtful advice and a bit of board research:

                                    Sunday lunch: Ferry Marketplace (either Hog Island or make a picnic)...grab coffee at Blue Bottle

                                    Sunday Dinner: Have a reservation at Frances but still leaning towards Zuni and considering Nopa (Zuni doesnt accept reses until 30 days out)..what are your thoughts on Frances v Zuni?

                                    after dinner, going to try to grab a drink at Bourbon and Branch or Smuggler's Cove on our way back to hotel in Union Square area...

                                    Monday: any recc's for great coffee near Clift Hotel? for lunch, My fiancee loves Mexican, so I think a walk in the Mission is in order for a burrito and then grab a taste of ice cream (Bi-Rite or Humphrey Slocombe??)

                                    Monday Dinner: take a ferry over to Sausalito, grab a drink at Farley Bar at Cavallo Point (where we're staying) and then head to Sushi Ran or Le Garage....how does Sushi Ran compare to say Yasuda in NYC? The menu looks great but even though there are contradicting opinion on Le Garage, it looks like it could be a cool setting for a nice, comfortable meal...

                                    Tuesday: head out to Healdsburg, while tasting Pinots along the way (making appts at Littorai, Merry Edwards and lunch/tasting at Lynmar...may try a stop by at one or two others but dont want to overdo it)

                                    Tuesday Dinner: Cyrus is closed (bummed), casual dinner somewhere, have Ravenous or Barn Diva as the options as of now...

                                    Wednesday: some Dry Creek Rd winery visits in the morning....I want to do lunch in Calistoga, any suggestions? all i'm thinking now is grab stuff for a picnic at CalMart...visit Pride Mountain or Viader before getting to friend's house in St Helena...

                                    Wednesday Night: Dinner with local friends at Press (their choice..thoughts?)

                                    Thursday: more wineries(!), not sure which yet but I will be with locals so I will let them guide me (i'd like to go to Heitz and Frog's Leap).....lunch in Yountville (so many choices and I don't think I want to do Bouchon...something quick and easy...thoughts?)

                                    Thurs Dinner: on waitlist at TFL, got a rese at Meadowood, menu/setting look great, what are the chances it will be nice enough in mid-September to request outdoor table?

                                    Really can't wait for this trip and all the advice is greatly appreciated....one last random thing, we're headed from St Helena to Lake Tahoe for a wedding...any can't miss diner/lunch spots on the drive there?

                                    -----
                                    Zuni Cafe
                                    1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                    Nopa
                                    560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

                                    Blue Bottle Cafe
                                    66 Mint St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                                    Sushi Ran
                                    107 Caledonia St., Sausalito, CA 94965

                                    Le Garage
                                    85 Liberty Ship Way Ste 109, Sausalito, CA

                                    Cavallo Point
                                    601 Murray Circle, Sausalito, CA

                                    Smuggler's Cove
                                    650 Gough St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                    1. re: JT007

                                      I know Cavillo Point has shuttles from the airport. Do they have any from the Ferry? It is not near the Ferry. I've only driven there and that is a challenge. How were you planning to get there?

                                      1. re: rworange

                                        Thanks for looking out...Cavallo does offer to pick you up at Ferry but I think i'm going to pick up a rental car from Hertz nearby for the trip out to wine country

                                      2. re: JT007

                                        It can be very VERY hot in St. Helena in mid September. You are far more likely to encounter weather that it is too hot rather than on the cool side.

                                        1. re: Mariana in Baja

                                          It can get very hot but it usually doesn't. I think Mariana must have been here during a heat spike.
                                          September is probably the single most delicious month to visit.

                                          Average high temp in September, 2009 = 71 F.
                                          Average low temp in September, 2009 = 53 F.

                                          Here is the complete summary of the weather in St. Helena for September, 2009.
                                          Scroll down the page for the highs and lows each day.
                                          http://www.wunderground.com/weatherst...

