Two months from today, I will be wedded to the finest woman to ever walk this Earth. But before I do so, some close friends and I will take a weekend to celebrate the close of one chapter of my life and the beginning of another.
Our tastes, and especially my tastes, are not for the likes of naked strangers (out: stripclubs) nor games of chance (out: Vegas). Nay, our brand of sinful hedonism revolves around great food, fine drink, and perhaps even a good smoke. Therefore my goal is to construct a weekend full of dining and drinking in the fair lands of San Francisco and the Wine Country. Can you help?
Dinner: where should we have dinner? While I'm down with mega-meat, I'm not one for American-style steakhouses. Something more along the lines of a French bistro--with good steak frites but also more creative dishes--would be a better fit. Plus I have a bad memory of attending a bachelor party at Morton's and paying an obscene sum for a small steak, baked potato, and two glasses of grocery store quality Cabernet. Furthermore, one vital participant is a vegetarian (who doesn't mind at all being amid meat eating but will not eat it himself) and I want him to have a good meal too. It'll need to be someplace where it's okay to get a bit loud and rowdy (but not stumbling drunk and groping waitresses rowdy). SF or Wine Country. The group should be fairly small, so there should be no need for private room, for dinner or anything else below.
Breakfast: Where to have a hearty, simple breakfast?Several of my friends have a long standing tradition, which I get to participate in whenever in Los Angeles, of having breakfast every Sunday morning at a 50's-themed cafe. The food was never very good, but it was satisfying, there was lots of it, the waitresses were friendly, there was a long counter where we could all sit, and the coffee flowed endlessly. Any recommendations on a place to recreate that diner-style breakfast in SF or the Wine Country? Original Joe's?
Wine Tasting: Which wineries should I visit? (Note: I've had this in mind long before "Sideways" ever came along.) My primary red wine is Pinot Noir, not only because I love it but because it matches better with the foods I tend to cook or order in restaurants. But I want to spend this weekend getting reacquainted with some bigger California wines like Cabernet and Zinfandel. I don't want fruit/oak/ethanol bombs. I want to taste well-contructed, elegant wines made from these great grapes. Napa or Somona Counties.
After-Dinner Drinks: Where can gentlemen such as ourselves enjoy fine after-dinner drinks, spirited conversation, and perhaps live music? Nice selections of scotches, brandies, tequilas, and the other fine spirits of the world are a plus. Again, it'll need to be places where it's okay to be loud, but not a dance/pick-up/strip club.
Lastly, is there any public place in this region where one can enjoy a cigar and a whiskey?