“I have always been rather better treated in San Francisco than I actually deserved.”
– Mark Twain
Last month, I had the pleasure of joining two friends, Kevin and Jamie, on a journey to San Francisco. Departing from Chicago, we would’ve taken any weather over 40 degrees, but were fortunate to have landed on the first sunny day in weeks. The sunshine continued with us throughout our stay! We were whisked away by friends of friends and treated to the perfect San Francisco weekend.
Saturday, we landed and immediately decided a drink was in order (it was a long flight AND the trip was based around Kevin’s birthday AND it was already 11am!), so we headed to Trou Normand in SoMa. Delicious cocktails, on the pricier side (as if cocktails aren’t always on the pricier side), but worth it. In the afternoon, we got lunch at the farmer’s market at the Ferry Building, and chose some cheese from Cowgirl Creamery and bread from Acme Bread to snack on. We found a bench on a pier and settled in. We were literally sittin’ on a dock by the bay, wastin’ time, but with cheese
Sunday, we brunched at Kitchen Story in Castro – delicious food! Also, bottomless mimosas 😉 Maybe the food wasn’t good? Did we even eat? Was it really called Kitchen Story? Kidding, it was delightful.
After brunch, we met some friends and made our way to Dolores Park. The day was beautiful, sunny and clear, everyone was out (gay pun intended). All you need is a nice day, blanket, and bottle of wine and Dolores Park will change your weekend. Obviously we needed a snack after all the relaxing in the sun, and with our pastry queen Jamie by our side, we knew sweet treats weren’t too far away (Tartine Bakery).
We grabbed a drink at Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant then walked to Lands’ End to see the sunset. Breathtaking. See above. For some reason, perhaps Pinterest, the restaurant flour + water has been ingrained in my mind (also I love Italian food!), so we tried it out for dinner – great food, a little pricey for what we got in my opinion. While waiting for a table, we grabbed a drink at Trick Dog down the street – this place was much more our style with cocktails, appetizers, and unique decor.
Pastry Queen’s Drunk Food Pick: Hot Cookie
Monday, our pastry queen woke up and went out into the big city, risking it all to get us some treats from Mr. Holmes Bakehouse. Yummmmmm. We grabbed some wake up juice from Reveille Coffee and set off for Buena Vista Park (pictured above). The views were UNBELIEVABLE! It was a pretty long and steep hike, so naturally our next step was margaritas and lunch at Nopalito, an organic Mexican restaurant. Pastry queen insisted we get Bi-Rite Creamery ice cream, and we didn’t argue 😉
Jamie and I were in San Francisco a few years back and weren’t able to get tickets to visit Alcatraz, so this time we were set on getting tickets early and planning around the activity. Alcatraz is one of those places that you think is going to be overrun by tourism and guides shouting “Al Capone was here!!”, but it was quite informative and the island was well preserved. Besides the tour, the boat rides to and from the island are so fun! We picked the night tour, so as we headed out the sun was setting(ish), and as we left the moon was reflecting across the water, with the lit up bay bridge in the background, so pretty.
We decided to go course hopping (see an article I wrote about course hopping here), and started with cocktails and appetizers at Hops & Hominy. Next on the list: Rye, where we were each mesmerized as the bartender concocted our drinks. Last (okay not really last, but the last notable place before the trashy well drinks and beer partying began), we stopped by Local Edition, enjoyed some cocktails, and listened to a live jazz band. Okay, we stuck to one course… cocktails and appetizers. The concept still works!!
Pastry Queen’s Drunk Food Pick: Bob’s Donut & Pastry Shop
Tuesday morning we realized we had so much leftover cheese from our excursions Saturday, so we went on a mission (but not in The Mission) to find bread to eat it with. I came across Josey Baker Bread at The Mill and got a loaf of black pepper parmesan. Apparently this bread is quite sought after in the area, and we got the last loaf! It was HEAVENLY! After the bread/cheese meal, we knocked out some of the classics: wandered the Japanese Tea Garden, walked across the Golden Gate Bridge, took a ferry back from Sausalito. Jamie and I fell in love with Sausalito last time we visited, though we were just little babies drinking mocktails… this time around, we stopped by Madrigal Family Winery Tasting Salon & Gallery for wine tastings, a great end to the afternoon! The ferry back dropped us off at Fisherman’s Wharf, so we took this opportunity to climb the stairs to Coit Tower (it was closed, check hours beforehand).
Before the dinner of a lifetime, we went to Whitechapel for a drink – the cocktails were delicious, but the service wasn’t great considering it was a Tuesday night and it was incredibly hot (most of SF doesn’t have air conditioning, I understand). For the GRAND FINALE of our SF trip, we made a reservation for The Progress. Here’s the thing with family style menus – I always end up paying $70 for a fourth of a salad because I’m vegetarian. I have never felt so included as I did at The Progress. The waitress let me choose MY OWN four dishes to get in small portions!! That way the others at the table could get their dead animals and stuff. It was phenomenal, I’m rarely able to enjoy four different courses, so this meal was quite the treat!
Pastry Queen’s Last Drunk Food Pick: Nizario’s Pizza (I know, right?!)
Check out Jamie’s FourSquare list for other recommendations, or see the ones mentioned in this post below.