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a simple, soul-fulfilling food itinerary - 2.5 days in SF

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I'm heading to SF/Napa Valley with my mom. This is kind of a celebratory trip as I am moving from LA to London, but first driving back home to Seattle where I am from - my mom is accompanying me. We're looking for what I would call 'contemporary rustic.' For me this is food/atmosphere/decor that feels current, but also loving of its past - without being lost solely in nostalgia: Tartine Bakery is a perfect example. These are the kind of places that for me, meals go long and I feel the need to linger because I love the atmosphere as much as the food. Its where you revel in the satisfaction and fullfillment of the meal. If you're famliar with Silverlake in LA, Cafe Stella is another perfect example. French is my favorite, but I'm interested in other European options. For cheaper meals I'm open to whatever you might suggest.


Day 1. Arrive in SF late afternoon - head to a bar, preferably where we can sit outside. looking at something would be nice, but i know how views tend to mean decline in quality and increase in prices, but maybe this isn't the case in sf. i'm a fan of belgians and obscure american beers - or american takes on belgian style beers. i've been enjoying Wits lately.
Dinner: La Taqueria - we want to do something cheap this night and i thought it would be a great chance to compare LA mexican to SF mexican.

Day 2. Tartine Bakery (been here before, love it, not really interested in eating elsewhere, though i'm open to suggestions)
Lunch: The Sentinel to take on the Land's End walk
Afternoon bite to eat/bar - view? beautiful interior? oysters (somehow i've still never had them)
Dinner: I have reservations for Bar Tartine. The interior looks like the kind of place worth lingering - which is exactly what i'm looking for. A cold, modern, sparse interior isn't what i'm looking for for this evening. I'm very open to other dinner suggestions.
ALSO i'd love a suggestion for a place where we can get a great pre dinner drink.

Day 3. Breakfast: Either Four Barrel (do they serve any food??) or something near it, since I want to try their coffee
Lunch: Bahn Mi

Day 4/5 Napa Valley. Now i know this is a big area, but i'm curious as to whether people can recommend places in the sort of vein i'm talking. Hell, we could go anywhere - Russian River, Sonoma, Calistoga anything.

Thanks for the suggestions guys and girls.

- Ian.

Tartine Bakery
600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110

La Taqueria
2889 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Bar Tartine
561 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

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  1. La Ciccia is a place where I've always felt exactly how you describe -- welcoming, great souful food, the desire to linger. For drinks, I love the drinks at Gitane, it can get super crowded at the bar, but the bartenders have always been fantastic, and the drinks are really creative.

    Go to Hog Island, either for day one to sit outside and drink, or day two in the afternoon bite -- outside, oysters, good beer, view.

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

    Gitane Restaurant & Bar
    6 Claude Lane, San Francisco, CA 94108

    1. For one day in wine country, I would head to Healdsburg; lunch at Bovolo, a tasting at Selby, wander the square and taste wineries around there, but have dinner at Barn Diva.

      For your second day in wine country, head to Napa stopping at Boon Fly for breakfast. That will fill you up enough to get through a day of tasting around the valley before dinner; in Yountville, perhaps Bouchon or Redd or in downtown Napa, I'd recommend Morimoto or Ubuntu.

      Ubuntu Restaurant & Yoga Studio
      1140 Main Street, Napa, CA 94558

      Boon Fly Cafe
      4048 Sonoma Highway, Napa, CA 94559

      106 Matheson St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

      6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

      610 Main Street, Napa, CA

      1. A early morning stroll through North Beach findind yourself at the Liguria Bakery to purchase some focaccia to snack on while driving to Napa. 100 yrs old I love this place!

        Liguria Bakery
        1700 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133

        1. Bar Tartine has delicious Cal/Hungarian food, but is ear-splittingly loud; the most unpleasant, anti-lingering interior I've been to in quite a while. I agree that La Ciccia sounds like what you're looking for and recommend it highly; Bar Tartine seems very far away from your request.


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

          Bar Tartine
          561 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

          1. If you're going to La Taqueria for dinner, Pi Bar and Rosamunde will be your best bets for good beer menus. Rosamunde is closest to La Taqueria - plus, they post the most information (brewer, style, ABV) about each beer on their menu board than anyone. They have tables outside where you can watch all the activity of Mission and 24th.

            Tartine Bakery serves Four Barrel so you can experience their coffee there. The Four Barrel coffee house doesn't serve breakfast - only pastries and vegan donuts. However, Four Barrel is really working its way through establishing itself at many restaurants throughout the city so you'll be able to find their good coffee with full breakfast service outside of their retail house. I try to keep a list of places I've gone to that serve specialty coffee, Four Barrel is at many of them: http://tinyurl.com/42op2ok Still, because you have interest in them, you should go the, too.

            The beer scene in wine country interests me more than the wine. Lagunitas Brewpub (I think they do tours during the week), Russian River Brewpub, Napa-Smith (tours by appointment), Bear Republic Brewpub. Lagunitas has the best food of any of the brewpubs.

            Russian River Brewing Co.
            725 4th St, Santa Rosa, CA 95404

            Bear Republic Brewing Co
            345 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, CA 95448

            Lagunitas Brewing Co
            1280 N Mcdowell Blvd, Petaluma, CA

            Pi Bar
            1432 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

            Rosamunde Sausage Grill
            2832 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

            1. Bar Tartine's great. I did not find it loud.

              If you're arriving via 580, you might stop at Beer Revolution in Oakland before heading into SF. One of the half-dozen best beer selections in the area and the only one of that group with outdoor seating. In SF proper, La Trappe, Monk's Kettle, or City Beer (small and more of a shop than a bar, but very friendly).

              City Beer Store
              1168 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94103

              La Trappe
              800 Greenwich St, San Francisco, CA 94133

              The Monk's Kettle
              3141 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

              Beer Revolution
              464 3rd St, Oakland, CA 94607

              1 Reply
              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                FWIW and from a visit before the menu changed, I don't remember Bar Tartine being super loud (though not quiet). I do remember practically sitting on top of the tables next to us.

                Also agree re La Taqueria. I do like their tacos dorados and have ingested them on several trips but it is not a place to linger at all. Poc Chuc is quite reasonable and you can hang out for a while if you are so inclined. If the salpicon de res is on the menu, it is worth trying.

                We tried to dodge the LOONGGG lineups at Tartine by going in the mid afternoon and they were sold out of most of the things I wanted to try.

              2. Regarding La Taquaria, just note that it is primarliy a taco/burrito place. My favorite in the City for that kind of food, although I find it as a quick lunch type of spot..

                However when I have tried Mexican food in LA the restauarants have been more sitdown type places with more varied menus. If that is more in line with what you would like to compare SF mexican food, you may wish to consider the relatevely cheap Poc Chuc which has some outstanding home cooked, soul infused mayan dishes.

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

                1 Reply
                1. re: Civil Bear

                  I'll second Poc Chuc. There's no good reason to compare SF tacos to LA tacos.

                  And not sure when you've been to Tartine that it was a relaxing experience. Nothing against the baked goods, but it's a noisy scene with a ridiculous line except late in the afternoon when the line moves over to Pizzeria Delfina and Bi-Rite Creamery.

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