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Four Day San Fran Trip - Critiques Please!

y
yanks26dmb Sep 7, 2011 02:50 PM

Thanks to all of you who have helped me narrow some places down..here is my semi-finished list...

Thursday:

Lunch: Caffé BaoNecci - absolutely love this place. Come here no every trip..Great Naples style pizza.
Dinner: Looking for something Italian (originally from back east and living in SD..I cant get enough good italian when I have a chance)..thinking either Perbacco or Flour+Water. Open to other suggestions, but nothing too expensive, i.e. entrees under $25.

Friday:

Napa Valley

Dinner: Sushi somewhere..leaving this up to the gf.

Drinks: Burritt Room..open to other suggestions for a good mixology bar

Saturday:

Breakfast: Ferry Marketplace Building
Lunch: Swan Oyster Depot
Dinner: 5 course tasting menu at La Folie

Sunday:

Breakfast: Tartine Bakery
Lunch: Open
Pre-dinner HH: Bar Crudo
Dinner: Open

-----
Perbacco
230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

Tartine Bakery
600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110

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

Bar Crudo
655 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

Swan Oyster Depot
1517 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109

  1. p
    pauliface Sep 7, 2011 06:28 PM

    Wow this is a great itinerary.
    I live here and I would want to join you for this trip!

    Swan's, Bar Crudo, and La Folie are 3 of my favorites.
    I've posted rave reviews of both Bar Crudo and La Folie on this list in the past..

    Have not been to Flour+Water, but I do love Perbacco.
    You might also look into La Ciccia, which I tried this year for the first time and really enjoyed.
    Perbacco is great, but I think La Ciccia is a touch better.

    For Sushi night, you might consider:
    -- Ino Sushi. Straight up sushi from a dour man in a plain room who serves great food. I am in the minority here though, many on this list prefer other places. Only go here for omakase and sit at the sushi bar. Can be expensive...
    -- Kiss Seafood -- tiny restaurant serving a 5-6 course omakase menu that includes a pristine sushi course and a perfect sashimi course among other delights.
    -- Kappou Goumi -- not a sushi bar but a japanese place with tons of interesting dishes. Menu is sorted into sections by the main ingredient, with listings in each section of different preparations.
    -- Sushi Time -- my favorite sushi bar in the castro. More of a neighborhood place but everything they do is lovely and it is very well priced. My favorite pre-sushi apps in the city as well, great sunomono, oshitashi, hiya yakkou, and miso/clam soup.
    -- Nihon Whiskey Lounge -- japanese small plates in a loungey atmosphere. Sushi and sashimi are on the menu but I usually mix that up with other interesting dishes.
    -- a search on this board will give you other opinions that differ from mine. It's a rather contentious subject. :-)

    A note on La Folie:
    You mentioned their "5 course tasting menu", but I believe that the tasting menu is more courses than that. I've never had it. But their regular menu lets you choose 3, 4, or 5 courses from the menu. The 5 course option is a TON of food and well worth the price. Pace yourself. It is an amazing place. Recently had a big birthday party there and they delivered in every possible way.

    2 Replies
    1. re: pauliface
      Robert Lauriston Sep 7, 2011 09:06 PM

      La Folie's tasting menu is five courses plus an amuse and petit fours. Passot doesn't do the trendy thing of too-small portions of too many dishes.

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

      1. re: Robert Lauriston
        steve h. Sep 9, 2011 04:38 PM

        understatement. bring an appetite, maybe dial back the breakfast/lunch stuff in anticipation of a protracted meal well done.
        La Folie is time well spent.

    2. mariacarmen Sep 9, 2011 01:33 AM

      i agree with pauliface, you've got it pretty good already (sorry, can't add about sushi - i'm kind of a "sushi is great almost anywhere, because it's sushi" - i may be suspended from CH for that.) I LOVE La Ciccia. Way prefer it to Perbacco.

      i'd say to be careful about getting to the Ferry Bld. Farmers Mkt. and getting to Swan Oyster in time. You'd have to get to FBFM EARLY, like 8, and be at Swan Oyster by 11, 11:30 the latest, or be prepared to wait a couple hours in line - seriously. i'm not saying it's horrible.... you could do FM until noonish, then mosey over to Swan, but you could wait in line until about 2:00. it's not a bad place to wait, but you'll wait, and that may be ok, because you'll need to get hungry again after the FM. and the payoff is good, i don't care what anyone else says. Swan is one of my very favorite places in this city. they'll even give you a glass of wine or a beer while you wait.

      i think your days could be a little full, actually... again, if you end up at swan at 1 or 2, and you're doing a 5 course tasting at La Folie.... is La Folie like at 8?

