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San Francisco 4 day, 3 night trip - Wine is important!

r
RTH71 Jul 6, 2014 01:50 PM

Hi all. Thank you in advance for your suggestions. I feel like the more research I do, the less decisive about our food options we become.

We will have a smattering of breakfasts (we like brunch and love coffee), 4 lunches, and three dinners. We will be staying at the St. Regis, but are happy to travel around the city to get to the food! There are no price constraints.

I love wine, so wine lists are important component to our restaurant decisions.

There are three definites: we are eating at Crenn, we will get charcuterie from Porcellino, grab some wine from K&L and have a picnic, and we will do blue bottle coffee.

That leaves 3 lunches, two dinners, and maybe a breakfast and a brunch. I need to eliminate three dinner options, one lunch option, and add a breakfast option.

Dinners:

Benu
Quince
AQ
Saison
State Bird Provisions

Lunch:

Spruce
Boulevard
Akikos (probably a definite, we love sushi)
La Taqueria

Brunch:

Foreign Cinema
Anywhere else?

Also, would love a suggestion for a place to get great cocktails. Thank you!

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  1. g
    goldangl95 RE: RTH71 Jul 6, 2014 02:07 PM

    Bring your own wine to State Bird.

    Check out Trou Normand if you like cocktails and Charcuterie. It is pricey and you may want to make res.

    1. steve h. RE: RTH71 Jul 6, 2014 02:36 PM

      I like wine, too.

      Thinking a little outside the box, you might want to consider lunch at the bar at the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant. Cherry pick the best the Plaza has to offer (Acme bread, cheeses from the Cow Girls, salumi from Boccalone, etc.) and bring it over to the Wine Merchant. Select a bottle or two from inventory or go by the glass at the bar. They encourage you to bring your own food. As a bonus, the people watching is pretty good. Staff selects the music and I'm ok with that.

      1 Reply
      1. re: steve h.
        Ruth Lafler RE: steve h. Jul 7, 2014 09:17 PM

        That would be my suggestion as well.

      2. Robert Lauriston RE: RTH71 Jul 6, 2014 02:59 PM

        If wine is important, make room for St. Vincent, and probably pick Saison (co-owned by the sommelier) over the other Michelin-tarred restaurants.

        My other favorite wine lists are at Trou Normand, Bar Tartine, and Aquitaine.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Robert Lauriston
          The Dive RE: Robert Lauriston Jul 7, 2014 09:38 AM

          I second St. Vincent.

        2. j
          JonDough RE: RTH71 Jul 7, 2014 09:17 AM

          If you like Italian wine look into Acquerello.

          2 Replies
          1. re: JonDough
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            goldangl95 RE: JonDough Jul 7, 2014 09:29 AM

            I will note that Quince has a solid Italian wine portfolio as well.

            1. re: goldangl95
              Robert Lauriston RE: goldangl95 Jul 7, 2014 09:38 AM

              Acquerello's in a class by itself as regards breadth and depth of the most age-worthy Italian wines. They''d been building their cellar for 20 years before Quince hired a sommelier.

              http://www.acquerello.com/wine_list/w...

          2. CarrieWas218 RE: RTH71 Jul 7, 2014 05:05 PM

            What do you like in cocktails? I recently did a cocktail trawl that included Trou Nourmand and I found them too alcohol-forward for my tastes. Alternately, the second part of my trawl included The Cavalier which I adored (as well as the food).

            Other spots for cocktails include Smuggler's Cove for unforgettable rum drinks, Bourbon & Branch (must have reservations), Alembic (go early to avoid the crowd) and Trick Dog.

            1. g
              goldangl95 RE: RTH71 Jul 7, 2014 05:49 PM

              As I look at this list more, I'd nix Spruce & Boulevard for lunch. Considering what you're doing for dinner each night, it'd be a shame to not check out Burmese, Thai, Indian etc.

              One place that would be convenient for y'all would be Kin Khao for Thai (though they are new to lunch - so there may be a bit of a service issue). Thai with a sour-er and funkier flavor profile than most U.S. Thai restaurants and a lot of unique dishes.

              7 Replies
              1. re: goldangl95
                r
                RTH71 RE: goldangl95 Jul 7, 2014 06:36 PM

                Thank you! What do you think about killing Spruce and going to Wayfarer for lunch? I think we will definitely add Kin Khao.

                We added Maruya for dinner one night and I think that we will do Trou Normande followed by a cocktail bar one night.

                Thank you all for your help, this is fantastic.

                Re: cocktails, I am a sucker for a gin drink. My typical is an Aviation or a French 75. But, I have been known to drink a Blood & Sand on occasion, too. The Cavalier looks awesome, I can never pass up a good Sling!

