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May 15, 2011 06:29 AM

Yet another long SF/Napa itinerary for you to critique

We are celebrating our second wedding anniversary by spending a week in SF/Napa Valley in August. This trip has been one of the more difficult ones I've researched. Here is what I have so far. Please steer me in the right direction.

Saturday: Flight arrives at 10am.
Check in to hotel near Civic Center around noon.
Check out Ferry Building/Farmers Market until 2pm.
Take BART to Oakland.
Beers at The Trappist.
Sight-see in downtown Oakland (Cathedral of Christ the Light, Lakeside Park)
Cocktails at Adesso.
Dinner at Commis. (7 or 8pm?)
If we're still hungry (which I highly doubt) a sundae at Fenton's Creamery.

Sunday (this is where I need help)
9:30 brunch at The Red Door Cafe
Maybe check out the beach after that?
Early dinner at The House (this place looks good, but not great. Recommendations for another spot to have dinner closeish to Pier 33?)
Alcatraz Night Tour leaves at 6:45 (lasts about 2.5 hours)
What to do afterwards? Drinks or dancing? Dessert?

Breakfast at Tartine Bakery
11am Anchor Brewery Tour (safe to walk from Tartine?)
Tour Mission district Murals
SUPER BURRITOS (best in the mission? Have sights on Espiga de Oro according to
Ice cream at Humphrey Slocombe or Bi-rite or doughnuts at Dynamo (will check twitter for flavors that day)
Head over to Golden Gate Park. Check out Haight Ashbury and the house from Full House (surprise #1 for my wife) on the way.
Walk Golden Gate Park (Conservatory of Flowers, Japanese Tea Garden, Botanical Garden, Windmill?)
Shoot down to Wonderful Foods Co for Bubble Tea (wife really wants bubble tea, this seemed like the best time to fit it in)
Shoot up to Tommy's for Margaritas.
Should this day end there?

I also want to check out Lands End Trail and the Golden Gate Bridge. What should we try to fit into this day? Twin Peaks? MoMA? HELP.
I'm very very intrigued by both Naked Lunch for their foie gras duck proscuitto sandwich, but it's pretty out of the way. Ditto for HRD Coffee Shop, interesting looking lunch options but also out of the way. Or lunch at Zuni Cafe?
I was interested in doing Perbacco for dinner, but since we're regular visitors of NYC, which also has great Italian, should we look elsewhere? Where would you recommend our last dinner be? Canteen?

Very early check-out.
Walk over to Hertz to pick up rental car at 7am. Breakfast is a point of contention. We want to be in Muir Woods upon opening at 8am. Was thinking I could pick up something light from the Starbucks near Hertz and then eat at the Muir Woods Cafe when it opens at 9am (my wife is a HUGE grilled cheese nut). My other thought was keeping some Dynamo doughnuts in our hotel room. It doesn't bother me that they'd be a day or two old.
Hike Muir Woods. Leave at 1pm at the latest.
2:30pm cave tour at Gundlach Bundschu.
4pm Tour at Truchard
6pmish dinner at Grace's Table or Rotisserie & Wine or Bistro Sabor or... I'd be perfectly fine doing dinner at Gott's Roadside which would open up our Friday lunch spot. Thoughts?
Check in to Petit Logis in Yountville.

Breakfast at Bouchon Bakery
10am tour at Schramsberg
noon lunch at Solbar
1pm Couples Mudslide and Massage (surprise #2 for my wife)
3pmish tasting at Chateau Montelena
430ish tasting at Vincent Arroyo
Head back to Yountville
8pm dinner at Redd (very excited about this place)

Balloon Ride with Napa Valley Balloons Inc (surprise #3 for my wife)
Breakfast at Bouchon Bakery
10:30am tour at Kuleto Estate Winery (the winery I'm looking forward to the most)
Noon shoot down to Napa to have a quick lunch at Gott's Roadside before our 2pm tour at Hendry Winery. Would we be better off hitting the Gott's in St Helena and then checking out some wineries near there instead? Which would you recommend?
5pmish head back to hotel to relax/freshen up
7pm dinner at Bouchon (this was the most difficult dinner to choose. Is Bouchon worthy of our last dinner before we leave?)

Flight leaves at 1pm so the wife wants to be at the airport to turn the car in at 11am. According to google its about a 2 hour drive from Yountville to the airport so that means we'd have to be on the road by 9am. Suggestions for breakfast along the way?

That's it. I'm sorry if this seems a little insane. Feel free to tell me what I should change or suggest alternatives. Thank you!

