Thanks for the tips before we left. So, here's where we ate (as I sit at my computer on a Weds morning in DC snacking on the last of my Ferry Plaza peaches and goodies from Tartine)
Weds 30: Flew in from DC - lunch at Swan Oyster Depot: delightful, glad I got there again before they take off for their annual vacation. chowder, bread, shrimp, and anchor steam, polished off by a sundae at Ghiaredelli - not a bad start to the trip.
Dinner at Zuni - just okay to be honest. The polenta was great. The "most famous ceasar" in California was really overdressed - tons of dressing, the chicken was tasty - agreed with earlier poster, it could have used less bread and more salad, but the chicken was tasty. Dessert was the best part, fig tart with lavender ice cream. Plus a celebrity sighting! Ina and Jeffrey Garten two tables over.
Thurs 1: Breakfast at Mama's - awesome - ommlette with spinach and jack, the sis had lemon blueberry pancakes - touristy, but so delicious.
Spent the day walking around noshing - a bite at La Cumbre, snacks at Tartine (I would fly cross country again just for those orange chocolate croissants!) Simple dinner at Nob Hill Cafe - good pastas but nothing special.
Fri 2: Napa and Sonoma trip - picked up breakfast at the Ferry Plaza market - acme bread, some Straus yogurt and headed up to wine country. Lots of good noshing. Wish we had made it to Bouchon for lunch - just got cookies at the bakery. The oreo cookies are great! Dinner was at this nice outdoor jazz festival in Sausalito we stumbled on to. Grilled tri-tip sandwiches and corn. The tomatoes for the sandwiches were killer. The festival was a blast - every Friday through the summer.
Sat 3: Drive down the coast. Breakfast at Hayes at the Market - eggs and sourdough, lunch at Duarte's in Pescadaro - grilled red snapper and ollalliberry pie. great piece of fish.
Sun 4: Breakfast at the Market, spent the day walking around, and dinner at Slanted Door. spring rolls, corn and crab soup, and chicken clay pot and stir-fried chicken with walnuts, raisins, ginko nuts, and other bits - interesting. Dessert was just okay. The space is gorgeous. We sat at the bar and chatted with the bartender and a newly former Slanted Door server. She lamented that it moved out of the Mission. True, it looked like a much more tourist oriented crowd, but the space again was incredible, and the food worth the price I think. Only quibble, my dish was listed on the menu as chicken breast, and I got lots of thigh meat. I don't care, thigh is tastier really, but there should be truth in advertising, right?
Mon 5: Berkeley - nothing special for lunch, salad and sandwich at Cafe Intermezzo - lots of sprouts, but dinner was a Chez Panisse Cafe - wow, best meal of the trip. To quote the server from Slanted Door, "Everything at Chez Panisse is so F@#$'n clean!" Very simple - salad of rocket and celery root with a dressing of mustard and creme fraice (wow! anybody have a recipe for something like this?) dinner of a grilled chicken thigh with corn pudding and garlicky beans (haricot verts). Dessert was baked peach with vanilla ice cream. The peach had a subtle trick on the pit, an almond flavored cookie was baked into the middle of the peach. The mixed berry sauce was amazing as well. The best meal of the trip.
Tues 6: Had to go home :-( One more stop at Mama's for the special omelette - baby shrimp and avocado - the sis had pancakes with ollaliberry syrup. After that, I quick trip to the Ferry Market and Tartine for goodies for the plane. Again, I can't say enough about their orange chocolate croissants - Better than any in DC for sure, and many I had through a romp in Paris in December.