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Five Days, Four Nights -- Advice Please! (long)

Miss Needle | Jun 9, 200611:58 AM

Hello SF Hounds,

We are from NYC, and planning a trip to your glorious city July 1 – July 5. We will be staying at the Westin St. Francis for three nights, and renting a car for one night in St. Helena. It is incredibly difficult to narrow our choices down in terms of deciding where to eat. We’ve already made reservations for dinner at the following places:

Gary Danko
Fleur de Lys
Michael Mina

It took a lot of research to get it down to these four. The reason why we picked Danko, Fleur and Mina, aside from their stellar reputation, is that they seem to offer the greatest range of tastings. Fleur and Danko has the five course menu (10 tastings in total). Mina has the three course menu trio concept going (18 tastings in total)! We definitely love to try as many dishes as we can. However, we both suffer from having a normal-sized appetite (restaurant portions in America are just way too large). In the Napa Valley, we picked Terra because we couldn’t get into French Laundry. Besides, New York has Per Se (which I’ve still been trying to get into). Any must-try dishes?

With dinners out of the way, we’re looking for lunch places. While it is heartbreaking not to be able to try Chez Panisse (it is only open for dinner and closed for July 4), how is the Café for lunch? Am I doing a Chowhound disservice by not going to the Zuni? Slanted Door also seems big on this board.

Even though it is not crab season, my boyfriend really loves crabs. He loves them simply steamed with no adornment. We were thinking of Swan Oyster Depot. Is Tadich also an option?

In addition, we plan on having dim sum one morning. The consensus seems to be Ton Kiang. Koi Palace in Daly City seems to be great, but may be a bit too far for us. We are trying to maximize our short stay in SF. We are definitely adventurous – love tripe, etc. Are not so keen with the deep-fried stuff. I’ve also had this dish once at dim sum in New York but have had problems finding it again. It was a small stew of potatoes, tripe and intestines. Can I find this elusive dish here? Do you have any other recommendations for dim sum?

In Napa, we are doing the wine train vista dome lunch -- more for the experience than the food. Has anybody done it?

One last thing – can anybody recommend a place that’s open July 4 for either dinner or lunch? Is Aziza open? Mission District places? La Tacqueria?

Thanks for any input and advice you may have!

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