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Itinerary help please-- NYer returning for 3 nights!

Hi all,
I've been browsing the boards for a few months now in anticipation of planning our (limited number of, sigh) meals for our summer trip. Now that we're entering the window of time where reservations and other non-food plans need to be firmed up, I thought I'd put my tentative itinerary to the experts on this board and get some thoughts on variety, what's feasible, and what's best given our interests and preferences.
This is my second time to SF and my husband's first. I'm definitely more into food than my husband but he's a good sport and game for anything. I love farm to table food and my husband loves craft beer. On my first trip in 2009, I absolutely loved everything at the Ferry Building and the Farmers' Market (we had two memorable meals at Il Cane Rosso), Zuni, Absinthe, Olea, and Bi-Rite. We weren't crazy about Tartine. I was disappointed to miss Alembic, Humphrey Slocombe and burritos in the Mission. We like low-key and are not into tasting menus. I love cheese and (surprise!) ice cream.
We have 9 meals in SF, 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 3 dinners, before we move on to a couple of nights in both Sonoma and Healdsburg. We are staying in the Financial District near the Ferry Building.

Thursday:
Lunch- R&G lounge or Great Eastern
Snack- B. Patisserie
Dinner- Cotogna
Drinks- near our hotel, Comstock Saloon or Harrow... any other suggestions?

Friday:
Breakfast- en route to Alcatraz ferry... suggestions?
Lunch- Mission burrito (I have been waiting 4 years for this; I have La Taqueria, El Metate, El Farolito bookmarked.)
Drinks- Southern Pacific Brewery
Snacks- Ice cream at Humphrey Slocombe, Craftsmen & Wolves
Drinks/snacks- Alembic, Magnolia, Toronado
Dinner- Torn here, can't decide between Nopa and Rich Table. Both menus appeal to me but I guess I'd prefer the one in a more fun neighborhood to walk around and possibly get a drink after?

Saturday:
Breakfast/snacks- Ferry Plaza Farm Market
Lunch- Burmese Kitchen
Snacks- at the SF Giants game
Drinks- 21st Amendment Brewery
Dinner- I was thinking Marlowe since it's sort of near the stadium-- because of the burger-- but I'm not thrilled by this choice and would be open to other suggestions. I'm intrigued by Coqueta, also State Bird but don't want to eat standing up. Nothing too far afield from our hotel.

Sunday:
Breakfast- near the hotel

Thanks in advance! I'm really looking forward to our visit.

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  1. If you go to Nopa, try drinks at Corkage, which has an excellent selection of sake and a small selection of high-end Japanese beer. That nabe is very hopping, more so than where Rich Table is. There are bars near both, though.

    1 Reply
    1. re: dunstable

      Thank you! Corkage sounds fun and a bit different. I'll keep in mind that Nopa's neighborhood is more lively.

    2. If you go to the Ferry Plaza on a Saturday morning, it is unlikely you will be hungry for a lunch anywhere - especially Burmese... Consider saving Burmese for dinner on that day.

      3 Replies
      1. re: CarrieWas218

        I was thinking of a late lunch on Saturday, around 2, for the reason you state, and since we won't have dinner till probably 8 or 9. But maybe we'll do a lighter lunch and have Burmese later. Thanks!

        1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

          We loved Happy Hour at Harrow but were disappointed in the beer list at Comstock and didn't stay (watch your knees under the tables there if you go).

          Since you have a fab auxiliary stomach with you (that's how I roll too!), maybe you could have the breakfast of champions, Roli Roti's porchetta, as a shared thing on Sat, thus saving room for BK later.

          Ditto (even more so) re sharing a Mission burrito. I ate a whole one once and skipped dinner, and I can eat.

          We found the food at Magnolia just competent (awesome sink, though), and there isn't any at Toronado, though it's excellent for beer and stupidly inexpensive.

          1. re: grayelf

            I was hoping you'd weigh in, Grayelf, since your input on threads on this board and the Portland board (we went to Portland last summer) is extremely helpful!

            Yes, my husband makes up for the stomach space I lack; last time I was in SF was with my sister who is frankly weak (I say that lovingly :) and I think I worked her into a food coma by the last day.

            How is Harrow other than Happy Hour? We may not get there in time for HH on our first night there. Good to know re: Comstock too.

            The porchetta at Roli Roti looks great and I will put that on our list. My friend suggested a whole burrito crawl of the Mission but there's so much I want to eat in the Mission that I don't think filling up on burritos is the best idea, so we will start with one.

            I was trying to plan a mini-beer crawl for my husband on the Friday night so would like to try to hit up at least Magnolia and Toronado. Not sure what else would be worthwhile nearby.

            Would appreciate any other input you or others have. Thanks!!!

      2. My 2 cents:

        I much prefer Bi-Rite ice cream at 18th/Dolores .. you can skip the line if you buy a pint. Love the salted caramel.

        I hear Marlowe's burger is made with lamb (or a mixture?) and I really dislike lamb so have not gone there.

        For a great bargain, absolutely delicious AND near your hotel, go to Epic Roasthouse Embarcadero near Harrison to the BAR ONLY (there are tables as well as a bar, nice view of water) from about 5 pm on, there's special cheeseburger (they grind their meat) with fries, a brownie and a beer for only $20.

