I am in the middle of my first trip to SF. Did a lot of reading of prior Chowhound posts - there is a lot of great information here - thanks! Drove from the airport to La Taquieria on Mission at 25th. Great burritos - sure started the trip right. Authentic place in a real neighborhood - but I was already struck by the number of boarded up buildings, bums on the street and grafitti on buildings. I grew up in Detroit and visit NY and Chicago frequently, and those things mean bad things in those cities. Anyway, the food was great and we were looking forward to more great food experiences.
Went to Zuni Cafe Friday night. Beautiful space - just lovely. The oysters may be the best I have ever had, with a bottle of crisp, dry Billecart Salmon Brut Champagne. Even my friend who does not like oysters loved these, and I had to order more. The famous chicken with bread salad was less inspiring. I have her cookbook and use her salting technique with great success with smoked chickens I make. But this chicken was not hot, was a bit underdone (perhaps that is the style in SF?), and the salad seemed greasy. I was really disappointed in the Caesar Salad! There seems to be a debate here whether the salad is made tableside - it was not ever done tableside while I was there. No anchovies, and I watched it being made for other tables in the kitchen and it could have been a chain restaurant for all the effort. Just put some romaine leaves in a ss bowl, some pre-made dressing, mix by hand, dump on plate, grate some Parm. Service was sparse and non-attentive. We sat in the little room upstairs,then down a short flight of stairs - above the kithen I guess. Water not refilled, not asked how we liked dinner until bones were on the plate. I really am expecting great things from the places I spend my money in SF, and Zuni did not come through. I am disappointed by that. I have reservations at Chez Panisse and Gary Danko and hope to be overwhelmed by one or both of them.
Went to Ferry Building Saturday morning. Great weather helped. It is a beautiful building. Had Hog Island oyster outside - they are wonderful! Ate a sandwich from a little faux Italian place next to Frog Island, ok. Didn't know Hayes Street Grill was cooking full breakfast stuff outside next to Hog Island or I would have eaten there. The fleur du sel chocolates at Recchiuti Confections are to die for!! Had my first dungeness crab at the seafood place across from Hog Island in the building -great view and great food. That place should be packed in the summer, but they will have to come up with a system for seating at the bar. Right now you just stand behind somebody until they get tired of you breathing on them and leave! It is a great place, but I agree with some of you who say it will just be for tourists. Cow Girl, Scharfenberger and others are found other places - no need to go to Ferry for that.
More to come - going to breakfast at Mama's right now. And thanks again to all of you for all of your great posts.