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3 Nights honeymoon (1 San Fran/2 Yountville). Second night is French Laundry, should our one San Fran dinner be Nopa, Flour + Water, Delfina, Cotogna or?? Some general itinerary guidance pretty please!

So my fiance and I are getting married in about a month down in Mexico. We are flying up Monday evening and headed back to New York Thursday afternoon. He's a chef & I'm a somm, so needless to say meals are a big part. Additionally, we've been contemplating a move to SF to we also want to try and get a feel for things as well. Here's the plan:

Monday night we're staying at the St Regis (thank you Starwood points) and want to go out for one great dinner. Because of travel times we won't be able to get to dinner until 9pm at the earliest. We want to go somewhere great with a solid wine list and not too stuffy. We were gifted with reservations at French Laundry the next night so we are NOT looking for fine dining. Nopa, Flour + Water, Delfina or Cotogna were the spots we had narrowed it down to, but, we're open!

Tuesday morning we were going to drive to Tartine Bakery, wander around the Mission a bit and hit the road. We're planning to take the scenic route and stop at Muir Woods on the way up to Napa. Get to the hotel, have a massage and then head to our 7:30 French Laundry reservation!

Wednesday is all wineries. We haven't booked our visits yet, narrowing down where we want to go. We're not sure about lunch or dinner for this night yet? Gott's for lunch? Redd for dinner? We're totally open!

Thursday we'll drive back down. Plan is to go through San Francisco again and hit the farmers market on the way to the airport.

I know you all get one million requests for help with this stuff. If you had any suggestions or guidance it would be SO thoroughly appreciated!!

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  1. Cotogna is a solid choice for Cal-Italian but the wine list probably doesn't have much you can't get easily at home.

    Some of the most interesting cooking is at Bar Tartine and they have some great hard-to-find local wines on their list.

    Don't waste a meal at Gott's.

    The Thursday farmers market at Ferry Plaza is very small. You might want to go to the one at Marin Civic Center instead. When's your flight? You don't want to get caught in rush-hour traffic.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Just to clarify, the Thursday Farmers' market is small when it comes to produce vendors, but has a good selection of prepared food vendors, including the storied Roli Roti porchetta. Might be good for lunch on the way to the airport, and maybe pick up some airplane eats inside the building.

      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        Here's a list:

        http://www.cuesa.org/markets/thursday

        The Marin market doesn't publish a list, but there are around 100 vendors. Chefs go there from SF and the East Bay to shop. It's one of the best markets in the area, up there with the Ferry Plaza on Saturday and Berkeley on Tuesday and Saturday.

        http://www.agriculturalinstitute.org/...

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          I like the Marin Farmers' Market. I've shopped there a lot this year.

          One minor disappointment is that Roli Roti there, unlike the Ferry Plaza, will not slice the porchetta and build a sandwich for you.

      2. re: Robert Lauriston

        Good to know about the farmer's market... while we'd love to oogle produce, it'd be great to just get a general eye on the market overall. Our flight is at 3pm, we were thinking we'd leave Napa around 10am...

        Would you do Cotogna over Nopa? Should Locanda be on the list of maybe's? We definitely want something cool, upbeat and chill (to balance out French Laundry the next night...).

        I went to Bar Tartine years ago and had a unbelievable meal, though to be honest; the menu as it stands now just isn't particularly appealing.

        1. re: jdream

          For contrast with TFL you might prefer the more bar-like atmospheres at Nopa or Flour+Water. The latter definitely feels to me more like a bar than a restaurant, though the pasta's as good as anywhere around here.

          Locanda's good but for Cal-Italian I prefer Incanto, Cotogna, and Barbacco, and I'll probably eat at Delfina before I make it back to Locanda.

      3. I think Gott's for lunch will be a waste - and the day after TFL, you won't want a heavy burger. Instead, consider wandering Oxbow market and enjoy light noshing like oysters from Hogg Island, a Duck taco from C Casa, a bigné from Ca Momi or a caramel from Annette's, and then a light wine tasting with cheese from the Oxbow Cheese & Wine Merchant.

        Redd is probably one of the more interesting dinners you can have in the valley, but much may depend on which wineries you end up. Many will suggest Pride and Smith Madrone which will put you at the north end of the valley, so it may be easier to pick a St. Helena eatery like Goose & Gander or - my preference - continue towards Calistoga for SolBar or JoLe.

        1. where are the wineries you're visiting, Napa Valley (yountville, st. helena, silverado trail, calistoga et. al.) or Sonoma County (Alexander Valley, Dry Creek, Russian River et. al.) ?

          1 Reply
          1. re: moto

            As a Napa Valley resident, I concur. Figure 45 minutes just to drive from Napa to Calistoga with no stops. Choose your wineries and hit restaurants enroute or on the way back. If you're looking for a burger, check out Farmstead in St. Helena -- they raise their own beef and veggies. It's topped with arugula and grated Fiscalini cheddar. Definitely skip Gott's.

          2. Good to know about Gott's. That is firmly checked off the list. Agreed that day after TFL we'll want something lighter. We haven't figured out specific vineyards yet-- but we'll likely be staying in the Napa area. I've heard wonderful things about Sonoma, but given our very limited time we're looking to spend as little time as possible in transit.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jdream

              You need to take a good look at a winery map of Napa.

              When you say "Napa area," are you thinking Napa CITY or the Napa VALLEY?

              Here is a good representation of what the valley looks like:
              http://napavalleywinecountrytour.com/...

              The reason we are prodding about choosing your wineries is that you may want to select several that are near St. Helena and then a restaurant "up valley." There are fewer wineries near downtown Napa.