Tuesday, May 26, 2009


San Francisco was fantastic and here's the recap I promised!

We got into San Francisco early Friday afternoon and so began our fun filled weekend. We dumped our stuff off at the hotel and cabbed over to
Fisherman's Wharf to grab some lunch. Originally we planned on grabbing lunch at Boudin Bakery, but couldn't find it...so we settled on some In-N-Out before heading to...
Oh yes, we quacked. The 90 minute tour was a great nerdy way to get an idea of where everything was in the city. My only complaint is that it was a lot faster and bumpier than I expected. One minute the guy would be pointing out a building or a street and before you could even turn to take a picture, you zoomed on to the next thing!

After a quick nap at the hotel, we met up with some friends for drinks at Varnish Fine Art. Tucked away on a small side street not far from the Westin Market Street, Varnish is a small contemporary art gallery (one level with a lofted area) that does double duty as a bar. The atmosphere is really relaxed and the prices are great (happy hour specials include $4 draught beers and $6 glasses of wine).

We definitely needed dinner after happy hour, so we popped into Osha Thai just around the corner. There were four of us so we decided to go family style and ordered the
Osha Fresh Spring Rolls (shrimp, bean sprouts, lettuce & mint wrapped in fresh rice paper served with homemade dipping sauce with peanut), Spicy Basil with Chicken (chicken stir-fried with basil, chili and red bell pepper), Pad Thai with Crab (crab stir-fried with egg, bean sprouts, tofu and ground peanut, and choice of rice stick noodle, silver noodle or fried wonton), Thai Spicy Pan Fried with Beef (rice noodles stir-fried with tomato, mushroom, bamboo shoots, Chinese broccoli, bell pepper, onion, basil, chili and beef), and the Grilled Sea Bass (glazed with sweet hot mustard, served with steamed Baby Bok Choy and homemade spicy tangy sauce).

The spring rolls were nothing spectacular - it tasted like they were wrapped in rice noodles and not rice paper a la Vietnamese summer rolls. The sea bass was by far the table favorite, especially when eaten with coconut rice!

Saturday morning we woke up bright and early (because I intended on running, but did not) and walked over to the famed
Ferry Building for the Saturday farmer's market. This is an absolute must see if you love food...I really wish I had a reason to buy some of the produce!! We walked over with the intent to grab a bite to eat for breakfast and were a bit overwhelmed with the amount of food stalls and people wandering around. We settled on two stalls for breakfast - Prather Ranch and Primavera.
Jamie was sold on Prather Ranch's
Fried Egg with Cheddar and Whiskey Sage Sausage Breakfast Sandwich. I think he loved it even more when he found the bowl of jalapenos on the table of toppings ;) It was a tasty breakfast sandwich, but I had my sights on something else...
CHILAQUILES! DELICIOUS!! Totally hit the spot :) While we were in line, Jamie saw someone walk away with a plate of these babies...
Tacos al Pastor with a citrus salsa, pineapples and radishes. Of course he had room for a second breakfast ;p Primavera is definitely a must taste spot at the market!

We snacked on these while sitting on benches overlooking the bay and it was the best start to a Saturday. I actually didn't mind that it was probably in the high 50s/low 60s and windy that morning. I loved the atmosphere, the food and the company...clearly all that matters!

Bellies full and happy, we met up with a friend to see some sights...with a brief pit stop for shopping ;) We paid a visit to Jeremy's since there was a crazy sale going on. I was a little overwhelmed when we first got in (we gave ourselves a 30 minute maximum shopping trip) - the first floor has men's and women's discounted designer clothing and shoes and then once you head upstairs, there are racks and tables full of casual tops, jeans and bathing suits! INSANE! I wish I had more time to browse :(

Next up was the Palace of Fine Arts and the Exploratorium! I've wanted to go to the Exploratorium ever since I saw it on an episode of 5Takes on the Travel Channel. I'm a nerd, we know this. I loved the Exploratorium for all the nifty interactive displays; I hated the Exploratorium because of kiddie germs.

After running around, we stopped at Velo Rouge Cafe for some caffeine. BEST COFFEE EVER! I had never heard of Blue Bottle Coffee Co. until I saw a sign at the farmer's market. Turns out, the folks that serve up the coffee have a special way of preparing it - each cup gets its own filter, the beans are freshly ground and water is poured through the filter almost like it's a french press. DEEEELICIOUS coffee. I don't even think it needed the milk I put in it! MUST FIND IT HERE!

We ran through Golden Gate Park all caffeinated checking out the random roaming bison, the botanic garden and managed to stumble across the Bay Area Yo-Yo Championships???

Dinner was at Nettie's Crab Shack in the Marina. Nettie's is definitely not a shack, but they do have crabs, beer and sports on tv...just not the same way us east coasters are used to. The best way to describe this place is a restaurant out of the Pottery Barn catalog. I think it was something about the colors...

Anyway, Jamie and I split 2 stone crab claws (first time I've ever had stone crab) and they were good. The mustard/mayo dipping sauce made them even better :) We were so addicted to the sauce, we asked for an extra ramekin to dip our chips in!

For dinner, Selin ordered off the special menu and got a
Soft Shell Crab Po'boy with greens and chips:
The Po'boy had a really good tangy/spicy/sweet sauce that we couldn't figure out - remoulade??

I went with the
Crab Cakes and a Little Gems & Escarole Caesar Salad with Anchovy Croutons:
The crab cakes were ok...too much filler and not enough crab. They were a little too rich for me and the lemon mayo on top was just way too much. In all fairness though, I do live ridiculously close to Maryland and feel like that has turned me into a crab cake snob.

My salad was again, a bit too rich for me. Normally I a) don't get Ceasar salads and b) always get dressing on the side. I did like the bitter greens with the anchovy croutons though!

Jamie went with the
Cioppino with house cured cod, mussels, clams and crab toast:
I only snagged a taste of the cod and it was pretty tasty. I've never had Cioppino before so I don't really have anything to compare it to...I'll let Jamie comment on that one.

For dessert we walked around to make some room before heading to TuttiMelon for some frozen yogurt! I think Jamie was kinda sad when we first suggested frozen yogurt since he had his heart set on having gelato during this vacation. Lucky for him TuttiMelon also serves gelato!

I passed on the gelato and went for a small cup of the plain with mango, kiwi and yogurt chips:
This yogurt was MUCH better than the last one I had at SweetGreen. This reminded me of the very first time I had frozen yogurt at TangySweet (when I was promptly hooked on the stuff!) and was a perfect end to a day of good eats!

Ok, time for me to head off to bed...I've been awake since 3am west coast time! AGH! I'll post part 2 of our trip tomorrow - icy cold water, surfing, fish tacos, and more food adventures!

1 comment:

Jamie said...

the cioppino was good, but i have never had it with crawfish. usually it is with crab. maybe that was why they put the lump meat on the toast. hindsight 20/20 and all i probably should have mixed the crab meat in the soup and used the toast to dip. I wish it had more broth. overall it was pretty good. not the best, but not so bad that i wanted to throw it out the window.