        This burger is much better than Umami Burger on Union St. Also, at Umami I asked for a slice of raw onion and waiter said they don't have that but offered to bring me some caramelized onions. WTF?

        5 Replies
        1. re: walker

          There's no lamb in Marlowe's burger.

            1. re: absc

              Huh, I guess you're right. I'm surprised I didn't notice it, but some of the lamb around here pretty much lacks the characteristic gaminess.

          1. re: walker

            Thanks! I definitely plan on a return visit to bi-rite (it was a highlight of our last trip) but probably the newer non-mission location. I love lamb so that actually makes Marlowe more appealing! But the deal you mention at Epic sounds great too. We'll probably play the burger by ear.

            1. re: walker

              Raw onion is short on umami. Caramelized has lots. It's part of their thing.

            2. it's out of the way but if you like ice cream you should try Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous in Dogpatch, there is also Yield Wine bar and a tiny french cheese shop near by.

              1. Not a lot near Nopa. The Bi-Rite is there, and a few bars, but that's it at night. Hayes Valley would offer you a more contained shopping district to visit, on Hayes itself.

                Saturday has you going back and forth a little too much. You could switch Ferry Plaza to lunch instead.

                Thursday also has you going in circles. R&G, and Cotogna close to each other. I haven't found anything at B. Patisserie that's worth going out of the way for.

                32 Replies
                1. re: sugartoof

                  You're joking, right? The area around Nopa is one of the hottest zones in the city. It's not just a few bars, it's like 15. If it's a nice day, Divisadero is clogged with hipsters. It's one of the reasons I moved out of the neighborhood. (nothing against you hipsters; I'm just not one, and like it a bit mellower these days.)

                  Oh, also, it's only a couple of blocks away from the Painted Ladies, the houses made famous in the sitcom Full House, which is fun for a few seconds, I guess.

                  Hayes Valley would be a better choice if you're going shopping (I always recommend the Hayes Valley location of Lers Ros to tourists for this reason), but all of those shops close pretty early.

                  1. re: dunstable

                    Yeah, Divisadero is hopping at night. Hipster central, maybe second only to Valencia.

                    1. re: dunstable

                      There are a hand full of bars near Nopa restaurant. Few of them rival Nopa itself for drinks.

                      Is there a block with more than 3-4 "hip" businesses on it to visit during daytime hours? The new crop of hip businesses are closing at 9pm. Stuff is pretty spread out, so the idea it's clogged with hipsters or hopping is more than a stretch.

                      1. re: sugartoof

                        Wow.

                        Well, I'm going to pass over your opinions about Divisadero, but for the sake of the OP, I will point out that most of the shops in Hayes Valley close at 7pm, unfortunately. Also, for the OP, those two nabes are pretty close to each other, like a 2 minute bus ride, so if you are bored with one, you can hop to the other easily.

                        1. re: dunstable

                          There barely are any shops on Divisadero.

                          1. re: sugartoof

                            The request was for a "fun neighborhood to walk around and possibly get a drink after" dinner. I think Divisadero north of Nopa is livelier than Hayes at night, more bars, fewer closed shops.

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              What block has more than 3 shops on it?

                              More bars, but are they bars worthy of a Chowhound excursion? Not really. It doesn't compare to Valencia yet.

                              To be constructive, I will mention Candybar on Fulton.

                              1. re: sugartoof

                                I don't see what difference it makes how many shops it has, when all the ones in Hayes Valley will be closed. At least Sanfranpsycho is open until 8. Rare Device is open until 8.

                                If we are talking about bars that are "worthy of a Chowhound excursion" (?), then that reduces Hayes Valley to zero bars. Maybe one, if you're willing to count Sugar because it has decent cocktails. On the other hand, Divis has two wine bars (Vinyl and Wine Kitchen), a sake and wine bar (Corkage), a dessert bar (Candybar)... and whatever you want to call Bar 821. A wine/sake/soju bar? Anyway, proper cocktails and/or Islay single-malts can be had at Minibar, at Madrone, at the Page... That leaves Fly, Waziema (where apparently Billie Holliday herself once sang in back), also Mojo and Bean Bag if it's nice out...

                                Anyway, it's not a happening neighborhood by accident, and we haven't even factored the major rock venue smack in the middle of the street.

                                1. re: dunstable

                                  Hayes Valley also has Smuggler's Cove which has quite decent cocktails...

                                  1. re: CarrieWas218

                                    Oh right, I haven't made my way there yet. Two, then.

                                    1. re: CarrieWas218

                                      Smuggler's Cove is a destination. The immediate area is kind of dead at night.

                                    2. re: dunstable

                                      It matters if someone is inaccurately portraying what an after dinner excursion offers in the area. You're talking about places spread out over a dozen blocks with little in between.

                                      The Bean Bag? Funny.

                                      Stick to The Mill, and Perish Trust (antiques, and Warby Parker eyewear) which are actually neighbors, and interesting... Both close at 9. Rare Device is great, but has few neighbors for the OP to visit. You forgot Bar Crudo which I'd suggest over The Fly, or Madrone.

                                      Hayes is a condensed shopping district.

