San Francisco Journals

Two Weeks in San Francisco

A September 2008 trip to San Francisco by NiceGinna

Golden Gate Bridge Photo, San Francisco, California More Photos
Quote: Our annual visit to San Francisco this year was in September, a beautiful month to see the City by the Bay. We did some touristy things, saw friends and family, and ate like royalty in this restaurant city.
Jenner, CA Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
This year we stayed for a week in the Sonoma Valley. A friend recommended a ride out to Jenner, where the Russian River meets the Pacific Ocean. It's a beautiful drive, out through Guerneville with forests of redwood trees. Then we arrive in the charming town of Jenner where there are a couple of interesting looking restaurants and great views. People are kayaking and canoeing on the Russian River; birds are nesting; and sea lions are basking in the sun. A lovely spot!
The ferry to Sausalito Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
Each year when we visit San Francisco, we like to pick a sunny day and take the ferry from the Ferry Building to Sausalito. The views from the ferry of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge and back to the city are beautiful. In Sausalito we enjoy looking in all the shops, although things are pretty expensive in this touristy town. This year we bought sandwiches from Venice Deli and just sat along the water and had a picnic, always an economical option. Other times we have eaten at the Scoma's branch there or one of the other inviting places. Then back on the ferry for the trip back to SF. Makes for a lovely outing.

Perbacco

Restaurant | "What a Great Lunch we Had!"

Perbacco Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
We were out to celebrate my daughter's birthday at lunchtime and found this great place in downtown San Francisco. The entry is a bit noisy, but with an attractive bar. We were seated in the back near the kitchen, where it was a bit quieter. Nice white table linens, nice atmosphere. It was a place Andrea was eager to try and she was right.We started with one order of Vitello Tonnato, a favorite appetizer, which we all shared. The thinly sliced veal was topped with the tuna sauce. I wouldn't say it was the best vitello tonnato I've ever had, but it was good.For main courses David ordered the short ribs which came with delicious mashed potatoes and green beans. He thought ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 23, 2009

Perbacco
230 California St
San Francisco, California 94111
(415) 955-0663

RNM Restaurant

Restaurant | "A Birthday Celebration"

Quote:
We were celebrating my daughter's 40th birthday, so of course went to a place that she and her partner really like, RNM. It's a small, cozy place, but very modern in feel. There's a large-screen TV at the bar, which we felt detracted from the overall feel, but otherwise a nice place with a "living room atmosphere". The great part is the menu, as should be the case in any restaurant. There are about ten "small plates" - we chose four for starters for the six of us. One of the highlights was one that my daughter always orders, the grilled romaine with St. Agur cheese, apples, and hazlenuts. It was terrific. But the heirloom tomatoes with a cornmeal crust and layered with fresh mozzarella, was te...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 27, 2009

RNM Restaurant
598 Haight Street
San Francisco, California 94117
(415) 551-7900

Strybing Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

Attraction | "A Lovely Day in the Park"

Strybing Arboretum & Botanical Gardens Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
We were actually heading for Golden Gate Park to go to the new Science Museum, but it was such a lovely day, we thought we shouldn't spend the time inside. We took the N-Judah line to 9th Avenue and Irving. The park is just a block from there and the entrance to the Botanical Gardens is just inside the entrance to the Park. We got there about 1 PM on a weekday and we happy to find that there was a free walking tour starting at 1:30. We waited for that and very much enjoyed our guide, Mr. Wilson, who obviously loves the park. It was about a 1 1/2 hour walk, through the Mediterranean area, the South African area, the rain forest, and so on. I'm sure each tour is different. A great way to spend a ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 27, 2009

Strybing Arboretum & Botanical Gardens
At the corner of Ninth Avenue at Lincoln Way
San Francisco, California 94122
+1 415 661 1316

Osteria Stellina

Restaurant | "New Restaurant in the Point Reyes National Seashore"

Osteria Stellina Photo, Point Reyes National Seashore, California
Quote:
We were out for a beautiful day, exploring Point Reyes with its dramatic scenery and distinctive wildlife and interesting history. For lunch we headed to Point Reyes Station, an old and charming town in the area. We'd heard about the new restaurant by chef Christian Caialazzo. The restaurant features local and organic ingredients in its imaginative menu, based on Southern Italian cuisine. The atmosphere is rather industrial with no table linens, which also increases the noise level. Service is slowish, but friendly and informed.We ordered a lovely bottle of pinot bianco from the Friuli region to accompany our food. Friends ordered an oyster pizza that was beautiful to look at with i...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 29, 2009

Osteria Stellina
11285 Highway 1
Point Reyes National Seashore, California 94956
(415) 663-9988

Point Reyes National Seashore

Attraction | "Views and History and Wildlife Combined"