      Tartine is sooo good, so much to fill you up...i would schedule nothing for lunch. Grab a snack or two at Bi-Rite (like, right next door, practically) and hang out Dolores Park for the afternoon.

      Dinner Sunday - I've not been to Nopa... but it's near where you'll already be. I've heard again and again great things about it. not sure how hard it is to get a table on a Sunday night. Or Nopalito.

      You're on the right track. have so much fun.

      -----
      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

      Nopa
      560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

      6 Replies
      1. re: mariacarmen
        y
        yanks26dmb Sep 9, 2011 08:04 AM

        Appreciate the feedback..more dinner/lunch options welcome. Also, thinking about doing Frances in the Castro one of the days/nights..

        And Mariacarmen....if you were to do a quick check of some of my past posts on CH..you'll see my New Orleans itinerary from earlier this year....now THAT trip had some full days...I've got an appetite like no other..I'm sure I'll be able to hit all these places, plus squeeze an extra nibble or two in :)

        1. re: yanks26dmb
          mariacarmen Sep 9, 2011 08:48 AM

          impressive! and good for you!

          1. re: yanks26dmb
            p
            pauliface Sep 9, 2011 11:09 AM

            No to Frances. Can't stand the place. I am in the minority, but since our tastes seem to align I think you should listen to me and not them. :-)

            Consider these instead. Both uniquely SF with more interesting and better tasting food than Frances:
            Lolo's in the mission (mexican/turkish fusion I believe, really tasty stuff)
            Aziza. (highly creative moroccan with fantastic herbal-inspired cocktails)

            Also: If Swan's gets big lines on Saturday, you might consider going there for lunch on Thursday instead and move your pizza lunch to another day. . They open quite early, I think like 8AM even, and if you go before 11-11:30 on a weekday I bet you can walk in pretty easily. Can anyone else confirm that?

            1. re: pauliface
              mariacarmen Sep 9, 2011 04:23 PM

              they do open at 8:00 a.m. (it's a fishmarket too). that's what i said above - get there 11:00, 11:30. i thought it wouldn't be as hard to get into on a weekday, tho. i've only been on saturdays.

              1. re: mariacarmen
                KelsEats Sep 9, 2011 07:57 PM

                When Frances first opened I didn't get the hype, but with over a year under their belts the food is definitely worthy of the praise it receives. And the staff has become more like family than employees, which I know is just a personal reason to like the place, but they really make anyone feel like they're home. The problem is that unless you have an "in" or are okay with waiting for a seat at the bar, you need to call 2 months in advance, to the day, to get reservations.

                Skip lolo's. There's better food to be eaten with only 4 days in the city.

                But, pauliface is right on one thing: Aziza. It has quickly become one of my favorite restaurants in SF, and serves food you won't get in San Diego. That would be my #1 pick, over Frances.

                I'd also recommend SPQR for dinner if you're interested in incredible Italian food at reasonable prices. It's very highly regarded by others in the industry =)

                http://kelseats.com

                -----
                SPQR
                1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

                1. re: KelsEats
                  p
                  pauliface Sep 9, 2011 08:10 PM

                  Well, my last time at Frances was last November (2010) and here is my rebuttal in gory detail, my review from the time:

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6784...

                  If you can tell me that at about that time you agreed with me, but that since then it has improved as you say, I would be willing to try them again. I would love to like them as they are 3 blocks from my house and it's easy to walk in and get a counter seat if there's one available. But the place I went to in November, I would never visit again.

                  And I disagree about Lolo's. I think they very unique, and I think they would make in interesting counterpoint to the other places on the list. They are not terribly expensive or high-falutin', (and there is nothing I like better than a 4 hour tasting menu), but I have never had anything quite like their food. I love turkish food, and Lolo combines it with Mexican flavors in a great way.

