Hi, y'all. I'm a visiting New York City-based Chowhound who just wanted to drop you a note of thanks for helping to make a recent trip to San Francisco especially memorable.
The SF Tip Sheet, Jim Leff's Bay Area Chowhounding report, and posts to this very board added up to some great dining experiences for us this past weekend.
It was my wife's 40th birthday, and we took a long weekend in San Francisco as her present. Got a terrific hotel deal on the Internet (Hotel Juliana on Bush Street, on the cusp of Nob Hill and an easy walk to Chinatown and Union Square) and headed out to see the sights and eat some great meals.
I really don't think we had a bad meal the entire time we were there (well, there was this one touristy joint in North Beach that I went into against my better judgment, but let's let that go.)
Particular highlights/standouts include:
-- Tacos at Taqueria La Cumbre in the Mission District. I told the friendly counter ladies that we had travelled all the way from New York to eat tacos at their place, and they outdid themselves--had I paced myself a bit better I could have happily eaten there all afternoon. (We also had a celebrity sighting - fellow New Yorker and foodie Calvin Trillin was eating at the next table.)
-- Seafood at Scoma's in Sausalito (after a fabulous morning tramping around Muir Woods.) It was admittedly a little pricey, but along with killer views over the Bay we had amazing saffron-y Dungeness crab bisque, and I had an exquisite grilled (very rare, as requested) ahi sandwich...
Memo to self: first, win the Lotto. Then look for a house in Sausalito...
-- Cantonese food at the R&G Lounge. The salt-and-pepper crab was spectacular, as was the small crock of hot-and-sour soup I started out with (authentically hot *and* sour, easily the best rendition of this soup I've ever eaten.) Other standouts were a clay-pot potage of scallops and shrimp, and a stewed-beef-and-vermicelli in a potato bird's nest.
-- The special "birthday dinner" was at Chez Panisse Cafe (upstairs), and it was amazing in every respect. New garlic pizzetta, breathtakingly fresh salad greens, braised organic free-range chicken, ginger cake with Meyer lemon creme. I was also pleasantly surprised at how reasonably priced their wine list was, and the utter care with which everything (even the small dish of olives that came to the table) had been selected.
The best food experience of all, however, may have been the Farmer's Market at the Ferry Building on Saturday morning. As we tasted the samples of fresh fruit (and bought peaches, apricots, and cherries to eat back at the hotel), and as I wolfed down a late breakfast from the food stalls (scrambled eggs, slab bacon and fresh tomatoes on a baguette), my wife and I started whispering conspiratorially to each other about picking up stakes and moving. You are so lucky to have such a wonderful resource - the Greenmarkets in NYC don't hold a candle to what you've got.
We're already planning our next trip.