                                      For drinks in Hayes:
                                      Biergarten, Smugglers Cove, Two Sisters, Absinthe (good for dessert), Noir, Supenkuche,

                                      1. re: sugartoof

                                        *rolls eyes*

                                        All right then, that's enough of this for me. This is a ridiculous debate, especially considering it can all be verified by a quick glance at Google maps, where one can notice immediately that you overestimated the number of blocks by DOUBLE.

                                        And the Bean Bag, with its $2 glasses of IPA, is the epicenter of hipsters on Divis. What's "funny" is that you should be unaware of this.

                                        1. re: dunstable

                                          All the really hip kids go to Crepevines.

                        2. re: sugartoof

                          Thanks for the feedback. I put B. Patisserie on the agenda for Thursday because I mistakenly thought the California cable car line ran that far and it seemed like it would be a good place for a snack since we wanted to take a ride on the cable car. But I looked it up and I see it doesn't go that far, so we'll probably go elsewhere for a snack. We are arriving a little after 12 so we will probably be in the vicinity of our hotel by 2 or so, and I can't see wanting to go too far for lunch, which is why I chose R&G or Great Eastern. Then we will probably do some walking around of Chinatown and Nob Hill and make a circuit back to our hotel. We will probably be exhausted so I didn't want to get too crazy with our plans for the first day.

                          I want to leave Saturday flexible and a bit open since our Friday is pretty packed.

                          What bakeries do you like?

                          1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                            Especially since you're coming from NY, I would skip the Italian Bakerys in North Beach--- they're uniformly inferior.

                            Starter Bakery in Oakland has a Kouign Amann that's worth seeing out, and is sold in North Beach and the surrounds. I spotted it at a cheese shop two weeks back, but other locations have it too: http://starterbakery.com/contact/

                            1. re: hyperbowler

                              The one great bakery in North Beach is Liguria, which makes only focaccia and often sells out before nooon.

                              1. re: hyperbowler

                                Oh hyperbowler, you had to mention the Starter kouign amann, didn't ya? I am a slave to those puppies and I think the OP should try one. I prefer Starter's version to Brenda Leong's at b patisserie by a nose. As it appears the newish Heyday is carrying Starter stuff it might be worth emailing them to see if they will have the KA as that would be v. close to the OP's hotel. Coffee Bar in the FiDi also carries stuff from Starter. I have been known to call them and "book" one :-). The elusive hazelnut version is tops in my book but the plain is a close second.

                                1. re: grayelf

                                  Thanks for the tip about heyday!

                                  Oops, the cheese shop I mentioned above is called Little Vine. Really nice selection of CA goodies, and not too far from Liguria Bakery.

                                  1. re: hyperbowler

                                    I think Little Vine doesn't always get the KAs -- we dropped by last trip one day and no dice, so worth calling ahead. Cute store though with a decent selection of gourmet stuff.

                                2. re: hyperbowler

                                  Coffee Bar on Montgomery is the most consistent place to find the Kouign Amann.

                                  As for North Beach...
                                  Stella Bakery has no equal for it's Italian whip cream cakes in NY. (Skip the pastries/cookies).
                                  Victoria's Princess Cake is one of the better ones in the city, for an item that's unavailable in NY.
                                  Liguria is great.
                                  Golden Gate Bakery is close by.

                                  There's also Black Jet at the Ferry Building...
                                  Blue Bottle in Mint Plaza for sweet items...
                                  and then Sightglass or Contraband (which isn't too far from North Beach) who carry Neighbor pastries which make some of the best croissant type items in my opinion.

                                  1. re: sugartoof

                                    It's good to know that Victoria's does a good Princess Cake. I've never managed to eat anything remarkable at their old location, and recently had two meh items at their new location. Their Napoleon had a custard rather than the whipped cream messes common in the Bay Area, but I wasn't a fan of its flavor.

                                    huh, I've had it a few times in the midwest, so it hadn't occurred to me that Princess Cake would be a rarity in NY. Looking at y*lp, it's not unavailable in NYC, but this Swedish origin dessert is available in more places here (heh, there's even an ice cream filled Ikea version!). Swedish origin also explains why I've had it a few times in the midwest.

                                    As for Golden Gate Bakery, the OP should check out http://www.is-the-golden-gate-bakery-... on the morning of their potential visit to ensure it's not closes.

                                    1. re: sugartoof

                                      Hmm, may have to revisit Contraband -- we haven't had anything really outstanding pastry-wise there on three visits.

                                      1. re: grayelf

                                        If you've had the croissant from Four Barrel, those are the same baker.

                                        1. re: grayelf

                                          When I go to Contraband I have to remember to ask for the caps extra hot because they are only lukewarm, otherwise.

                                          I think the pastries are better quality than an average coffee house sells.

                                          1. re: walker

                                            Only thing we've had from Four Barrel was the KA which used to be Brenda Leong and a scone. We had a cinnamon twirly thing at Contraband last week that was egregious (SO ordered it before I had the chance to warn him), so still not winning. But now Flour and Co is just a block away so the solution is to get pastries there (or their savoury oatmeal, which I'm dying to try)and coffee at Contraband. SO had the cap so I don't know if it was lukewarm or not.

                                            1. re: grayelf

                                              Was the Cinnamon twist credit to anyone? It's a mix and match from various bakers/suppliers, with cookies and empanadas, and waffles - all different. I know Neighbor specializes in croissants though.