Zuni Cafe
1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

Tartine Bakery
600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Bouchon Bakery
6528 Washington St, Yountville, CA 94599

Fenton's Creamery
4226 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

Wonderful Foods Co
2035 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122

Japanese Tea Garden
7 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118

Kuleto Estate Winery
2470 Sage Canyon Rd St, Helena, CA

HRD Coffee Shop
521 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94107

4395 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA

3859 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611

6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

Bistro Sabor
1126 1st St, Napa, CA 94559

Hendry Winery
3104 Redwood Rd, Napa, CA 94558

Rotisserie & Wine
720 Main St, Napa, CA 94559

Grace's Table
1400 2nd St, Napa, CA 94559

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  1. Nearby Pier 33 Fog City Diner.

    Fog City Diner
    1300 Battery Street, San Francisco, CA 94111

    1. Congrats on your second wedding anniversary! Good call to celebrate it in the Bay Area :-). Twice yearly visitor to SF from Vancouver here. We try to do what you're doing, pack in sights and great food. Overall comment: you are overprogrammed, man! I did this our first couple of trips to gnashing of teeth (and not in a good food way). Although things are pretty close together in SF proper, it can take longer than you think to get from one destination to the other, and this goes double for wine country methinks. For example, your Mission day (Tartine, Anchor, murals, burritos) is a fair bit of back and forth, and combined with GGPark in the afty sounds like too much. And BTW, I found that Dynamo Doughnuts DO NOT hold up to next day (sometimes even same day) noshing; they get stale really fast.

      Also, and this may be stating the obvious, even if you're both big eaters, consider splitting lots of things (especially the burrito) or you'll be too full. I've never had them at Espiga de Oro but if they are as good as the tamales...

      In your other post you said you were looking for a great sandwich. I don't know what constitutes that for you (though since you mention Naked Lunch maybe this won't) but you could try a torta while you're in the Mission (again, be sure to split it if you do). I love the ones from Los Picudos (carnitas!) which is very close to Espiga.

      I notice that the Red Door Cafe either has a bad link or has moved to Oakland from Nob Hill so you may want to check into that. If you're looking for a brunch spot that takes resos nearish your hotel, check out Canteen. I prefer it for dinner (huge fan) but the brunch is also very good, just avoid the coffee if you're into third-wave stuff. Also not the most salutary walk there from your hotel, FYI...

      Have a wonderful time!

      3 Replies
      1. re: grayelf

        Too many Red Doors? Someone reported on this location only 6 days ago on yelp.
        Red Door Cafe
        1608 Bush St
        San Francisco

        1. re: wolfe

          Would you please edit the Place record to enter that info? The cafe moved from SF to Oakland and now back to SF. I'm on mobile only and edit function doesn't work. Thanks.

          1. re: wolfe

            Thanks for the clarification. I'd never heard of it and don't use Yelp. May have to check it out sometime as it's so near our hotel but only with a reso (don't like the sound of those lines!) and if the OP likes it :-).

        2. GREAT itinerary!

          First off, I would avoid Red Door for breakfast. I have friend that loves the place and considering they don't have a real kitchen (working out of toaster ovens and what not), the stuff they are creating for breakfast is a tragedy. Consider Dottie's True Blue, Canteen, or Brenda's Soul Food instead.

          For your Wednesday night in Napa, anyone of your choices looks great, although I think you might find Bistro Sabor as the least impressive of the three.

          After your Kuleto tour, you are closer to the St. Helena Gotts than the Napa one; you might also enjoy wandering downtown St. Helena and consider Dean & Deluca for great picnic items or Cook, an understated, locals favorite which is great for lunch.

          Lastly, for Saturday morning drive back, you won't need two hours. I drive into the city from Napa at least once a month on Saturday mornings and from downtown Napa, I can be in the city in exactly an hour so from Yountville, considering you are less familiar with the route, and getting to the airport, an hour-and-a-half will be sufficient. For breakfast that day, consider stopping in downtown Napa at either ABC or Sweetie Pies; I think their pastries and breakfast offerings are a great rival to Bouchon's bakery (which you are doing twice).

          Dottie's True Blue Cafe
          522 Jones St, San Francisco, CA 94102

          221 Powell St., San Francisco, CA 94102

          Sweetie Pies
          520 Main St, Napa, CA 94559

          Red Door Cafe
          1608 Bush St, San Francisco, CA 94108

          6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

          Bistro Sabor
          1126 1st St, Napa, CA 94559

          5 Replies
          1. re: CarrieWas218

            You have a friend that loves Red Door, but their breakfast is a tragedy? I'm confused. While I haven't been able to find a menu, the pictures of the food on their yelp page look amazing. My other brunch considerations were Canteen, Brenda's, and Foreign Cinema.