                1. re: RTH71
                  grayelf RE: RTH71 Jul 7, 2014 08:19 PM

                  "I'm a sucker for a gin drink" -- me too, RTH. And I had a fine one at The Fly Trap in April on our last visit to SFBA. Apparently it's been around a while: http://blogs.sfweekly.com/foodie/2009...

                  Not the best gin beverage I had this year -- that honour belongs to the Cue Lazarus at Coopers Hall in Portland OR http://coopershall.com/assets/content... -- but interesting and refreshing with the right balance of sweet and savoury.

                  If you love coffee, you should check out some of the local purveyors. I am particularly fond of Blue Bottle Mint Plaza (addicting New Orleans iced cold brew, very good espresso, various interesting brewing methods, cool café) which is two long and not super awesome blocks down Mission from your hotel. Expect a line up.

                  Four Barrel you could try at Machine (I've not been yet; reasonably close to your hotel but a rotten walk alas), Sightglass at Hookers (again walkable-ish but not the greatest route), Ritual are also heavy hitters in the third wave coffee race with their own shops too.

                  I like the coffee and the food at tiny farm:cafe but that is about 12 blocks from your hotel through not the most salutary area. Closer is Coffee Bar at Montgomery and Sutter (google maps says it is a 7 minute walk, and nicer) where the coffee is decent but the pastries, particularly the kouign amann, from Starter, are rather superb. No seating here. We tend to travel out of the immediate area for best results on coffee/breaky/brunch.

                  1. re: RTH71
                    Ruth Lafler RE: RTH71 Jul 7, 2014 09:23 PM

                    If you like spirits as well as wine, then it might be fun to do a tasting St George Spirits in Alameda ( walking distance from the Alameda ferry terminal). They currently have two different gins on their tasting menu.

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler
                      grayelf RE: Ruth Lafler Jul 7, 2014 09:27 PM

                      Great suggestion, Ruth -- that was a fun afternoon though I was sad to hear that they are no longer producing the Hangar 1 voddies. I still have my bottle of Buddha's Hand.

                      1. re: grayelf
                        Ruth Lafler RE: grayelf Jul 7, 2014 10:03 PM

                        Very only in the Bay Area, too. How many places can you combine a ferry ride with a visit to an artisan distillery (and no drinking and driving).

                        1. re: Ruth Lafler
                          grayelf RE: Ruth Lafler Jul 7, 2014 10:14 PM

                          And isn't there an aircraft carrier thereabouts that you can tour as well? Yup, here it is: http://www.uss-hornet.org/

                          SFBA is a great place for touring cool ocean going vessels cf Balclutha and others at the Maritime National Historical Park, SS Jeremiah O'Brien Liberty Ship and the Pampanito, if subs are more your thing. Just don't eat (much of) the food near Fisherman's Wharf ;-).

                    2. re: RTH71
                      g
                      goldangl95 RE: RTH71 Jul 8, 2014 08:01 AM

                      It depends what other stuff you are doing. Spruce is out of the way unless you were planning other activities for that area. Wayfare is super busy during lunch for summer intern/associate lunches, networking casual lunches etc Wayfare's food is heftier (fried, red meat) and more NYC reminiscent in feel than Spruce.

                      Bar Tartine is as out of the way as Spruce and serves a very SF/CA lunch - look up times on their website. It's called their sandwich shop but it he sandwiches are very different as are the other options and very SF in feel.

                      Speaking of Gin - I really like the Ginger Rogers at Absinthe. Absinthe has fallen off the rader slightly, and I haven't been in a bit, but they did have a solid food and drinks program.

                  2. d
                    degustingdiary RE: RTH71 Jul 8, 2014 08:14 AM

                    Not sure why Crenn is a definite when your other dinner options--benu, Quince, Saison and State Bird--are likely to deliver far better dining experiences.

                    From the sommelier's decision to serve us a warm bottle of Prosecco to the inconsistently seasoned food, I found very little to like about Atelier Crenn. Here's a short write-up of my experience there: http://degustingdiary.wordpress.com/2...

                    And photos from the meal: https://www.flickr.com/photos/8276502...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: degustingdiary
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                      goldangl95 RE: degustingdiary Jul 8, 2014 08:33 AM

                      Crenn is not my personal favorite of the type. But to omit the beauty of the plating leads me to believe you either had extreme bad luck or were so put off by the atmosphere and warm prosecco that the meal was completely tainted. (Note I also find the room cramped and tense). Of the full tasting menu and the smaller menu, I had dishes that did not work, dishes that did, a very memorable piece of venison rolled in pepper, and some of the most amazing dessert I have ever had.

                      Also state bird is not up to the Crenn standards - it's a casual restaurant making interesting ever revolving small plates. It is not trying to ensure the precision, reliable quality, and innovation that Crenn, Benu, and Quince et al are trying for.

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