                                              1. re: sugartoof

                                                I didn't catch where it was from, but we haven't liked the waffles, the empanadas, the scones or the cinnamon thingy so I think that's enough chances : -).

                                    2. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                      Re: Cable Car ride .. the best one, in my opinion .. wait in line at Market/Powell and make sure you get on the one that ends up at Beach/Hyde NOT Bay/Taylor. The view coming down the Hyde Street hill is incredible.

                                      R & G is excellent, a bit pricey, the crab is wonderful.

                                      If you're ever in Berkeley, Crixa is a great bakery. It's across from the Berkeley Bowl grocery store; this is the original one (my preference), there are now two. I've never seen another store like this.

                                      1. re: walker

                                        Just a note that Berkeley Bowl and Crixa are an easy walk (less than ten minutes) from the Ashby BART station and well worth a visit from an NYer (the last one I took said "the produce department is bigger than an entire Fairway").

                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                          Crixa sells out of the more unique items, so it's best to go earlier.

                                          Berkley Bowl has a great assortment of produce with some sections that will stand out, but about 90% of it would also be found in NY, and the Fairway size comparison is a stretch.

                                  2. This is a cool list. Well researched and tasty! Only thought -- my favorite mission burrito is still at Cancun taqueria.

                                    1. I just wanted to update a little now that I've started making reservations and am finding that I have to juggle things around a little.

                                      We're coming July 4th weekend (actually arriving on July 4) so a bunch of places seem to be closed on July 4th... so I've had to move some meals around. Also, based on the other thread about Perbacco vs. Cotogna I've decided I'd rather do Perbacco (we like trying restaurants that specialize in Piedmont specialties since we spent our honeymoon there and there's only one place in NY that I've found-- Sorella-- and we went to Spinasse in Seattle).

                                      Changes-
                                      Thursday dinner- I have an email out to Nopa asking them to confirm if they are open on July 4th. Perbacco is not. If Nopa is open, we'll probably go there to that area, which seems like it has a bunch of places we'd like. I bookmarked all of the suggestions on Divisadero made here.

                                      Friday dinner- on a lark I tried loading the reservation page for State Bird this morning at 7:45 (NY time) and I got a reservation for the Friday night we're there. Thoughts?

                                      Saturday dinner- I reserved Perbacco for a late dinner after the Giants game.

                                      I also really appreciate the bakery feedback. I made note of all the suggestions. Heyday is really close to our hotel so hopefully they'll have the kouign ammans (have never had one and would love to try one!). Probably won't go out of our way for Italian bakeries since we have so many here.

                                      I also forgot to mention that we will be driving to SFO (from Mendocino) the following Saturday. I haven't looked yet but I wonder if anyone has suggestions on what's noteworthy en route to the airport (and with a car)? It'll be dinnertime by the time we are back in SF.

                                      Thanks again, I'm enjoying reading all the suggestions!

                                      14 Replies
                                      1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                        Little Yangon in Daly City is on the way to the airport.

                                        1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                          Just in case you'd like to see fireworks on the 4th, maybe have dinner some place in the Embarcadero area so that you can walk towards Pier 39 afterwards to see the show. It will be crowded, though, maybe like a NY sidewalk in Midtown at 5pm. Epic Roasthouse or Waterbar or Prospect or La Mar are all good choices, in decending order of prices, for the high end spots, or Cane Rosso in the Ferry Building for a very casual dinner.

                                          In Sonoma, favorites include El Molino Central and Glen Ellen Star.

                                          1. re: foodeye

                                            Hmm, what time are the fireworks? I hadn't thought of that. Thanks for the Sonoma recs too!

                                            1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                              The fireworks start when it just gets dark enough, so around 9:30 pm. If it is a foggy night though (not uncommon in July), it is probably not worth the effort.

                                              Your State Bird res is a really good grab - they were just awarded James Beard Best New Restaurant!

                                              1. re: foodeye

                                                Thanks. I'll keep the fireworks in mind. I was surprised to get a reservation. I know there is talk of it being over hyped but I have to admit I'm curious, and not having to wait hours to get in I'm sure predisposes me to like it more! And I got a reservation to also much-hyped mission Chinese here in NY this past weekend and really enjoyed it so I'm hoping the same is true for state bird.

                                                1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                                  I'd keep Statebird. I've been multiple time and have yet to have a bad meal. Plus, as mentioned above, the fireworks are often hidden in the fog.

                                            2. re: foodeye

                                              In Sonoma, on the square, I love The Girl and the Fig .. flounder with brown butter so delicious.

                                              1. re: walker

                                                I already booked girl and the fig for our first night there... I've been eyeing the menu for months!

                                                1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                                  Get their special house salad with arugula and figs (and I'm not even a big fan of arugula!). It's nice to eat out on the patio. On Tuesday evenings in the summer there's a big farmer's market in the square.

                                            3. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                              "Probably won't go out of our way for Italian bakeries since we have so many here."

                                              Don't blame you, but just for anyone referencing this thread in the future, New Yorkers would be hard pressed to find comparable Sacripantina, Princess, St.Honore, to name a few of the specialty cakes beloved by generations of San Franciscans.

                                              1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                                Yay that you're staying near Heyday -- had a plain Starter KA there on Monday. Be warned though, they only do brewed coffee, no espresso. Lunch was being prepped while we were in and everything looked great, especially the salads. They were doing a lot of lunch catering as well, so I think they picked a good spot for this type of business. Check out their daily drinks too -- v. nice ginger sorrel bevvy that day. And hot oatmeal for breaky if you do get fogged in.

