BlackTea Trip Report (SF and Carmel)
We arrived at SF on Friday afternoon. Checked in at the Hyatt Regency and didn’t do much except unpacking and resting a bit until we went to dinner at 1550 Hyde. We loved the place, the restaurant is so cozy and they were very accommodating and friendly towards the 3-yr old. I ordered the King Salmon, husband ordered the lamb Moussaka. Both dishes were delicious, and everything tasted fresh, the salmon dish I got at 1550 surpasses the $48 salmon dish I had recently at a Disney resort. What a shame this place will close. We were all too tired to order dessert and the waiter nicely ordered a cab for us. The bill was around $75 with wine and tip.
On Saturday morning, we went to the Ferry Market, walked around and around several times until each decided on something to eat. We shared the okonomiyaki from NAMU stand and smoked salmon on toast from another stand. Both were very good especially the okonomiyaki with the egg. We walked around the market some more and tasted some amazingly tasty fruits and pastries. We then attempted to ride F-Market to Fisherman’s Wharf but after two over-crowded ones passed we gave up and decided to walk to the Wharf which was not a bad choice. We walked on the piers and then headed to Hyde to catch the cable car but the line was so long, the estimate we got was about an hour wait so we decided to use the F-Market back to the hotel. We actually rode one of the open top ones and the son had a blast. We were planning to go to a Chinese place for lunch but we were still full from breakfast so we went back to the hotel for a much needed nap (he is on east coast time schedule). In the afternoon, we went to Chinatown to get some pastries from the Golden Gate Bakery but they were closed for vacation, we were disappointed and we took the bus (45 I think) to Chestnut and Fillmore to walk around the neighborhoods there. We stopped by the Marina Public Library where they had story time and kid’s songs and spent some time there and then walked Fillmore to union to Gough stopped for some snacks and then took the bus back to the hotel. We had dinner that evening at Zuni, the place has a very nice atmosphere and we didn’t feel it odd to be there with a toddler. I ordered the Lamb grill, husband ordered strip steak and we shared parmesan polenta as a side and they made a butter and parmesan pasta for the son (He only eats bland food that shameful one). Everything was delicious but the portions are on the small side and the polenta was just OK, maybe we’re not big on polenta because the two tables around us emptied their polenta plates, the bill was around $100 including wine and tip. We went back to the hotel, grabbed brownies from the Regency club, which has daily assortment of desserts between 8 and 9 pm.
Sunday morning we had breakfast at Eclipse in the Hyatt Regency (free by the hotel for husband’s diamond status, at least his business travel is good for something) then we rode the cable car from embarcadero (where we did not have to wait at all) up Nob Hill and then took a bus to the Marina and walked to the Exploratorium. I need a moment here to say how amazing that place is, all of us had fun there, spent about 2-3 hours and then took the buses back to the hotel, it was past nap time but we still went back for the son to have some rest time. My husband begged me to have no walking plans for Sunday afternoon so we had to skip the Golden Gate Park or Bridge but that was OK with me because we’ve visited them in past trips. Instead, we had a snack in the Regency club to hold us until dinner and rode the cable car back and forth few times because that and any other transportation method seem to be the most activities fun for the son. We went back to the hotel to change and walked to the Slanted Door. The restaurant was very busy and those with no reservations were waiting for about an hour or more. Many of the tables had kids and babies and the place is quite loud so we didn’t have to keep shushing the son as we expected. We started with the Yellowtail, which was excellent and the husband ordered the shaking beef and I got the stir fried chicken with nuts. Both were great but we exchanged plates because I liked his and he liked mine. The son ate from our plates, which was a happy surprise, maybe there is hope. We skipped dessert and the bill was around $120 with wine and tip.
Monday morning, we had breakfast buffet at Eclipse in the Hyatt again and we went to get the rental car. We then checked out and drove to Carmel. We hit very little traffic and we were there in about 2 hours. We checked in at the Highlands Inn, which is a beautiful Hyatt property, we were so taken by the views and were a bit late on our way to Carmel Valley for wine tasting, we managed to get to Talbott before they close, we tasted white wines and they all were very good, went to Julienne’s but they were closed just before we got there around 5:15 pm. We took some beautiful pictures at that winery and then went to downtown Carmel to grab something to eat. We got some deli sandwiches from Bruno’s and went across the street to the park and spent some time there. We went back to the hotel and had a late night dessert from Pacific’s Edge in our room. I got the strawberry crisp and my husband got the homemade kit kat bar. I liked mine and he liked mine so we ended up eating mine and not finishing his, it was too chocolaty with no wafers, still it was good but the crisp was pretty amazing.
On Tuesday, we had a late breakfast at California Market at the Highlands Inn, very good meals, I had the California Benedict (avocados and roasted peppers) and my husband had some other Benedict with Turkey and avocados. The son had pancakes. We did the 17-mile drive and that took few hours because we stopped a lot and took pictures, we also saw dolphins at one of the early stops, which was very exciting for all three of us. The weather was not good, foggy and cold but at least there was no rain and we were dressed properly so no complaints, plus the fog adds to the charm of the area. We headed back to the hotel for rest time and in the afternoon while the son was sleeping we were playing with the binoculars and saw what we believe is a whale (so exciting). We then debated the Monterey Aquarium or the Tuesday Monterey Farmer’s Market and the latter won especially after we saw the ticket prices for the aquarium. I’m sure the son would have enjoyed the aquarium but for the amount of time we had before we get back to dinner we decided against it. The Monterey Tuesday market was impressive, we absolutely loved it, tasted just about everything and I wanted to cry at how tasty the fruits are in California. Here in Florida, we regularly go to our farmer’s market but nothing comes close in taste to the fruits we tasted in Monterey. Later that evening we had a very delicious meal (to celebrate 11th anniversary) at Pacific’s Edge. They actually seated us in the downstairs area even with the toddler, who thankfully well-behaved. The waiter was very friendly with him and gave him a few pieces of chocolate when we left as a reward for being so quiet For dinner, I started with the beet Carpaccio and husband had the pea soup, both were very good, his was better than mine. For the main course, I had the sea bass and husband had the angus New York steak. We shared a side of risotto. Again all was delicious and his was better than mine again!
The next morning, we had breakfast again at California Market and then headed to MRY to catch our flight to SFO and then back to Orlando.
The trip was very enjoyable; it’s difficult to be back at work actually. We could have stayed longer at SF because we couldn’t see everything I had planned on but then again we’ll be back in the future. We also felt that two days in Carmel was good enough maybe another day would have been nice as well.
Thank you all for contributing to our plans!
Ferry Slip, San Francisco, CA 94111
1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Golden Gate Bakery
1029 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133
1550 Hyde St, San Francisco, CA 94109
1120 Crane St, Menlo Park, CA 94025
Nice report...always nice to read someone had fun. Interesting comments on the fruit in Monterey. I remember years ago going to a regular generic mainstream chain supermarket in Monterey and being blown away by the quality of the produce (and price). It looked and tasted great...then I remember I was in/near the Salinas Valley, Steinbeck country and home to great agriculture. None of it spend much time in a warehouse...and this was the supermarket stuff. The farmer's market stuff logically would be even better.
Thanks for the great report! I found you comments about the quality of the fruits vs. Florida to be interesting. I would speculate that aside from citrus, most fruits need a cold period or at the very least cool evening to develop their flavor and perhaps the low chill requirement varieties they grow in Florida aren't as flavorful. The amount of summer water they get might make a difference, too, as generally the less water fruit gets the more intensely flavored it is.