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SF Trip Report

lvnvflyer | Sep 1, 200508:33 PM

We were in SF and Napa last Wednesday thru Sunday and had some great meals. Many thanks to this board which I researched for ideas before departing. Below is a description of some of what we ate:
Wednesday night: Went to the Mandarin Restaurant at Ghiradhelli Square, mostly because we were in the area and had a group. It was a pretty room with nice views; we had a five person group so ordered a variety of entrees. The black bean shrimp and the green beans with pork stick out as the best received dishes. It was a bit pricy, not surprising given the location and touristy nature of the area.
Thursday: We were in Napa all day. We stopped at four wineries: Sinskey, Cliff Lede/S. Anderson, Silver Oak, and Duckhorn. They were all interesting and because it was a weekday, the crowds were not overwhelming. Sinskey had a particularly nice garden with lots of vegetables and flowers.
We had lunch at Tra Vigne, and sadly, it was a disappointment. The room and the physical facility is lovely, but the food and service were just so/so. The heirloom tomato salad had probably five different varieties, but only two were ripe. If the tomato isn't ripe, this salad isn't very good. The ravioli salad, which one person ordered for lunch, featured very cute minature raviolis....unfortunately, they were tasteless. The half order of butternut squash-leek pasta was very small, and not very tasty. On the whole, for us, the menu was more interesting than the execution.
Thursday evening we had dinner at Wabbie's Coastal Cuisine in the Russian Hill neighborhood, a recommendation from our hotel. It was very straightforward seafood, including a two person crab boil that included lobster, crab, clams, mussels and shrimp, which part of our group had. We also had the ahi tuna entree and some oysters, as well as the crab cakes. Everything was well prepared, and the room is pleasant. Service was good as well. The only disruptive note was a group of about four or five motorcycles that idled at very high speed outside the restaurant for about five minutes, making a lot of noise and filling the interior with gas fumes. Prices seemed pretty moderate.
Friday we went to the Slanted Door at the Ferry Building. Some of our group is very fond of Vietnamese food whilst others had never tried it. Aside from the very long wait, it was well received by everyone. We had pho (of course), which although less flavorful than I've had at more casual places, was still very tasty; we also had a terrific green papaya salad and a shrimp noodle entree that was very good also.
Friday night and Saturday involved meals connected with the event we were attending in SF. Saturday evening, we did have a light dinner at the bar at Postrio. They had a heirloom tomato gazpacho with smoked lobster that was just delicious. They ran out (I heard a man at a neighboring table being denied) and I can see why. It was a definite highlight. They also had a very good peach soup on the dessert menu.
Sunday, on our way to the airport, we stopped at Zen Penisula in Millbrae for dim sum. It was terrific. Although there was a wait, it wasn't too long. Everything was fresh and very flavorful, and the items you could order off the check off menu were interesting and came out quickly. There were lots of carts and trays coming by constantly with shu mai, noodles, pork buns, and soups. Thanks to this Board for that recommendation!

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