                                                We had a superb lunch at Little Yangon last trip -- nearly headed out there this time again but the timing was off.

                                                1. re: grayelf

                                                  Great!! We need some good breakfast places and oatmeal and pastries sound perfect. Can't wait for your trip report! I'm counting down the days till our trip.

                                                  1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                                    The nice thing about Heyday is that there are tables inside where you can sit down and eat though it is order at the counter. Nice airy room with all the prep happening in the open. Up the other way is the Coffee Bar, which also has a (better) selection of pastries but should only be for grab and go as there is no real seating and it's not salutary to do so anyway. Coffee here is Mr Espresso which I like but is not very third wave. Excellent teas at both Harrow and Coffee Bar if you're into that.

                                                    And you should be an easy walk to the Ferry Building which has some breaky and pastry options. I just read that Boulette's Larder is closing for a remodel, but not sure then that is happening.

                                                    Some other suggestions I've culled from the boards over the years in the vicinity: Prospect if you're around for weekend brunch -- I haven't been yet, alas. Someone knowledgeable suggested Orale Orale at Drumm and Market for weekday Mexican breaky. Butler and the Chef for something a bit fancier? SOMA Inn Café for greasy spoonish omelettes? Or Townsend for the bread and scone basket? Just a few more ideas for your research...

                                                    I'll ramble on more in my trip report but for now, may I just say that a burger from Naked Lunch is A Very Fine Thing. Only available on the weekends and at dinner though. Great fries there too, and I think decentish beer choices.

                                                    You asked upthread about Harrow other than HH -- only been there for drinks and snacks so can't comment. The owner is so lovely though (went back again this trip) we are going to make it a habit. Wed-Fri 5-6:30 only for HH deals. I think you are having dinner at Cotogna on a Thursday -- Harrow would be an ideal place to stop for snacks at 5:30/6 before a 7:30/8 reso there which is just what we did :-). It's a shortish walk from your hotel to Harrow then from Harrow to Cotogna.

                                                    You're also not that far from the newish Reveille bricks and mortar which has great breaky stuff and decent coffee in a beautifully sunny room. Ooh, and Blue Bottle Mint Plaza is 8 or so (long) blocks from Heyday. Really nice breakfasts and excellent coffee. On the wayish to Union Square too... okay, I'll put a sock in it now :-).

                                              2. As I start solidifying other (non-food, i.e., secondary :) plans, my itinerary has changed a bit.

                                                Thurs lunch- either Chinese (R&G, Great Eastern, or something else near our hotel in the Fidi) or Ferry Building bites (depends on how hungry we are), sightseeing in that general area afterward

                                                Thurs dinner- really limited here with options given 4th of July, also since this will technically be second dinner for us given the time difference, I don't want to commit to a big dinner. I decided on some bites in the Mission, which was a huge hole in my last trip to SF, at Mission Cheese & Bi-rite (both confirmed open for 4th of July), perhaps Trick Dog if they are open since that looks fun too.

                                                Fri breakfast- en route to 9:10 Alcatraz ferry
                                                Fri lunch- Mission burrito, looking at the murals and shops (I know it's outside of the purview of CH but what are funky local shops near these eateries?) , snacks at Craftsmen & Wolves, and Humphrey Slocombe, drinks at Southern Pacific
                                                Fri dinner- reservations at State Bird

                                                Sat breakfast- Ferry building farmers' market bites and browsing, Lombard St., Coit Tower sightseeing, etc.
                                                Sat brunch- Nopa, checking out shops in the area
                                                Sat afternoon- 21st amendment pre-game, snacks at the Giants game
                                                Sat night- late-ish dinner at Perbacco

                                                Sun breakfast- on the go, then driving over GGB to Marin Headlands, cheese grazing
                                                lunch- en route to Petaluma, open to options here
                                                drinks- Lagunitas
                                                dinner- Girl and the Fig in Sonoma

                                                Mon breakfast- at B&B
                                                Mon lunch- we will be checking out 3-4 wineries in Sonoma town, lunch will be a picnic at one. I have Sebastiana, Ravenswood, Gundlach Bundschu, Bartholomew Park, and Buena vista bookmarked. We both prefer white wine (and frankly are much more knowledgeable about/interested in beer than wine, but when in Rome (Sonoma)... I like sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot grigio, though we both love Piedmont red wines (Dolcetto, Barbera, etc). Which 3 would be best for us? Laid back and scenic.
                                                Mon dinner- have La Salette reservation but worried too heavy so this may go.

                                                Tues breakfast- at B&B
                                                Tues morning- Benziger and olive oil place en route to Santa Rosa, Peanuts museum and drinks at Russian River Brewing
                                                Tues lunch- Sebastopol? not sure yet
                                                Tues afternoon- shops and tasting rooms in Healdsburg
                                                Tues dinner- Bravas in Healdsburg

                                                Wed breakfast- at cottage
                                                Wed lunch- picnic? Bear Republic or wineries in the area
                                                Wed afternoon- Redwoods in Guerneville
                                                Wed dinner- reservations at Applewood in Guerneville

                                                Thurs-Sat- Mendocino

                                                Sat- head back to SF

                                                13 Replies
                                                1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                                  I would skip the snacks at the Giants game unless you really enjoy mediocre ballpark food. You can bring in outside food.