                  Having said ALL that, I'd pick Aziza over Lolo.
                  :-

                  )

                  Oh, and yes, I agree that SPQR is very nice. But they've got a healthy amount of Italian on their list (and I do pick La Ciccia over SPQR) so I thought I'd throw in some other style options.

        2. CarrieWas218 Sep 9, 2011 08:11 AM

          I'm confused; are you driving to the Napa valley on Friday and then BACK to the city for sushi?

          That is a heck-of-a-lot of driving and you might want to stay in Napa for dinner. If sushi is the definite craving, go to Morimoto but if you are coming back into the city, you are going to be exhausted from a long trip...

          -----
          Morimoto
          610 Main Street, Napa, CA

          11 Replies
          1. re: CarrieWas218
            y
            yanks26dmb Sep 9, 2011 10:19 AM

            We'll be driving to Napa around 9 am..hitting a winery on the way up. Picking up items for a picnic...hitting Pride Vineyards..then heading back down south. Shoud be back in the city by 5ish, just in time for an early dinner somewhere.

            I get very good authentic sushi down here in San Diego at a place called Sushi Ota, although it is fairly expensive...I'm not really looking for an expensive, traditional style experience..just looknig for someplace that has good rolls.

            I must say..sushi isn't an absolute MUST. If you could recommend something for Friday dinner that isn't like anything I could find back in San Diego..we would definitely consider that. Under $60 for two (pre tip) would be ideal

            1. re: yanks26dmb
              p
              pauliface Sep 9, 2011 11:12 AM

              You'll never get out of Ino, Kiss, or Nihon Whiskey Lounge for $60.

              But you can do Sushi Time in the castro for under $60 if you stick with hot sake instead of the more expensive cold sakes.
              If you decide on them let me know and I'll even follow up with a list of favorites to order.
              :-)

              If not sushi, this could also be a good night for Lolo's, which I mentioned above.

              -----
              Sushi Time
              2275 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114

              Ino Restaurant
              25 Miller Ave, Mill Valley, CA 94941

              1. re: pauliface
                d
                Dustin_E Sep 13, 2011 10:48 AM

                if you go to ino and just order the super deluxe combination for $26 pp, you'll be a bit over, but very close to $60. this combination is a really good value.

                if you were to decide to splurge at ino, i'd suggest ordering piece-by-piece (with a plan) rather than omakase.

                i'd suggest ordering a single order (two pieces) each of flounder, tai, maguro, toro, aji, ankimo, squid leg, ankimo, ikura, scallop, uni, anago, tekka maki, clam miso soup, in that order. this tends to be around $65 pp all in.

                1. re: Dustin_E
                  y
                  yanks26dmb Sep 13, 2011 12:22 PM

                  thanks for the tips...I think whatever sushi place we go to, well be looking to order rolls, etc. We have a *very* good sushi place in San Diego we go to to get sushi and nigiri..probably looking for something a little different in this department.

                  1. re: yanks26dmb
                    d
                    Dustin_E Sep 13, 2011 12:46 PM

                    oops, missed that part of your post. well, definitely avoid ino if you're looking for rolls.

                    1. re: yanks26dmb
                      d
                      Dustin_E Sep 13, 2011 12:52 PM

                      you might consider the peruvean crab and shrimp causas at la mar instead of some rolls at a sushi place.

                2. re: yanks26dmb
                  CarrieWas218 Sep 9, 2011 11:38 AM

                  You are driving a LONG way for one winery -- Pride is at the other end of the valley and up a mountain. And there is no way you will be back in the city by 5:00 unless you LEAVE the Napa valley at 3:00. Traffic just works that way.

                  I would stay in the valley for dinner and in the $60 for two range, would recommend Grace's Table. Then drive back to the city after the traffic has died down and you will be less frazzled by so much time a car.

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

                  1. re: CarrieWas218
                    JasmineG Sep 9, 2011 12:53 PM

                    Yeah, definitely do what Carrie says -- have dinner up in Napa Valley, come back to SF afterward. There's great food up there, you're not sacrificing anything other than a miserable time in the car.

                    1. re: JasmineG
                      KelsEats Sep 9, 2011 05:42 PM

                      Agreed, that is quite the drive. Also, I'm not sure if you're familiar with spring mountain (my favorite area for wine tasting in napa!), but I'd put a couple of other wineries on the same road much higher on my list.

