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5 day itinerary with tweens

Hi all. I've been reading through many threads over the last week and have gained an appreciation for some of the sure hits in SF, but would love any specific feedback. Sorry for the length and the number of questions!

We're a family of 4 with 2 boys 11 and 13. Both boys have, for better or worse, gained an appreciation for good food and are really looking forward to SF mostly for that reason!

Here's the rough itinerary, which is probably very familiar.

Arrive late and check-in to the Warwick near Union Square.

Thursday: breakfast at Dottie's True Blue Cafe at opening time.

Walking near Chinatown, hitting Golden gate Bakery along the way, and either Naked Lunch or Lichee Garden, depending on where we are and how we feel. I think we would have tried Jai Yun but it is closed Thursdays. Oh well, that’s fate.

Dinner at Canteen. Then leave the kids at the hotel for a night-cap at Bourbon and Branch.

Friday: Yes, we ate dinner there the night before, but Canteen opens for breakfast at 7 and it's right near our hotel, so it must be fate. Then catch the F-line to Peir 33 and an early Alcatraz tour. Any ideas on where to pick up great picnic lunch food in the early morning between Canteen and Market St where we will catch the F line? Is a picnic lunch on Alcatraz a good idea?

After the tour catch a ride to Russian Hill, I could use a post-Alcatraz lunch rec near here if we decide not to have a picnic lunch on the island. Casual and fun would fit the bill. ??

Pick up something for the kids to eat in the room, while the wife and I head to either Bix for fun, or La Folie for food, depending on which we decide we may prefer that night. It looks like we would really enjoy Bix, are there similar places around?

Saturday: Renting bikes near the hotel and riding to Ferry building for the Market which will take care of breakfast and lunch (to go). Head over the bridge and return via ferry.

I'm not sure of the timing, but if we wind up eating dinner in Sausalito, will FISH do the trick? If we wind up back to our hotel earlier, I was thinking La Ciccia. Anything closer to Union Square?

Sunday we're picking up a rental car early morning and not sure what were doing - driving tour in the city - other than heading to Yosemite after lunchtime. I think I would like to try lunch at Torta Gorda, as my youngest son is a quesadilla specialist, and I love a good mole.

Next two weeks are in Yosemite loosing any and all weight put on in SF, but before we leave on Sunday we'll be driving back Friday to stay two nights at an airport hotel, keeping the car for the whole day on Saturday. I was thinking something along the lines of seeing Golden Gate Park and environs.

So Saturday breakfast and lunch are wide open, depending on where in the city we go, for dinner I was thinking something like Firefly might work – something simple and good.

Thanks to everyone for keeping up this great board.

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

Jai Yun
680 Clay St, San Francisco, CA 94111

La Folie
2316 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109

Bix
56 Gold St., San Francisco, CA 94133

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

Lichee Garden
1416 Powell St, San Francisco, CA 94133

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  1. Post Alcatraz lunch nearby, casual and fun Fog City Diner.

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

    1. Sounds like you've got it mapped out pretty well. I would leave a little breathing time, though!

      My few thoughts: Bix and La Folie are beyond NOT interchangeable. Bix can be fun, La Folie is, in my view, the best restaurant in the city -- it is a little more relaxed than its competition for the type of restaurant that it is, but it is a world-class Provencal French restaurant and if you order 5 courses (which you should) A- you will be there easily over 3 hours, and B- bring an appetite.

      I would go to Perbacco over La Ciccia. La Ciccia is excellent, and it might be cool for your kids to have specifically Sardinian food, but it is really no where near "the action" and Perbacco, to me, has the best Italian food outside Italy I've experienced. Focus ordering there on wild mushrooms and game birds, if you can. Perbacco is an easy walk from Union Square. The two restaurants have very different vibes, though -- Perbacco is larger, 2 stories, there are people in jeans and t-shirts, but also sport coats and also suits and ties. Clean lines, people spaced pretty close together, modern aesthetic. It is very "Metropolitan". La Ciccia not nearly as much.

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

      Perbacco
      230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

      La Folie
      2316 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109

      Bix
      56 Gold St., San Francisco, CA 94133

      1. Whether picnicking on Alcatraz is a good idea will depend in part on the weather -- I didn't see when you're coming, but summer days can be cool and foggy, and Alcatraz is smack in the middle of the Golden Gate fog zone and can be windy. At the very least you should have a back-up plan if when the day comes the weather is not suitable for a picnic.