Point Reyes National Seashore Photo, Point Reyes National Seashore, California
Quote:
We spent a day exploring the wild Point Reyes Seashore with its great views. Sir Francis Drake landed here in 1579, in the beautiful inlet named for him. And you can see the distinctive Tule elk, wandering over the hillsides like ghosts, with their pale color standing out against the green of the hills. These animals were once in danger of extinction but now have become almost too numerous. After a walk along the sea, we investigated the Pierce Farms, built in the late 1800's. The complex includes a cow barn, a place to churn the butter, a large farmhouse, and even a school. In the 1890's, the butter was well known and sold to the very best restaurants and gourmet food shops in San Francisco....Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 1, 2009

Point Reyes National Seashore
1 Bear Valley Road
Point Reyes Station, California 94956
(415) 464-5100

Home Exchange

Hotel | "Our Third Year in a Charming Home Exchange in SF"

View of SF out to Alcatraz Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
We love to do home exchanges and have done them in many countries. We do this through www.homelink-usa.com and have found it to be a great way to travel. Imagine what a hotel in SF would cost for two plus weeks! Instead, we were in a private apartment on Taylor Street in exclusive Nob Hill, with a bedroom, living room, dining room, and stocked kitchen so that we could have breakfast and other casual meals at home, another terrific savings.This was our third straight year staying in this particular home, while the owner was in our place in Nice, France. My daughter lives in SF, so it's great to have a place to stay near her, but not "on top" of her. Two weeks is too long to stay with ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 27, 2008

Quote:
Having a car in San Francisco is not a necessity. It might even be a nuisance and definitely an unneeded expense. The bus system is easy to master; there are maps available at the tourist office and other places around town, showing where they go. The ride costs $1.50 but only $.50 for Seniors; you are given a paper receipt torn at the hour that the ticket lapses, so you can make transfers for a couple of hours. The subway system is also easy, whether the BART or the Metro system. Along Market Street, one of the main streets in town, there are trolley cars reminiscent of earlier days; these are the same price as the buses and may be used with a transfer; they will take you from the Ferry Build...Read More

The Buena Vista Cafe

Restaurant | "An Annual Event - A Visit to the BV"

The Buena Vista Cafe Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
One of our favorite places to have a casual breakfast (served all day) or lunch is the BV, a San Francisco institution since 1916, located at the end of the Powell and Hyde Street Cable Car. In 1952 they introduced their "Irish Coffee" which is a must although good beers and wines are available. The hamburgers are great and the crab salad is delicious and there are many other tempting items. The atmosphere is busy and noisy (but not too), very festive.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 27, 2008

The Buena Vista Cafe
2765 Hyde Street
San Francisco, California 94109
(415) 474-5044

De Young Museum

Attraction | "Visiting the De Young is Something We Do Each Year"

De Young Museum Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
The fairly new De Young Museum is one of the great museums in Golden Gate Park. They have a nice outdoors sculpture museum and then displays inside. The last year we were there was a special exhibit of Chihuly glass work, which we've seen in several different venues (Kew Gardens, Chicago Botanical Gardens, etc) and always enjoy. Another year there was an exhibit of wonderful quilts made by a group of descendants of slaves. EAch year there is something different and something worth seeing.

There is also a terrific tower attached to the museum with outstanding views of the city and the park.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 7, 2009

De Young Museum
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, Golden Gate Park.
San Francisco, California 94102
(415) 750-3600

Poggio

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant | "A Fairly Good Meal at this "In" Restaurant"

Quote:
We arrived at Poggio, in picturesque Sausalito, expecting a really wonderful meal at this heavily recommended Northern Italian restaurant with Executive Chef Peter McNee. The entrance/desk area is crowded, with little room for people waiting for a table, and chaotic. We eventually were led to our reserved table, which seemed a bit crowded too. The waitperson explained about the specials for the evening, stressing the first course of mozzarella with various "fillers"; this was confusing as we thought each was a separate plate but found, when we ordered it, that it was a plate of one serving of each described dish. They were too highly oiled, which tended to cover the taste of the individual ingredi...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 27, 2008

Poggio
777 Bridgeway
San Francisco, California 94965
+1 415 332 7771

The Girl and The Fig

Restaurant | "A Delightful Lunch in the Wine Country"

The Girl and The Fig Photo, Sonoma, Sonoma County
Quote:
The town of Sonoma, in the beautiful wine country, is charming, with its Mission San Francisco Solano built in 1823, and interesting shops. But we were headed to the restaurant, The Girl and The Fig, for a wonderful lunch. (There's a branch, The Fig Cafe & Winebar in Glen Ellen). We ordered a bottle of rose, a lovely accompaniment to a light lunch. I had a wonderful salad of arugula with chevre cheese, toasted pecans, and figs dressed with a port vinaigrette; a friend had the duck confit with blue cheese and a sherry vinaigrette which he loved. David had delicious grilled salmon while another friend had a light omelet. For dessert we shared a chocolate hazlenut cake while our friends shared...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 27, 2008

The Girl and The Fig
110 West Spain Street
Sonoma, California 95476
707-938-3634

Scoma's Restaurant

Restaurant | "Our Annual Lunch at Scoma's"

Scoma's Restaurant Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
Each year we meet up with DAvid's cousins who live in Sacramento; they come down to SF for lunch and always choose to go to Scoma's, a touristy place, way overpriced, but always good. The seafood - you can still get abalone, but for a very steep price - is wonderful and we all generally stay with that. I had a crab stuffed ravioli, a large portion, in a butter sauce. One cousin had the Crab Louis, a huge salad that even he could hardly finish. David and one cousin had the snapper, which was delicious; David took half back to our place for a supper! The service is old-world, with Italian spoken by all. Each main course is around $30!