                                                  1. re: sugartoof

                                                    Thank you. We will plan accordingly and bring snacks. Probably won't be too hungry anyway.

                                                  2. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                                    Delfina and Locanda are open July 4.

                                                    You could probably do better than 21st Amendment in that area though if you just want a beer it's fine.

                                                    The food at most of the concessions at <this space for rent> Park is among the worst I've ever encountered in SF, but if you go all the way to the left on the bottom level, or all the way to the right on the top level, there's some decent stuff and better beer.

                                                    If you prefer Dolcetto and Barbera to the usual California reds, you might consider these places:

                                                    Wind Gap in Sebastopol, tasting room might be open by then

                                                    Paul Matthews in Graton

                                                    Unti in Healdsburg

                                                    Natural Process Alliance / Salinia / Tribute to Grace in Santa Rosa

                                                    Family Wineries (including David Noyes) tasting room in Kenwood

                                                    http://windgapwines.com/
                                                    http://www.paulmathewvineyards.com/
                                                    http://www.untivineyards.com/
                                                    http://www.naturalprocessalliance.us
                                                    http://www.familywines.com/index2.html

                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                      21st Amendment is non-negotiable, my husband wants to go, and he is a good sport with all the places I want to go so I will not deny him that. :) We'll bring snacks.

                                                      Thank you so much for the wine recs. I will look into those.

                                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                        "if you go all the way to the left on the bottom level, or all the way to the right on the top level"

                                                        Currently? Are you sure?

                                                        There's a Caribbean food concession behind the bleachers in Center field if you get stuck.

                                                        1. re: sugartoof

                                                          The Caribbean place is Orlando's BBQ. The Cha-Cha Bowl , jerked meat with black beans and shredded veggies over rice, is pretty good grub. In the Left Field corner of the grandstand is a sausage place that has a nice selection with grilled onions. Not quite as good as a brat in Milwaukee, but pretty decent.

                                                          1. re: KatoK

                                                            I think I might have confused Orando's with the Cha-Cha bowl, now that I think about it. I usually just go up front to see what looks best.

                                                            If the OP gets the sausage, I'd suggest having them go easy on the peppers. The buns don't tend to hold up, and it gets sloppy.

                                                            1. re: KatoK

                                                              The grilled brat with onions is my favorite "whatever the current name is" park item.

                                                        2. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                                          Paxton gate and the pirate store at 826 Valencia for funky. Stop by precita eyes for a mural map. For a briefish tour, go back and forth on clarion alley, head down valencia toward 24th while shopping. Grab a burrito at El faralito and continue along 24th to balmy alley, making sure to look up along the way. Grab humph sloc then continue along 24th until portrero.

                                                          1. re: hyperbowler

                                                            Note that the Pirate store is closed now and I think will remain so for most of the summer.
                                                            I'll second the mural tour. I think it is more interesting than most of the shopping in the area.

                                                            1. re: absc

                                                              Thank you. I loved the murals last time. Basically shopping would be killing time between snacks!

                                                              1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                                                If you walk along Valencia from 16th to 24th, and 24th St. from Mission heading towards SOMA, you'll come across plenty of shops to browse.

                                                          2. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                                            I would strongly recommended the Ferry Building Farmer's market on Thursday or R&G Lounge over Great Eastern. Great Eastern really isn't that great, even by the tourist trap standards of Chinatown (I say this as someone who grew up there). Great Eastern seemed to skyrocket in popularity after Obama's visit during his re-election campaign, but I can assure you that his choice had more to do with a local politico boss and a photo-op for fundraisers than the quality of the food.

                                                            Note also that the Ferry Building farmers' market on Thursday is smaller than the famous Saturday market, but there are still several vendors cooking food out front.

                                                          3. We are back from our trip and I am posting some recaps of our meals. I'll start with SF and then post a bit on our time in Sonoma/Healdsburg.

                                                            Thanks to all who gave feedback on this thread, and thanks in general for all the great posts on other threads, which I followed with great interest in the months and weeks leading up to our trip!! Can't wait to come back again.

                                                            Thursday:
                                                            lunch/dinner- We made a beeline for the Ferry building, where we had a great al fresco lunch at Il Cane Rosso (a repeat from my last trip). We had a fantastic spinach salad and shared 2 sandwiches (brisket and avocado with pesto and lemon) and sipped a Green Flash IPA and strawberry lemonade.
                                                            snack- After taking some photos of the America's Cup boats, we went to the Mission. It was so beautiful out that we wanted to sit outside so we went to the Sycamore for beers. They have a quiet outdoor patio area in the back which we enjoyed for a while.
                                                            dinner #2- Our next stop was Mission Cheese, which was cute, but I was measuring it up to Murray's Cheese Bar and Casellula in NYC, my gold standards for cheese bars, and it didn't quite do it for me. The ordering system is kind of strange (you order at a counter and they bring your order to you) and you have to bus your dishes, which seems sort of out of place with my idea of a wine and cheese bar. We had the California cheese plate, which had three nice (small) selections of cheese, but with sort of generic accoutrements, and the duck rillettes, which were totally delicious.
                                                            dessert- We waited in line for Bi-Rite, which was just as amazing as I remembered. I had the salted caramel, coffee, and cookies and cream, and one was better than the other. A traveling brass band provided the soundtrack on our trip up Valencia.

