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May 19, 2014 07:26 AM

Please Critique My San Francisco Itinerary

Hello fellow hounds.

My travel companion and I will be visiting the bay area from FL during the week of aug 31 2014 to sept 6 2014. We'll be staying in the Westin Union Square. Based on my research on this board using the search feature, I've put together a list of restaurants that I believe will work. We're both in our mid 30s. She's never been to the bay area and I've been once 8 years ago for one day for business but that doesn't count. This will be our third trip to the state in the last 1.5 to 2 years as we've been to San Diego and LA each for a week at a time on separate trips.

I'm hoping to get your opinions on the itinerary with suggested changes. Monday night dinner is the one area that we're still up in the air about. We'll be coming back from hiking in Big Sur and I originally planned for us to stop in Monterey and have dinner on the way back to San Fran. However, I wasn't sure how rough of a drive, terrain wise the trip from Monterey to San Fran is. Can someone provide some insight in regards to that drive? The itinerary is as follows:

Day Activity Start End
Sunday Aug 31
Take BART to Powell St Station 12:47pm 1:17pm
Check-In at the hotel 1:32pm 2:00pm
Leave for Lunch 2:10pm
Lunch - Lers Rors Thai 2:30pm 3:30pm
Alcatraz Tour 4:20pm 8:45pm
Return to Hotel 9:30pm 9:50pm

Monday Sept 1
Leave to Pick-up Rental from SFO 7:20am
Pick-up Rental 8:00am
Drive to Big Sur - JBurns State Pk 8:15am 11:15am
Hike 11:20am 3:20pm
Drive to 17 Mile Drive 3:30pm 4:40pm
Drive 17 Mile Drive 4:40pm 5:40pm
Drive back to San Francisco 5:40pm 7:50pm
Arrive at the Hotel 7:50pm
Leave for Dinner 9:15pm
Dinner- The Slanted Door 9:30pm 10:30pm
Hotel 11:00pm

Tuesday Sept 2
Breakfast - Dottie's Café 7:30am 8:30am
Walk back to the hotel 8:35am 8:50am
Drive to Rutherford Hill Winery 9:40am 11:00am
Winery Tour - Rutherford Hill 11:30am 1:00pm
Lunch- Farmstead 1:20pm 2:20pm
Drive to San Francisco 2:25pm 3:45pm
Walk around Chinatown 5:00pm 6:55pm
Dinner - Z&Y Chinese 7:00pm 8:00pm
Hotel 8:30pm

Wednesday Sept 3
Return Rental Car 6:30am 8:00am
Take BART to Powell St Station 8:45am 9:15am
Breakfast - Dottie's Café 9:30am 10:30am
Cable Car to Hyde & Lombard Sts 10:42am 11:00am
Take Pics at Lombard St switch-bk 11:05am 11:20am
Fisherman's Wharf 11:20am 11:30am
Take pics between piers 43 & 45 11:32am 11:40am
Walk to Ghirardeli Square 11:40am 12:00pm
Walk around Ghirardeli Square 12:03pm 12:13pm
Kara's Cupcakes 12:18pm 12:30pm
Lunch - Blue Barn Gourmet 1:00pm 2:00pm
Golden Gate Bridge 2:25pm
Take Pics at the Golden Gate 2:35pm 3:35pm
Dinner - Nopa 7:30pm 8:30pm
Taxi to Hotel

Thursday Sept 4
Breakfast – Can’t Decide 7:30am 8:30am
Hotel 8:45am 11:30am
Alamo Square - The Painted Ladies11:55am 12:25pm
Lunch - Zuni Café 1:05pm 2:05pm
Dinner- La Ciccia 7:30pm 8:30pm

Friday Sept 5
Breakfast – Can’t Decide 7:30am 8:30am
Take BART to Berkeley 10:00am 10:24am
Walk around Cal-Berkeley 10:35am 12:35pm
Take BART to 19th St BART St 12:45pm 12:55pm
Lunch - Stag's Lunchette 1:00pm 2:00pm
Dinner - Gitane 8:00pm 9:00pm

Saturday Sept 7
Take BART to Airport 6:55am

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    1. You may want to check Dottie's website. It shows they're closed Tuesday and Wednesday and have moved to 6th between Market and Mission. Why not have dim sum breakfast?

      3 Replies
      1. re: c oliver

        I'll have to revisit Dottie's website. I'm more of a traditional eggs and bacon breakfast type of guy and i love french toast.

        1. re: playboy

          My favorite breakfast during my vacation in SF was Brenda's French Soul Food.

          My hotel was in Union Square and I walked. Although it is a bit of a hike

          652 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94102, United States
          (415) 345-8100

          1. re: tatuaje68

            Both Dottie's and Brenda's are superb choices for breakfast, but Dottie's offers a more varied menu than Brenda's, so if it were me, I would go to Dottie's twice (not necessarily on consecutive mornings) and Brenda's once (be careful -the beignets are so good they are addictive). Also, you may encounter a wait in line at both spots so you may need to budget a bit more time than you have indicated in your schedule.

      2. Kara's Cupcakes and Blue Barn both seem pretty meh to me but people do line up. Otherwise all seems solid.

        1. Disappointing that Chowhound doesn't even allow actual reports about restaurant closures by the health department. These are not rumors but actual news stories.

          I'm going back to review sites which are more concerned about people's health than the restaurants reputation.

          2 Replies
          1. re: RBCal

            That policy makes sense to me. Health department issues are usually resolved quickly and up-to-date reports are available online for those who care. Posts here stick around forever.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              frankly I'd rather hit a place newly re-opened as they are most likely on their best behavior at that point in time.

          2. Did Cafe La Presse on Grant at Bush close? They website doesn't work. I had a quite good breakfast there about a year ago.

            5 Replies
              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Thanks. @OP, I can't give you a link but I enjoyed it quite well and IIRC they may have had French toast.

                1. re: c oliver

                  I've seen people mention Cafe La Presse here, but I'd need to see the menu before adding to the itinerary.

                  1. re: playboy

                    Not the adventuresome sort, eh? :) If it's not up before you leave, why not just walk by it and check it out.

                    Here it is from menupages and it's how I remember it.


                    On your Big Sur etc. you're going to have rush hour traffic going and returning. I think once when I was still in my 20s a friend and I went to Carmel and back in a day and it was a monstrously long day. I can't even imagine what you're planning. That could easily be a long weekend trip.

                    You're only allowing an hour for dinner but you don't have anything else scheduled after that.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      his big sur day is labor day
                      not rush hour, but holiday return to the city traffic