I have also posted this on the SF board to get the recommendations for the city but thought it useful to also post that bit here as well as asking for advice in other areas, the SF options hopefully position the other options so we get variety.
We are over in California in early April for our first non-city holiday: five nights in SF to start with then up to Napa/Sonoma, across to Yosemite, then back up the coast through Paso Robles and Monterey. I have been studying the boards lots of useful info, however I would like some advice on whether we have the best balance for our days in town. We are Australian, live in Hong Kong, and have lived in Paris - so Asian and European food isn't really what we want.
Our goal is to discover Mexican food (as we have only had bad to average in the past), get to experience some great modern californian food, and wallow in burger heaven.
Here are the current plans, grateful for any help for the non SF bit particular around Yosemite and places to stop whilst travelling.
Friday – arrive from Hong Kong at 22:00 head into town and aim for a late dinner at Zumi Café, Nopa, or Comstock Saloon. We are staying at the Union Street Inn so hopefully not too far to travel.
Saturday – our B&B provides breakfast and after that head to the farmers market to browse and probably grab some lunch there. That evening head out to Nopalito and also try some bars around the area or head to the Mission district for drinks. May swop this for a more classic burger/steak meal if the Friday dinner option doesn’t work so may substitute Nopi or Zuni Café.
Sunday – head over to Alcatraz to tick off the tourist sights, for lunch we will probably head to a a good coffee place – I have Ritual Roasters, Bi-Rite Creamery, Four Barrels, and Dynamo Donut in my sights: any other recommendations? Later that afternoon head to Oakland for a Mexican crawl around Fruitvale, thanks to Ruth I have Elote fruit cart; La Torta Loca, Marisocos La Costa, El Gordo Taco Truck, Mi Pueblo Food Centre, El Ojo Agua Taco Truck and El Novillo Taco Truck to track down. And thanks to Robert I will aim for beers at The Trappist, Pacific Coast Brewing and Beer Revolution in downtown Oakland.
Monday – mooch around town with no target for lunch, probably aim for another coffee place. We will then head over to Berkley to wander around and have some drinks at Cesar, Trumper Pils and/or Bison Brewery. Dinner at Chez Panisse, then if we are up for it a nightcap at Hotsy Totsy Club.
Tuesday to Thursday - we head out to Sonoma and Napa staying in Glenn Ellen. Clearly I haven’t done well on choosing a hotel in a top food area but the hotel looks better value than other towns. Looks like Girl + the Fig and maybe the Fig Café and Wine Bar could be two of our meals. With the other meals being El Molino and/or Juanita Juanita. Have I got the best from the area around Glenn Ellen, it does seem there are better places but we don’t want to travel far in the evenings. During the day I will take a list of other places recommended in Napa etc and we will make decisions on the fly.
Friday – we head to Yosemite to stay at the Ahwahnee Hotel for a night, I suspect the hotel restaurant is the best bet. On the way I though of stopping in Oakdale as there are reports of a good Mexican. Is this too much of a diversion or are there better bets?
Saturday to Monday we are staying at Fish Camp in a B&B and the options for food don’t seem great so decent rather than great is fine. Any ideas or recommendations, in or around town?
Tuesday - head down to Paso Robles, aim to get there early afternoon and sample some wines. Are their any logical stops on the way, Fresno maybe, or should we plan on an In and Out Burger? I was planning to eat at Thomas Hill Organics but it looks like it closes Tuesday. The next best option would appear to be Artisan. Is this a good choice or are there other options?
Wednesday – a morning at Hearst Castle then head up the coast through Big Sur to stay in Monterrey, or Carmel, hopefully passing Sierra Mar at Post Ranch Inn, Nepenthe or Big Sur Bakery at lunchtime. We plan on going to the Aquarium first thing Thursday, and so thought Monterey was a better bet. Trying to choose between Passion Fish and 1833. Any others are we missing anything better? Probably try to grab a coffee and pastry at Parker Lusseau for breakfast.
Thursday – head back up the coast to Los Gatos for our final blow out at Manresa, I thought a lunch stop in Santa Cruz could work. Any thoughts for there or a better destination – the more scenic the better.
Friday – fly back to Hong Kong at lunchtime.