                                                            Friday:
                                                            breakfast- Back to the Ferry Building for a quick bite. I got yogurt and a big egg, mushroom, and gruyere baguette at Cowgirl while my husband waited for his beloved Blue Bottle coffee. We noshed on it all quickly before heading to Alcatraz.
                                                            lunch- it took us a long time to get to the Mission, and we made a bee line for the nearest Mexican place to avoid a hunger meltown, which ended up being El Metate. The burritos were enormous and great, though my vegetarian one of course paled in comparison to my husband's pork burrito. The chips were still warm and I loved the different salsas they had. Our horchata and mango agua fresca hit the spot.
                                                            snack- We stopped at Humphrey Slocombe for a scoop (served by the most disgruntled seeming ice cream employee I've ever encountered, he was borderline nasty), Secret Breakfast for me and Vietnamese coffee for my husband. Both were good flavor choices but I thought the texture and creaminess just couldn't measure up to Bi-Rite. Glad we tried it, though!
                                                            more snacks- we walked across 24th and then up Valencia, stopping in Dandelion for some delicious chocolate samples. Then we went into Craftsmen and Wolves and got a croissant stack filled with chocolate between the layers, a buttermilk "pot" with cherries and foam (can't quite remember the details), and an amazingly creative sweet/savory Thai scone-- with carrots, coconut, and green curry. We saved most of these for later since we were pretty full, but everything was wonderful.
                                                            drinks- Southern Pacific was our last stop in the Mission. It's a cool place with some outdoor seating, but the beers aren't anything special.
                                                            drinks- We stopped at Fat Angel for drinks, which we totally loved. This was the perfect compromise as I wanted something a little romantic/intimate yet they have a ridiculously long beer list to satisfy my husband. I had a fantastic glass of Semillon from J Rickards in RRV.
                                                            dinner- State Bird, my absolute favorite meal in SF, was next. The meal was chaotic, flavorful, fun. It totally reminded me of Mission Chinese in that there is just a buzz when you enter. Everyone seems excited to be there and the wait staff is really energetic and enthusiastic. Our favorite things were the sweet corn and Mt. Tam pancakes, the pork belly, the raw tuna on the seaweed cracker, and the burrata with garlic bread. I wish I had been with a larger group since we had to throw in the towel before we saw everything, plus we wanted to save room for dessert-- we had the peach leaf rice pudding with blueberries and peaches, which sounds simple, but was really extraordinary, plus a shot of their peanut milk which tasted like rich, liquid peanut butter ice cream The drink selections are not terribly interesting. I would think they'd have some cool cocktails to go along with the food (maybe they did and I missed it?), and my husband wasn't thrilled with the beer selection. But other than that this meal was a 10/10 for us, and considering how much food we ate, not ridiculously expensive either.

                                                            Saturday:
                                                            breakfast- Back to the Ferry building, this time for the market. We browsed for a few hours, sampling fruit and veggies, and buying some for snacks, and we ate way too many baked goods. We had a donut muffin and cheese scone from the bakery in Healdsburg, a pistachio bomboloni from a lady inside the market (amazing), an overpriced but tasty pork bun, and the highlight, perhaps the single BEST thing I ate the ENTIRE vacation was CAW's "Rebel Within" which I had read about but hadn't dreamed of actually getting: a savory muffin with asiago and sausage bits and a soft boiled egg baked inside. This was ridiculously rich and delicious. More Blue Bottle for my husband. Yum!!
                                                            lunch/brunch- after a trip to the tailor (Roberto in the FiDi, who rescued me with same day patching up of my ripped jeans!) we headed to Nopa for brunch at nopa, another one of my favorite meals on our trip. I wish we could have gotten here for dinner, but this was a pretty good substitution. My husband had a delicious beer from Moonlight Brewing and I had strawberry cava. We shared creamy yogurt with crunchy homemade granola, a salad (can't get enough of SF salads) with peaches, nuts, and blue cheese, a homemade bagel with smoked fish, scallion creme fraiche, etc., and a shakshuka like dish. Another very buzzy place, really cute atmosphere and nice and bright interior. Loved it.
                                                            drinks- one beer for my husband at 21st Amendment, which was hectic with Giants fans.
                                                            snacks- at the SF Giants game, we enjoyed our loot from the farmers' market, and my husband got a pretzel, which, predictably, was terrible, but it's his ritual. :)
                                                            dinner- Perbacco, which I had really high expectations for, ended up being only so-so for us. It was extremely hot inside for some reason, which was really uncomfortable, and because it was so loud, it was hard to hear each other across the table. We had 1/2 liter of Barbera, which we enjoyed. Their Piedmont wine list is really great and it's hard to find that around us so we appreciated that. I felt like a complete sucker with my heirloom tomato salad, which I could have made in my kitchen for $2, and they charged I think $14 for it. Delicious, but my husband's vitello tonnato was a better value (though it wasn't faithful to the versions we had in Italy). The pasta, again, really was not a good value. I was not really impressed by my ravioli with ricotta and sweet peas, and my husband's tajarin just didn't measure up to the version we had at Spinasse in Seattle. Unfortunately we only had room for one cheese, though the list is quite impressive. We got an aged goat cheese that was wonderful (Tronchetto di Capra al miele di Castagno: goat's milk cheese brushed with chestnut honey during aging), and it came with honey and nuts. Chamomile panna cotta, which was a nice, light end to our meal, and coffee followed. This meal was really expensive and I didn't enjoy it enough to rationalize the price tag.