                      Barnett vineyards has some incredible cabs and an amazing view, as does Behren's - which was one of the most intimate, awesome experiences I've had wine tasting. Plus the view there is also incredible. Pride feels much larger and more commercial than these others, which is why I don't rank it as highly.

                      And if you're set on Sushi that night, you can go to Morimoto in Napa on the way home? You'll beat the traffic back and be able to spend more time in the valley. It's more pricey than an avg restaurant but I've heard great things.

                      Otherwise I'd say Tataki in SF is my favorite sushi. I mentioned it earlier in the thread but it was taken down because I linked it to something I wrote =( But all of the seafood is sustainable and delicious!

                      http://kelseats.com

                      -----
                      Morimoto
                      610 Main Street, Napa, CA

                      1. re: KelsEats
                        CarrieWas218 Sep 9, 2011 09:53 PM

                        Kels - I suggeste Morimoto and the OP indicated they wanted to keep their meal under $60 for the two of them, before tax and tip. I spend that alone at Morimoto for lunch... No way to eat there with that kind of budget.

                        -----
                        Morimoto
                        610 Main Street, Napa, CA

                        1. re: KelsEats
                          l
                          lrealml Sep 9, 2011 11:28 PM

                          I agree that you should do more wineries on Spring Mountain (it is a really far drive); Smith Madrone is a wonderful winery right next to Pride. The tastings are super intimate because they only do one appointment at a time.
                          There are so many great restaurants in Napa... you should just eat dinner there (but maybe not sushi).

                3. KelsEats Sep 9, 2011 08:03 PM

                  I'm sure a lot of people would raise an eyebrow at this, but for breakfast on Sunday skip Tartine and go to Knead Patisserie - also in the Mission (or make time for it another morning) I love Tartine and think it's excellent, but I think Knead is the best patisserie in SF. They're croissants are the best I've ever tried, and I spent a year in paris. And her signature pastry is called a pomme d'amour and is like creme brulee with a salted caramel sauce in puff pastry. It was written up in SF Weekly as one of the top 50 things to eat in SF.

                  Knead is not as well known, but TRUST me you won't be disappointed. I've sent dozens of people there and every one of them has agreed that it's incredible, and have gone back for more.

                  http://kelseats.com

                  -----
                  Knead Patisserie
                  3111 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: KelsEats
                    y
                    yanks26dmb Sep 10, 2011 09:18 AM

                    Thanks everyone. Starting to nail some things down...so far I'm thinking...

                    Thursday dinner at SPQR
                    Friday dinner in Napa; (you fill in the blank)
                    Sunday lunch at Burma Superstar (been here once and loved it..if you can recommend other great asian places, by all means)
                    Sunday dinner still open

                    Also, I think you've convinced me to stay in Napa for dinner and come back after traffic has died down. Any good places you can recommend to eat in Napa for $60 for two, before tax/tip?

                    And Kels..I'm not going to be replacing Tartine...but I will be making a stop at Knead on another morning per your suggestion :)

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

                    SPQR
                    1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

                    1. re: yanks26dmb
                      CarrieWas218 Sep 10, 2011 09:13 PM

                      I recommended it before and -- literally -- just came home from dinner there myself... In Napa, consider Grace's Table. It is where the locals eat.

                      This evening, four of us shared:
                      Cornbread (MUST ORDER)
                      Housemade Burrata with Prosciutto and grapes (lovely)
                      Fried squash blossoms with Romesco sauce (everyone's favorite app)
                      Mussels with Chorizo (a bit spice for me)

                      For entrees, there was:
                      Risotto with Scallops and corn (both light and rich)
                      Hangar Steak with frittes (my sister's favorite)
                      Pork Chop with cheese grits (I got the leftovers!)
                      Halibut with chanterelles

                      Three desserts:
                      Chocolate Mousse
                      Creme Brulee
                      Coconut cheesecake

                      All desserts were fine, but nothing innovative.

                      All that, a bottle of wine, an extra glass of wine, and an espresso came to $220 before tip.

                      -----
                      Hangar Steak
                      1800 Bayshore Hwy, Burlingame, CA

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

                      1. re: yanks26dmb
                        mariacarmen Sep 11, 2011 01:33 AM

                        without re-reading all the previous posts, Mandalay is supposed to be great - i haven't been but it gets great reviews here, and i sent a whole family group there who loved it. Burma Superstar was "the gateway" Burmese restaurant for me. Larkin Kitchen is much better, but not open Sunday for lunch. I even prefer Yamo to Burma Superstar, but it's very dive-y (and very small) and not everyone's cup of tea.

