I'm turning 50 on Friday (woo hoo, sort of)! My husband and I just booked a last-minute trip to San Francisco to celebrate. We arrive at noon on Thurs and leave late on Sun evening. We've lived in Del Mar (north of San Diego) for the past 7 years but before that we lived in NYC for most of our lives and miss the city and its wonderful food choices...although we also feel very grateful for and continue to be astonished at the fabulous year-round produce and wonderful ingredients that we can enjoy in CA. We're SO excited to be able to spend time in San Francisco, which (with the exception of a few quick business trips) we haven't been able to do until now.
I've spent an hour checking out this board and still can't figure out what to do/where to go so I'm hoping you'll be kind enough to help us figure it out. Here are the basics of our trip and what we like:
We're staying at the Renaissance Stanford Court hotel at 905 California Street and will not have a car but will take public transportation and/or taxis. We love unique, special dining experiences (who doesn't?!) and we're not really into "fine dining" or generally fancy places although if a place is seriously "best in class" then we'd love to go. We do not usually care for French cuisine (although lots of our favorites are French-influenced). No steakhouses or Mexican, please...although we like it, we get enough in San Diego. We like fresh seafood, Japanese, Asian and fresh/local ingredients in general, and lots of different tastes. Anything interesting or unique. My husband likes spicy stuff. We prefer a place that's not super noisy or trendy but don't want anything too stuffy. Hmmm...asking a lot, aren't we?
We're also hoping to go to Napa, Sonoma and/or Anderson Valley for a day and might do that on our last day (Sun)...is it possible to go to a great restaurant, eat something wonderful and visit a nice winery or two before getting back to SFO for our 8:15 flight? Is that realistic, and are there drivers or specific tours/places that would be good for that? This is my first stop for that question, and maybe I need to research that elsewhere?
Also, what is the "best" place to celebrate a special birthday in San Francisco or surrounding area, without regard to price?
Thank you in advance for any advice you can provide, and I apologize in advance that this request is so varied and broad.