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Aug 15, 2012 12:00 PM

San Fran and Napa/Sonoma Trip in Sept Restaurant Help Needed

I'm heading to San Fran and Napa in mid-Sept. and can't wait! I'll be traveling with my roommate who is a chef here in NYC. We are both HUGE foodies - NO HOLDS BAR - we will try everything from food trucks, to tasting menus. We would love to find local spots and see none tourist things in SF. The plan is as follows:

Arrive in SF around 11am and hit the Farmer's Ferry Market for lunch.

Grab a Go Car for a 2-3ish hour tour around all of SF. Just to see the sights and decide where we want to spend more time when we return to SF later in the week.

Dinner at Oriental Pearl for Peking Duck.

Hotel is in Union Square so thinking Yank Sing for brunch, unless a "Can't Miss" sunday breakfast brunch is suggested? Then grabbing picnic items up at Ferry Building for the drive up to Napa.

Arrive in Napa mid-afternoon, looking to find a vineyard with no reservation needed.

Dinner suggestion needed for St. Helena area. Looking for moderate price entrees $15-25 each. Is Rotisserie & Wine, any good?

Great breakfast spot in St. Helena????

Vineyard tours in the morning. (Cakebread, Mumm, Caymus)

Lunch at Mustard Grill in Yountville.

More vineyards after lunch Domaine Chandon, Milat and full tour at Del Dotto.

Dinner suggestions??? Could be a little more expensive would be willing to do a tasting menu or pre-fixe if there are any suggestions. Especially if places specialize in pairings.

Another great breakfast spot maybe in Rutherford. Will be heading south to get back to SF. stopping at some other vineyards on the way.

Looking for a great Downtown Napa spot or quick pick up lunch.

Dinner at Boulevard in SF.

Suggestions for breakfast in SF. Boulette's Larder? Sweet Maple? Brenda's French Soul Food?

Touring anywhere in the city.

Lunch depends on where we are

Dinner : Incanto!!!

Totally free day, but we have to head to the airport around 2. Any suggestions for something that is a need to see/do and a meal in the area would be great. Maybe a leisurely bike ride through Gloden Gate Park and lunch at Outerlands?

I know you will have so many suggestions and they are SO welcome. Thanks.

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  1. two suggestions: while you are in wine country, be sure and have a dinner at Redd in Yountville. In San Francisco, either a lunch or a dinner at Piperade. Enjoy.

    3 Replies
    1. re: pinotho

      Thanks. Any breakfast suggestions in St Helena or lunch suggestions in Napa?

      1. re: sanchejg

        for lunch in Napa, I would go to Oxbow Public Market, which is a very big food hall full of purveyors selling all sorts of stuff. For example, C Casa will sell you a duck or crabmeat taco. I think $8.00 for a taco is kind of outrageous, but I really enjoy their tacos. It is a fascinating place, and you will enjoy it. Also, right beside the market is a Gott's Roadside, which is the current name for the famous Taylor's Refresher, which started in St. Helena. You will enjoy Oxbow. I tend to want to eat breakfast where the locals do, so, hopefully someone will log on who knows all things local in St.Helena. .

        1. re: sanchejg

          For breakfast in St Helena go to Model Bakery and get a breakfast sandwich on their to die for
          English muffins.

      2. First - if you are driving all the way to St. Helena, you aren't going to want to backtrack to Napa. Second - Rotisserie & Wine closed several months ago; Tyler Florence couldn't make a got of it in Napa...
        Third - A $15 entree in Napa is rare... The best moderately priced restaurants in downtown Napa would be Grace's Table and, as others have suggested, food at The Oxbow Market.

        With all that...
        In St. Helena, I would recommend Brassicas, one of Cindy Pawlcyn's new eateries that is quite interesting with its Mediterranean-influenced cuisine. Another hearty suggestion on the affordable side is Cook.

        Breakfast in wine country is fairly mediocre, I'm sorry to say. Gilwood's Cafe is about it and you will really only find standard breakfast fare there. If you would consider a drive down-valley, Boon Fly Cafe is far more interesting as is the afore-mentioned Grace's Table. There is really no place in Rutherford for breakfast whatsoever - you are either going to have to eat in St. Helena or Napa.

        For your tasting menu, try and get into Meadowood - it is one of the few 4-star Michelin restaurants in the country.

        Hope this helps!

        2 Replies
        1. re: CarrieWas218

          Medowood is 3 stars, there is no such thing as a 4 star. The US has 11 3-stars. There are 68 worldwide. Rarefied, certainly.

        2. After an 18-yr love affair with Boulevard, we were crushed when Ravi Kapur left and a dinner on January 2012 was TERRIBLE. We went to Prospect (Kapur was exec chef at both) and sure enough, same thing. First dinner at Prospect under Kapur had been perfection; post-Kapur was a disaster.

          We now prefer David Bazirgan's cooking at Fifth Floor, Hotel Palomar. Scallop ceviche with Yuzu kosho was a masterpiece of restrained elegance. Spouse said venison was hands-down the best game dish he'd ever had (and he is a major red-meat eater, lol). Skate was perfect, as was guinea hen.

          Alas, no more foie gras, which Fifth Floor also did beautifully.

          3 Replies
          1. re: jaiko

            Some thoughts:

            Breakfast in St Helena: newly opened French Blue on Main St. Open 7am-11pm everyday. Gorgeous indoor/outdoor space by starchitect Howard Backen. Not a down home diner. But, fun place to start the day.

            lunch in St Helena: Cook as mentioned above. Small, local place with fun bar and Italian inflected menu. Local wine industry hangout.

            Dinner in Yountville: Redd for big time Michelin 1 star food in a minimalist and elegant space. Beautiful front patio for warmer evenings. Or, try its more casual cousin, Reddwood, for pizza, charcuterie, in a bustling, fun north Yountville location.

            Have fun.

            1. re: jaiko

              @ jaiko - Oh No! I will have to look into this further! How did Boulevard win the James Beard award for Outstanding Restaurant for 2012?

              1. re: sanchejg

                If it makes any difference, my wife and I were both at Boulevard last week and it was great. Third time we've been and its always been great. So, maybe, hopefully, Jaiko was there on an off night?

            2. So, near as I can tell, Sonoma doesn't factor into this trip at all? I was confused by the title.