                        Other Asian - Lers Ros is excellent for Thai. Bistro Bodega is good for Vietnamese. I love Z&Y Garden for Sichuan, and Jai Yun for very unique Chinese.

                        -----
                        Jai Yun
                        680 Clay St, San Francisco, CA 94111

                        Yamo
                        3406 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                        1. re: mariacarmen
                          Robert Lauriston Sep 12, 2011 09:05 AM

                          Mandalay is pretty good, cooking on about the same level as Burma Superstar but without the crowd and wait. The best Burmese I've had was at Burmese Kitchen and Little Yangon.

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

                          Larkin Express Burmese Kitchen
                          452 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                          Bodega Bistro
                          607 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                          Mandalay Restaurant
                          4344 California St, San Francisco, CA 94118

                          Burma Superstar
                          1345 Park Street, Alameda, CA

                          Z & Y
                          655 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                          Lers Ros Thai
                          730 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA

                          Burma Superstar
                          4721 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA

                          Little Yangon
                          6318 Mission St, Daly City, CA 94014

                        2. re: yanks26dmb
                          s
                          skinnysweaty Sep 12, 2011 02:02 PM

                          Grace's Table is a good mention (the burgers are probably the best in the Valley, to be honest). I've never had a bad meal there and the staff is friendly.

                          For the under "$60 for two" budget you actually will be cutting it close with Grace's, though.

                          Bistro Sabor on First Street does an excellent job and is well in the budget zone. Very popular with locals, very fresh. Great service.

                          You may also want to check out Carpe Diem wine bar just off the corner of 2nd and Main. It *might* hit the ceiling of the budget but is also worth a look. It gets crowded FAST.

                          The Oxbow Market has lots of good dining options for $30/person. I can't think of one I wouldn't recommend.

                          -----
                          First Street Cafe
                          4337 1st St Ste C, Pleasanton, CA 94566

                          Bistro Sabor
                          1126 1st St, Napa, CA 94559

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

                          1. re: yanks26dmb
                            uhockey Sep 12, 2011 02:50 PM

                            Switch SPQR to Sunday since they are open on Sunday and others are not. If you want to keep SPQR on Thursday then consider Plum Sunday.

                            For Thursday if you do make the switch - Benu or Saison - both are in the top 10 meals I've enjoyed this year and although entirely different both chefs are profoundly talented and the food delicious.

                            http://endoedibles.com

                            -----
                            SPQR
                            1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

                            Saison
                            2124 Folsom St., San Francisco, CA 94110

                            Benu
                            22 Hawthorne St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                            1. re: uhockey
                              y
                              yanks26dmb Sep 12, 2011 08:06 PM

                              I've really wanted to try Benu. Unfortunately a bit too pricy...La Folie is going to be the splurge meal on Saturday..Should I consider doing Benu over La Folie on Saturday?

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

                              Benu
                              22 Hawthorne St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                              1. re: yanks26dmb
                                uhockey Sep 13, 2011 05:46 AM

                                Without a single shadow of a doubt. La Folie is very good French food made by a very humble man - but there are a lot of restaurants doing what they do all across the US. Don't get me wrong, I really liked La Folie - but benu was quite unlike anything I've experienced before. While a lot of restaurants do French with an Eastern kiss (Robuchon and his ilk being the most obvious, but in the Bay Area Cyrus is a good example) Corey Lee is doing Asian Food with French stylings. In a 19 course meal only one dish was "okay" while many were excellent and three were the kind of thing that made me request to go back to the kitchen to thank the team. Desserts still need a bit of work, but even those were unique and tasty.

                                http://endoedibles.com

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

                          2. re: KelsEats
                            uhockey Sep 12, 2011 02:32 PM

                            ...she is right. The butter pecan croissant, the pomme d'amour, and the blackberry fig turnover with chicory sauce were all superb and though I've not lived in Paris a year I've tried most of their "best of" croissant contenders and many of the "best of" here in the states and that damned Butter Croissant bests all but (maybe) one in Paris. It was the best thing I ate on my recent trip to The Bay Area, as well, which is saying something.

