Last five meals in the Bay
With heavy hearts (and hungry tummies!) we are getting ready to move from the Bay Area. We want to soak up as many fresh California flavors as we can before we head east. What are the top five, can't be missed places to visit in SF / Oakland / Berkeley?
Wow, this is a tough question. It's almost like the question of what would be your last supper?
Seems like if you've lived here for awhile, you probably have a few personal favorites. This is a real personal decision and my advice would be to mix your last few meals with a bit of nostalgia (your favorite haunts or your favorite food) with last-minute opportunities (restaurants you haven't tried but heard a lot about and want to try before you leave).
I think your idea of going the California route makes sense. For example, I wouldn't go to any Chinese places for xiao lung baos because you can get some good ones in New York in Flushings. So go for things you know you can't get. (There's also good Italian and tapas food in New York so I wouldn't worry about finding those places here before you leave.)
My personal five, and again, these are personal for me, would be:
2) Chez Panisse
3) Tadich Grill
5) Cotogna (I know what I said about Italian, but this is MY personal list) ;-)
Best of luck with your move! I love New York and my last few trips I've found some great food (compared to when I used to live there and the food was more hip and showy than tasty).
Totally different tack.
I'd walk the Golden Gate Bridge before dawn and time my about-face from the Marin side so I hit dead-center as the sun comes up. I'd grab a bus back to my neighborhood and get a muffin and some coffee.
I'd walk the Greenwich Steps to the top of Telegraph Hill and walk down Filbert to North Beach and have a pizza and a beer at Tony's.
I'd score a killer breakfast at the Ferry Plaza's Saturday market. I'd buy bread, cheeses, olives, dried meats, pates, fresh fruits, wines and a beer or two at the market (picnic!) and take the ferry to Angel Island. I would hike to the top of Mt. Livermore and bask in the best 360-degree views of San Francisco Bay. I would hog the best table at the summit and would not share a damn thing with (the very few) fellow hikers.
I'd take the "F" up Market to Zuni for lunch: half-a-dozen oysters washed down by a vodka gimlet, a medium-rare burger and those goofy string fries.
I'd take the J-Church out to Noe Valley to Incanto. I'd probably sit at the bar.
I'd walk over to Cotogna, sit at the copper-topped bar, order a martini from Buffalo and ask what the specials are.
I'd catch a day game at the Oakland Coliseum. I'd take the BART. I'd sit behind the dugout. There's no doubt in my mind that the A's would pull it out in the bottom of the ninth. Supper at Chez Panisse. I've never had supper at Chez Panisse but I know the history and it would be a pity if I didn't take time to visit an icon.
Hmmmmmmmmmmm. My personal, subjective-but-sorta-taking-into-account-that-you-are-moving-to-NYC top five then would be Incanto, Ippuku (they do have real izakayas, more than here, but I'm not sure you can get chicken tartare in NYC), Coi, Waterbar and... I can't pick a fifth; there are lots of places.
If you were in the habit of eating a Mission burrito regularly; I'd eat up now, as it's not quite the same over there.
Burgers are also much worse over there. It always seems silly to me when New Yorkers argue about "Best Burger in NYC." It's kinda like arguing about the most genteel Real Housewife, fancy Boulud burgers notwithstanding.
1. I would go to one blow out, Californian inspired meal. Saison, Coi, Benu, Atelier Crenn etc.
2. I would want to sit outside, in the sun, as much as possible. Maybe get Bi-Rite ice cream in SF and head over to the park. Or go to Cheeseboard and sit on the grassy median on a sunny day. That sort of thing. Maybe go to Off the Grid in SF. To the Ferry Builiding on a Saturday morning.