            I'm liking the look of Cook a lot. I've been considering doing dinner on Wednesday at Gott's in Napa (because I want to splurge and get a milkshake with my meal) which would free up lunch Friday. This would cause us to miss the Hendry winery tour so I would need some recommendations for a few wineries in the St Helena area we could check out instead.

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

            1. re: sixteenbiticon

              My friend loves the Red Door because they put skewers in the food to make these silly decorations, garnish with potato chips (on omelets) and use too many and disparate pre-bought sauces trying to create bizarre flavor combinations. Personally, I don't need an umbrella with a strawberry and sprig of basil stuck into my French Toast - it adds nothing but whimsy and gets in the way.

              One of the omelets I had -- which I am trying to remember -- was supposed to be filled with spinach and mushrooms, was then topped with pesto (fine) but a drizzle of some red hot sauce that completely conflicted with the pesto.

              The coffee is mediocre and tastes burnt and my friend likes it because his wife is trying to do her citizenship classes next door and it is a place for him to hang-out and all he ever eats is the French Toast.

              I don't think it is worth the wait when there is so much better food to be had in the city.

              Red Door Cafe
              1608 Bush St, San Francisco, CA 94108

              1. re: CarrieWas218

                Thank you for the enlightening firsthand information. I think you just single-handedly talked me out of the place. It seems like a lot of the buzz comes from the experience and the owner. I'm with you, I hate gussied up plates of food with unnecessary garnishes. I don't care how it looks, just as long as it tastes good.

                From what I've read, brunch is hugely popular in SF and I should expect hellacious lines anywhere that doesn't take reservations. WIth that in mind would you suggest we only look into res-friendly places?

                1. re: sixteenbiticon

                  Not at all -- the few places I mentioned previously don't take reservations and are well worth the wait: Dottie's True Blue, Canteen, and Brenda's Soul Food always have lines waiting.

                  The reason behind the lines at ALL these places, by the way, is due to their size. In each case, they can barely seat 20-some people at any given time which is why getting there early is important. I like to get up early so I rarely have a wait and considering the rest of your itinerary, you'll want a full day anyway.

                  Lastly, if you are a breakfast person and want something more than just pastries while in Napa, consider Boon Fly Cafe in the Carneros district for a fabulous and more substantial breakfast. Bouchon is great and all that, but you won't be getting a hot breakfast by any means.

                  Boon Fly Cafe
                  4048 Sonoma Highway, Napa, CA 94559

                  Dottie's True Blue Cafe
                  522 Jones St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                  6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

                  1. re: CarrieWas218

                    Seconding the suggestions of brunch at Canteen (the lines there are usually shorter than at the other two, and they do take brunch reservations, but only super early, and it's faster if you're willing to sit at the counter) and breakfast at Boon Fly Cafe.

                    Boon Fly Cafe
                    4048 Sonoma Highway, Napa, CA 94559

          2. Hi!
            San Fran:
            Best sandwich: The Sentinel. Tiny little walk in former cigar shop on New Montgomery street between mkt and mission. Guy who owns canteen. Roast beef smoked trout what have you. Maybe only open week days I go when working.
            Ferry bldg go to hog island for oysters and grilled cheese.
            Cantina for cocktails get Dugan's jalapeƱo drink maybe a mojito? Don't remember name. Awesome.
            Wine: press club. Gorgeous hidden wine bar under four seasons. Neat wine list.
            Napa St Helena winery: spring mountain winery. Beautiful place. Cabernet.
            That's it for now! Enjoy!

            5 Replies
            1. re: Walkerlove

              I'm very intrigued with The Sentinel. Thanks for the heads up!

              1. re: sixteenbiticon

                Here is a pic of their roast beef sandwich. Best ever. Soft rolls fresh from oven. Don't know how they do it!

                1. re: Walkerlove

                  I have this picture b/c last time I got a sandwich there (which was way too long ago) it was a sunny day and it was this roast beef and it was such a gorgeous sandwich I had to take a picture. That should tell you how much I like, love, this place.

                  1. re: Walkerlove

                    When do they start serving sandwiches? I see they open at 7:30am...

              2. re: Walkerlove

                These are great suggestions -- definitely bring your wife to Hog Island for that great grilled cheese, and the sandwiches at The Sentinel are fantastic, I've never had one that I didn't rave about. I think that they start serving sandwiches at 11ish, but you could check with them.

              3. Also perbacco is indeed awesome.
                Also I think tartine, while easily offering some of best bread to be had just about anywhere (people love the pastries too but I'm so so on them, has one if not the most annoying spaces is always ridiculously crowded no where to sit long lines down street I don't go anymore.
                The husband (Chad does the bread) wife teams restaurant in mission Bar Tartine is one of top in city for me. Really just lovely food and the bread is chad's.
                All my opinions of course take it for what its worth!