                                          To check St. Helena weather:
                                          http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/f...

                                          1. re: maria lorraine

                                            This claim of an average high of 71 doesn't pass any split-second sanity test. The average daytime high in San Francisco in September is about 71. Now, September is the warmest month of the year in SF, but isn't St. Helena warmer? Simply copying the numbers for the daily highs from Sept. 2009 given in the link above into a spreadsheet gives an average above 80 as one would expect. I believe the Sept. 2009 numbers in the link should be interpreted as a 96 degree high, a 53 degree low, and a 71 degree average temperature overall.

                                            In fairness, regardless of the temperature issue, "The weather is simply the best in the world" and "Pleasant all year round" according to the St. Helena Chamber of Commerce.
                                            http://www.sthelena.com/visitor/facts...

                                            1. re: nocharge

                                              <<71 degree average temperature overall>>

                                              That's it. Meant to type:
                                              Average high temp in September, 2009 = 80.6 F.
                                              Average low temp in September, 2009 = 63 F.

                                        2. re: JT007

                                          It'll be perfect to have an outdoor table in mid-September -- though it gets warm in St. Helena, it is never too hot to eat outside for dinner anywhere in the Bay Area, it just doesn't stay warm at night here.

                                          I love Zuni, but I also really enjoyed my dinner at Frances -- what kind of meal are you looking for? Frances is a very hot restaurant right now, it's small and busy and full of young people and fun. It's also in a neighborhood where it's easy to go out afterwards or before to get a drink. Zuni is a little more traditional, with a wide range of people, and is a much bigger restaurant. The food at both is great.

                                          One possible idea for Healdsburg: Scott Beatie, the former bar manager at Cyrus has a new place that is opening (or has opened?) called Spoonbar http://sanfrancisco.grubstreet.com/20... His drinks are fantastic, and it seems like you enjoy good cocktails. Melanie suggested it above, and especially since Cyrus is closed that Tuesday night, it might be a good place for you to go and get dinner and drinks.

                                          -----
                                          Zuni Cafe
                                          1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                          1. re: JasmineG

                                            Great advice for Healdsburg, thanks....I'm also starting to get the sense that Zuni might be better to pop in for a cocktail and oysters at the bar rather than a full-on dinner....leaving my choice between Frances and Nopa for my SF dinner.

                                            -----
                                            Zuni Cafe
                                            1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                            Nopa
                                            560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

                                          2. re: JT007

                                            Ferry building: Love the short ribs at Slanted Door.

                                            Ad Hoc in Yontville is an amazing way to try Keller's food in a laid back environment. The cookbook of the same name gives a great overview of what is served. You may get lucky and get fried chicken...oh, man.

                                            It is HOT in September...my birthday month-many celebrations in the wine country.

                                            If you are interested in really learning about wine, from a really cool local, call ahead and make reservations for a private tasting at Hendry. George Hendry is one of the most amazing hosts and you will leave feeling like you just aced a final in wine making.

                                            I love Jimtown store...really cool spot for a great lunch and shop around the country store. Go to Hanna wines right around the corner for delish reds.

                                            Get the driver, it's gorgeous views, the grapes will be busting off the vines and like they say "come on vacation and leave on probation." Not worth it.

                                            Sausalito tip: If you like seafood and boat watching, go to Fish! Cash only place, sustainable fish choices and great chowder. Close to Heath ceramics, great dishes used by many of the top restaurants in the area.

                                            -----
                                            Slanted Door
                                            Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111

                                            Ad Hoc
                                            6476 Washington St., Yountville, CA 94599

                                      3. re: JT007

                                        You might also want to check out the Farmhouse Inn near Healdsburg

                                        -----
                                        Farmhouse Inn
                                        7871 River Rd, Forestville, CA 95436

                            2. re: JT007

                              Barndiva is a great choice. They have really raised their game the past year. It is our overall favorite place in wine country. Recent review by the SF paper agrees.