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Restaurants & Bars 8

A few questions on SF/Napa/Sonoma

BabyChiChower | Feb 5, 200509:04 PM

First of all, I want to say what a wonderful resource this board has been as I have been planning my Calfornia trip. I have a couple of questions, which I hoping someone can help me out on as my time to start making reservations approaches:

I am planning on visiting in April; Napa for 4 days, Sonoma for 2 days, and San Francisco for 2 days. I am focusing on exploring great food & wine and in having new experiences from those I have gotten in Chicago. I’m very much looking forward to ACTUAL FRESH SEAFOOD and in the depth of Asian cuisine around the Bay area. With that said, I’m really only a baby in terms of being a Chowhound…I’m mostly a cook who is looking to expand my knowledge and tastebuds.

Here’s my itinerary as it exists now:

Day #1: Chez Panisse for dinner on my way from the Oakland airport to Napa.
Day #2-4: Napa; dinners at TFL (assuming I can get in), Terra, and Martini House. Lunch at Tra Vingne one of those days; maybe Bouchon for lunch one day as well? Pick up a picnic from Oakville Grocery for a winery lunch one day.
Day #5-6: Santa Rosa; Dinners at Syrah & Farmhouse Inn. Lunch one day at Café La Haye.
Days #7-9: San Francisco; Dinners at Gary Danko, and ???? (my first question). Lunches at Yank Sing (dim sum), Tadich Grill (cippino), and Saigon Sandwich.

My questions:
1) Where should I have dinner my last night in San Francisco? I know that 3 days/2 nights isn’t nearly enough to plumb the depths of the SF dining scene, but I would love for this meal to be as memorable as I believe Gary Danko will be. I was thinking about Rubicon? Or is that way too touristy? I have read some good things about Betelnut and Golden Turtle; any thoughts on those two?
2) What other chowy-type things would you absolutely recommend in SF? I certainly want to wander around Chinatown one day. I want to do some chocolate hunting (Joseph Schmidt?) Is “Cookin’” in The Haight any fun? Is Polly Ann Ice Cream good or overrated?
3) I am a single woman; how are any of these places with single diners? How is the experience different than dining with another?
4) Is this too much? Am I going to get sensory overload at some point?
5) When making reservations, will it be absolutely necessary to have lunch reservations (remember, I’m a single)? I like to sit at bars and the like when I’m alone but I’m assuming that none of these places will do reservations at their bars?

Thank you very much for your expertise.

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