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Restaurants & Bars 12

report on San Fran and Napa Valley (long)

East Point Cook | Oct 20, 200403:45 PM

Thank you to everyone for your advice on my meal plan for last weekend's visit from Atlanta. Here's some of what I experienced.
Upon arrival we dropped in to Zuni for a quick lunch.
While my wife's Caesar Salad was great, my burger was nothing special (lacking flavor really). That was disappointing.
Our first evening in San Fran we were taken to Picaro in the Mission for tapas (I had no part in this decision). This place was mediocre at best. An exciting parade of black rats on the back terrace made for interesting conversation.
Before we left for Napa the next day, we bought some sandwiches from a little deli (near Bush and Mason), and I can't remember the name. Great variety and very fresh. Delicious lunch on the go.
Our first evening in Yountville we dined at Bouchon. Despite the noise, I did thoroughly enjoy the experience. My braised pork belly (braised in its own rendered fat) with lentils and pearl onions was memorable, as was my wife's gnocchi with autumn vegetables. The sommelier was helpful and suggested a delicious Pinot Noir (can't remember the name) for everyone at the table. I wouldn't have thought of that and was pleasantly surprised.
Saturday evening we ate at Pilar in Napa. You all must try this place. It was superb. Tasty soups, porcini crostini and other tasty apps (including sauteed sea scallops with mashed and foie gras), veal chops cooked and flavored perfectly, and friendly service. It's a little crowded in there too, but it didn't bother us. Once again we tried a Pinot Noir for everyone's different dishes (Morgan this time), and it worked again. Other Pinots I tried and liked over the weekend were Etude and Melville, both small vineyards. (Great wine store on Hayes St. in San Fran (300 block) by the way.)
Sunday lunch at the French Laundry. This experience was extraordinary, exquisite in every aspect. The best part was at the end when we got the bill, my sister's boss had surprised her and picked up the tab. Wow!
Monday evening was our last night back in San Francisco, and our meal at Incanto was superb.
I had the rutabega and apple pasta dish, followed by the braised pork with brussel sprouts and other seasonal veggies. I miss the flavors already. Other choices at the table: Beet salad, radicchio salad, and tagliatelle with pork ragu, all remarkable. The italian sommelier was friendly and affirmed our decision for a $39 bottle (we got two) of Dolcetto D'Alba from Piedmont.

Thank you once again for your excellent advice on this post. From what I've noticed across the country, the San Fran chowhound site is by far the most interesting and busy, way more interesting than in Atlanta.
We look forward to our next visit.

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