                                                            1. I'll try to compress the rest of the trip a bit.
                                                              Sausalito- Fish.- while the food was fresh and tasty, this was another overpriced meal that left me feeling annoyed. It's a pretty setting, though, and was convenient for us.
                                                              Petaluma- Lagunitas- our favorite beer destination on our trip (and there were many). We foolishly got the 16 beer sampler, which we could barely make a dent in, but it was a hoot sitting at picnic tables elbow to elbow with other beer lovers. We got a few snacks too. Definitely a great place for beer lovers to visit, and with live music on a gorgeous day sitting outside, it was great.
                                                              Sonoma- Girl and the Fig- another disappointment. The atmosphere is cute, but the cheese plate was really disappointing for a place that prides themselves so much on their cheese. The portions were tiny, the accompaniments were boring. My BLT came open face, which the menu did NOT indicate (the website says "tartine," which I guess means open face, but the menu at the restaurant did not make this clear), and it was a sloppy mess. My husband enjoyed his burger and fries. We also got a salad that was almost completely inedible due to the overuse of pepper and peppery arugula (and a bus boy came and offered us fresh pepper on top of it). The waitress made excellent wine suggestions. We weren't inspired to get dessert after the rest of the meal.
                                                              Sonoma- El Molino Central- we cancelled our reservation at La Salette to go cheaper/more casual and had a great meal at El Molino Central instead. Casual, order at the counter, then take your drinks outside and wait for your meal. The enchiladas were great and the pork tamal was delicious. Great guac, too.
                                                              Glen Ellen- Yeti- Had a great meal here, they have reasonable lunch specials. I had a vegetarian combo dish for $14 that could have easily fed two moderately hungry people.
                                                              Healdsburg- Russian River Brewery- our favorite beer of the trip, really unique sours (all the -tion beers were awesome, especially supplication), fun atmosphere, very busy place.
                                                              Healdsbur- Oakville Grocery- what a rip off! No crackers available for under $8. They do have a good cheese selection but beware of the prices here.
                                                              Guerneville- Big Bottom Market- had a delicious chocolate chip muffin (they call it a biscuit for some reason) and a cookie, cute place.
                                                              Guerneville- Applewood- 2nd favorite meal of the trip, second only to State Bird. We bought the Travel Zoo voucher for this meal and it really was wonderful. I like that it's laid back but still feels special. It was very busy and I think the kitchen was overwhelmed because we didn't get our appetizers till after we'd been seated for 45 minutes, but everything was fine after that. Highlights were the scallop with Mendo uni, potato puree, and saffron butter; the salmon and steak were both textbook perfectly cooked, and the desserts were extraordinary-- my panna cotta was gorgeous and tasted just like the freshest, sweetest milk, and my husband's peanut butter semi freddo filled profiteroles and chocolate sauce were sinfully good. Loved it!
                                                              Jenner- Cafe Aquatica- excellent lunch to be had here. Excellent, not too heavy clam chowder, sandwiches chock full of crab meat and smoked salmon, and baked goods that are worth a trip alone-- a moist chocolate coconut cake with meringue icing and a double chocolate molasses cookie, wow.

                                                              Wineries- we were on bike so we just tasted and then went back the next day to make some purchases.
                                                              Ravenswood- most laidback tasting, loved the Carignane and went back for it.
                                                              Bartholomew Park- had a great young woman who talked to us a lot about tasting wines and their history, style, etc. Went back for 2 bottles of their sauvignon blanc, though we also enjoyed the chardonnay.
                                                              Gundlach Bundschu- cool place, gorgeous grounds, liked the more hands-off approach of the woman pouring our tastes. Went back for the Tempranillo.
                                                              Benziger- had a really friendly woman pouring our tastes but felt most pressured here to buy at the end. We liked the Gewurztraminer, Muscat, and Cabernet Sauvignon best but ended up with jus tthe Muscat. Didn't have time for the tour, and it seemed pricey too.
                                                              We were so tired of wine tasting by the time we got to Healdsburg that we didn't go to any there. Should've paced ourselves better!

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                                                Oh thank you for checking out Cafe Aquatica. As I mentioned, I forgot to buy the desserts, to my great regret.

                                                                Café Aquatica in Jenner on the Sonoma Coast [Coffee Roasting, Chowder, Scratch Baking]
                                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/902552

                                                                1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                                  We just loved this place. I wish we had bought out the whole bakery. Oh, I forgot we got a pretzel too!

                                                                  1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                                                                    It's a beautiful setting too, hope you had a sunny day.

                                                                    For those reading along, I want to point out that Jenner is an easily accessible point on the Sonoma Coast. Meaning that one doesn't have to drive that far on the twists and turns of Hwy 1 to get there. I take 101 to River Road, then head west toward the ocean. Cafe Aquatica is a short distance north from where River Road intersects with Hwy 1.