My wife and I recently spent five days in the Bay Area. Here are some highlights:
• Dim sum at Yank Sing (Rincon) has become our "goto" place after we touch down at SFO and BART to our hotel. Our m.o.: We walk there and de-compress after the flight over soup dumplings and so much more. Comfortable shoes.
• Drinks at the bar at Bix.
• Porchetta at Roli Roti (Saturday morning at the Ferry Plaza).
• Lunch at M.Y. China. I expected good soup dumplings, killer noodles, etc. I was pleasantly surprised with the house cocktails. This is a new place (opening week when we were there for lunch) but I predict good things. I had a chance to chat with both the owner and the manager. The place is in good hands. Prices are large as are the portions. Bring a friend and share, all will be good.
• Pasta at Barbacco. It's always good to sit at the counter and nibble on the chicken liver bruschetta, the maccheroni chitarra with the pork ragu and the killer orecchiette with broccoli rabe and fennel sausage. Service is pleasant, wine selection is good. The temptation is to order way too much food.
• The lobby bar at the Mandarin Oriental. It's where you go Friday night after you put your name on the waiting list for Barbacco because you forgot to make reservations. A calm oasis before heading back to Barbacco.
• RN 74. We were walking to our Sunday sports bar when I saw this place on Mission. It looked interesting from the outside . We popped over late Sunday night with no reservation and enjoyed good food, good wine, excellent service. I wasn't aware of the Michael Mina connection at the time. Rather, it just seemed like a place we would enjoy and it paid off. I discovered the train motif and all was bliss. I asked the wine guy to operate the vintage railroad arrival/departure "clicker." Very cool. Go for the escargot, Spanish-style octopus, nettle risotto, wines, etc. but stay for the interior design. This was found gold.
• The bar at the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchants, at off hours, is one of the most pleasant seats in town. Source your own food, or not. Source your own wine, or not. Good people/good music.
• Brunch at Epic Roast House can be pretty good. A bottle of bubbly, half a dozen properly shucked oysters, dungeness crab eggs benedict, roast beef hash, oh my. It's a well-dressed crowd on Sunday. I like that.