        On one of your drive around the city days you should check out Mr and Mrs Miscellaneous for ice cream. In fact, since SF is going through an ice cream phase, you might want to try several of the new artisanal ice cream places (there's extensive discussion on this list: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/783796)

        1. My rec for Saturday: get to GG Park early. There are 2 parking lots and street parking. I think Academy of Sciences opens at 9:30 am (closed on Monday) -- be there then to avoid some of the crowds, plus, this is when they hand out the Planetarium tickets (latecomers miss out). Admission is pricey but there's a discount with AAA card. There are 2 penguin feedings per day.

          After this, cross over to DeYoung Museum -- you can go up in elevator to observation deck/gift store -- NO FEE for this. Great View.

          There are food trucks around here; I've been wanting to try the one that has lobster rolls.

          I've been wanting to try La Folie; everyone I've talked to who has eaten there has said it's great and worth the $$.

          If you like fish (many other things on menu) I rec Tadich -- no res. -- but a later lunch or early dinner is EASY, no wait. Very fresh. 240 Calif near Perbacco, closed Sunday.

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          Perbacco
          230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

          La Folie
          2316 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109

          1. Lots of questions there - people are picking and choosing -
            The only real spot to get picnic provisions remotely on that end of town is at the ferry building itself. It's almost a tradition for Angel Island trips: bread from Acme, cheese from Cowgirl, meat from the place next door, maybe wine, maybe not. But the alcatraz thing is different, and there's not as much picnic possibilities (I think there's that one spot in front of the Commandant's House that's worthy), but there are some. I don't know how much a backtrack the ferry building would be, or how early you're going, but that would be my rec not knowing the full details. Other than the FB, I'd be searching around on Yelp myself trying to remember what's near your hotel.

            Two nights in an airport hotel - you can eat really well near SFO, if you're ok with chinese. The hotbed of chinese is millbrea, near the airport. I recently had a very good meal at The Kitchen - I was literally the only white guy, there were kids running around, and the food was the closest to actual china quality chinese that I've had in years. There's a number of other places, so do your research.

            Common car trips are GG park (there's the tea garden / botanical gardens / science museum / de Young all together), but I'd strongly recommend going up or down the coast. Drive across the GG and up into the marin headlands. The views up there are sublime, but there's no food. You can couple this either with sausalito (board favorite is Fish), or do something in "the avenues" - there is a *LOT* of good eating along Clement and Geary street between about 1st and 35th. The original Burma SuperStar, for example. Another "don't miss" is Baker Beach. It's not a warm spread-out-a-towel beach, it's a stark windswept moody panorama, but the waves, the arch of the golden gate, the headlands looming across - very picturesque. I had a little pattern where I'd hit baker beach for a few hours, take a long cold walk, then retreat to the warmest cosiest restaurant on that side of town, Old Warsaw, for a big bowl of zurek. But Old Warsaw closed. Whatever great little restaurants you find on that side of town is good, but there's also surprisingly good connectivity to places like Absinthe and NOPA (might not be child friendly enough).

            Another trip from the airport is south along the coast, which essentially means half moon bay and pescadero and the cold and windswept beaches (san greg). Eating down there is also a little spotty, but there are some charming joints. Duarte's is a roadhouse with a lot of charm and decent food in Pescadero, and the two delis in the one-horse town specialize in quick lunches for afternoon tourists. Half Moon Bay has a very old downtown, and a couple of good eats best chosen by strolling. Besides hanging out at the beach (which can be pleasant on a handful of warm days), there are hikes in that side of the hills.

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            Burma Superstar Restaurant
            309 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118

            1 Reply
            1. re: bbulkow

              I agree...you and your family should spend sometime along the coast. I love Yosemite, but I am not sure why you are going there for 2 whole weeks. California has such diverse climates and a ton of great hiking. It would be a shame for you not to spend time enjoying the ocean cliffs or the coastal redwoods.
              The great thing about the bay area is that you can have a fantastic wilderness day hike and dinner at great high class restaurant if you want to (without too much driving). There are not many other places I have been where that is possible.