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 27, 2008

Scoma's Restaurant
Pier 47 on Al Scoma Way
San Francisco, California 94133
(415) 771-4383

Picco Restaurant

Restaurant | "Picco is Just a Ferry Ride Away!"

Picco Restaurant Photo, Larkspur, California
Quote:
The small town of Larkspur, just a short ferry ride from San Francisco, is list in the National Register of Historic Places. The turn-of-the-century shops will intice you. But we were there for pizza at Picco. We sat outside where there were heaters keeping us very comfortable. For six of us we ordered 4 pizzas: the Margarita from Naples, with mozzarella, tomato, and basil which represent the Italian flag; a definitely non-standard one with shrimp and pancetta that was yummy; one with sausage and pepperoni which I found too spicy but everyone else loved; and the special of the evening, a lamb meatball pizza. The crust on these pizzas is amazingly light and wonderful. With a couple of bottles ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 27, 2008

Picco Restaurant
320 Magnolia Ave.
Larkspur 94939
(415) 924-0300

Sonoma County

Attraction | "A Day in the Wine Country"

St. Francis Winery Photo, Sonoma County, California
Quote:
We spent a couple of days with friends up in Santa Rosa and one day, while there, we visited wineries and had lunch in Sonoma. One of our favorite wineries was the St. Francis Winery. Our pourer, Philippe Gresset (French), started us off with a delicious Chardonnay from Sonoma County (2007); I don't particularly like California chardonnays, but this one was more in the French style and was outstanding. When Philippe learned that we lived in Nice, France, he went "off list", serving us a few wines that would not normally be served to tasters. I was interested in trying their rose, which we drink a lot of in Nice, but was disappointed in theirs. But when I told him I enjoyed the wines of Gigondas h...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 27, 2008

Ferry Building Marketplace

Attraction | "Ferry Building - a Fun Place to Shop or Eat"

Ferry Building Marketplace Photo, San Francisco, California
Quote:
I love the Ferry Building, which went through a major preservation several years ago. From here you can catch a ferry to Sausalito or Larkspur, but it's a destination itself for its twice-weekly produce market on Tuesdays and Saturdays or the inviting shops and restaurants inside. There's a wonderful wine shop - just pick up something to eat at another of the shops and bring it to the wine shop where you can sample the wines and enjoy your food. There's a great olive oil shop where I buy Stonehouse Blood Orange Olive Oil which I use for making shrimp scampi to add another layer of citrus. There's a Sur La Table for all your kitchen needs; there's a butcher, a bread shop, bakeries, and several re...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 27, 2008

Ferry Building Marketplace
1 Sausalito, San Francisco Ferry Building
San Francisco, California 94111
(415) 983-8030

San Francisco Symphony

Attraction | "An Evening with Michael Tilson Thomas"

Quote:
Michael Tilson Thomas is the famous conductor of the San Francisco Symphony. We were lucky enough to get tickets for a gala evening in celebration of the 90th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein's birth. The orchestra started with music from "West Side Story" and then brought out a soprano and a baritone to do a couple of numbers from a less well-known work, "A Quiet Place". The second half included "Meditation No. 1 from Mass" with Peter Wyrick on the cello. On the lighter side there were songs from "On the Town", "Trouble In Tahiti", "West Side Story" ("Gee, Officer Krupke"), and others. A terrific evening.Of course, the program is different all the time. But it seemed that tickets we...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 27, 2008

San Francisco Symphony
Davies Symphony Hall - 201 Van Ness Ave.
San Francisco 94102

Ferrari-Carano Vineyards & Winery

Attraction | "Ferrari-Carano is One of the Prettiest Wineries"

Ferrari-Carano Vineyards & Winery Photo, Sonoma County, California
Quote:
We visited several wineries in this less well-known (than Napa) wine country valley but our favorite was Ferrari-Carano with its beautiful Villa Fiore and lovely gardens. You would be forgiven for dreaming that you are in Italy! The wines offered are Zins and Sauvignon Blanc and they are decent; we particularly enjoyed a Fume Blanc and the Moscato dessert wine. The climate here, affected by both coastal and inland influences, is ideal for growing grapes. There is a comfortable wine-tasting room and you are able to visit the cellars where the more expensive wines are poured. The gift shop has nice items.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 27, 2008

Ferrari-Carano Vineyards & Winery
8761 Dry Creek Road
Sonoma County, California 95448
(800) 831-0381