                            That said - man up and go to Tartine and Knead - your mouth will thank you even if your waistline doesn't.

                            http://endoedibles.com

                          3. y
                            yanks26dmb Sep 12, 2011 11:53 AM

                            When exactly does rush hour begin and end in Napa/SF?

                            I'll be driving back from Napa to SF on a Friday. Can someone tell me when I'd have to leave Napa by to miss the bulk of rush hour? Also, if I waited it out, when would I be able to head back to SF?

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: yanks26dmb
                              CarrieWas218 Sep 12, 2011 12:47 PM

                              Seriously? If you want to miss the traffic from Napa to San Francisco, you would have to leave the valley at 2:30 to 3:00. That puts you near the city at 4:00/4:30 when the traffic gets really bad and stays bad until 7:00ish.

                              If you wait it out, you could pull out at 7:00/7:30 and be back in the city in 60 to 75 minutes. Other than that and it is at least a two-hour+ drive.

                              1. re: CarrieWas218
                                y
                                yanks26dmb Sep 12, 2011 12:54 PM

                                I know..I keep going back and forth about what to do. I forgot Off the Grid is at Fort Mason on Fri evening which we were definitely trying to get to. Decisions decisions...thanks for the info though.

                                -----
                                Off the Grid
                                Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, CA 94123

                                1. re: yanks26dmb
                                  CarrieWas218 Sep 12, 2011 01:30 PM

                                  Off the Grid is definitely NOT worth the drive and traffic back into the city on a Friday night...

                                  You will have much better and consistent food in a relaxing atmosphere than trying to deal with crowds and lines for a so-so experience.

                                  -----
                                  Off the Grid
                                  Stanyan Street at Waller Street, San Francisco, CA

                                  1. re: CarrieWas218
                                    mariacarmen Sep 13, 2011 01:56 AM

                                    yeah, tho i really love OTG @ Ft. Mason, don't kill yourself trying to get back. Napa is gorgeous, you should relax and have a leisurely dinner there, once you're there.

                                  2. re: yanks26dmb
                                    JasmineG Sep 13, 2011 02:14 PM

                                    If you really want to do OTG on Friday night, just go to Napa on a different day. Maybe go Sunday, after picking up breakfast at Tartine on the way, or Thursday.

                                    1. re: yanks26dmb
                                      Windy Sep 13, 2011 02:49 PM

                                      There are food trucks at Larkspur Landing in Marin on Friday nights, by the ferry. http://www.foodtruckcrush.com/
                                      Can anyone comment on the particular trucks? Or you can catch Off the Grid at many other dates and times; Thursdays at 5 in the Haight is good.

                                      The most enjoyable way to avoid traffic coming back from Napa is to detour west through Marin County (37 west to 101 south).

                                      It adds a few miles, but opens up a world of restaurants and scenery, and many places worth stopping. Versus the hell of 80 and the Bay Bridge at any time of day, but especially on a Friday afternoon or evening.

                                      -----
                                      Off the Grid
                                      Stanyan Street at Waller Street, San Francisco, CA

                                      1. re: Windy
                                        CarrieWas218 Sep 13, 2011 04:08 PM

                                        Windy makes a good point; I drive into the city from Napa at least once a week and always take the Marin route. It is an extra five to ten miles, but a much shorter drive.

                                        It always depends on WHERE in the city you want to end up. I only take the Bay Bridge when I need to be on that side of the city as it does take an additional half-hour to get from the Marina to downtown or The Mission.

                                        If the OP wants to get to Off The Grid at Fort Mason, the Marin route is a bit more do-able, but would still take upwards of two hours (I can do it in an hour-and-a-half, but I know the route and drive fast).

                                        1. re: CarrieWas218
                                          Windy Sep 13, 2011 04:28 PM

                                          Yes, it's half an hour across town from the Golden Gate Bridge to downtown. But much closer if you're heading to Aziza, Ft. Mason, or any of the wonderful options in the Richmond or west side of the city. If you have to pull off because of traffic and get a drink in Sausalito or somewhere on Geary, it's an opportunity to explore.

                                          I live on the east side of town, but never take the Bay Bridge.

                                          I do think Off the Grid is great fun, but agree, crazy to head to Napa and rush back.

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