Tuesday, April 1, 2008

San Francisco Weekend

To celebrate my birthday Van and I headed north to San Francisco. We stayed at the Serrano Hotel in the Theater District. On my actual birthday, we had dinner at Masa's on Nob Hill.
A photo of us just before we left for dinner:
It was a great meal. We wanted to get the six-course, but we also really wanted the Foie Gras, which was only offered with the nine course meal. Apparently, this is quite common, because when we told the waiter that we both wanted the six-course meal with the wine-pairings he asked if we wanted to add the Foie Gras to that for an extra charge. So that's what we did.

The meal started with a "compliments of the chef" Fava Bean soup that was extremely flavorful, but after a few sips became a little too salty. Van thought it was salty right away, but I think I have a greater affection for salt than him. The soup was served with a delicious little warm cheese-puff. The second course we received was also not on the menu. It was some sort of Japanese squid with sweet rice, I think flavored with pomegranate juice, but I'm not sure. These were whole squid, which I have never eaten before, so it took some guts. They were good though.

The rest of the courses, were all very good. I loved the "composition of scallops" -

green and white asparagus, mild chorizo,
sausalito spring watercress, lemon vinaigrette

I also really liked the Paine Farms Squab. For the most part, I loved all of the wine pairings, with the exception of an overly oaked Chardonnay and the late-harvest wine that went with the foie gras. After our dessert course they sent us home with an assortment of chocolates and candies made on-site that we enjoyed the next evening.

The next morning we got up early to go to Dottie's. Our hotel was very close to this restaurant, that had been touted as the best breakfast in San Francisco. We had heard about the lines (from Yelp and from the people who worked at our hotel), so we hoped we could make it there before the lines got too long. Luckily, we got right in. I had the blueberry pancakes, and Van had some combination of stuff that came with eggs, bacon and french toast. While the food was very good and the service was excellent, I don't know if it would have been worth waiting in line an hour for. San Francisco must have some pretty bad breakfast places if people feel that this place is so amazing. I compare it to our local breakfast place, although it definitely had a lot more charm.

Next we headed off to the Golden Gate Bridge to replace the pictures we had taken of the Golden Gate bridge on our trip to San Francisco about 6 years prior. Van was less familiar with the features of his digital camera then and "formatted" all our pictures of that trip. We parked down at Crissy Field, and then walked up to the bridge and then a 1/3 of the way across.

We then headed to the Haight-Ashbury area. While there, we met a very helpful homeless man who told us where all the famous people had lived in that area. When we got home we found out he was wrong on 2/3, but it was fun to believe it at the time. We also stopped to have a crepe at a crepe shop in the area. It seems like the "in" thing now to open a crepe shop. There were 4 or 5 on this street. I'm so glad crepe shops are finally catching on somewhere!!

For dinner that night we went to Chapeau! bistro. It was a nice French restaurant that served a 3 course early bird special that we thought would work perfectly before the play we had tickets to in the Theater district. A picture of us before we left for dinner:

The dinner was wonderful but it ended up running much longer than we anticipated, so we just barely made it to the play in time.

The next morning we went to Alcatraz. I've been to San Francisco many times, but have never been there. I really enjoyed the free audio tour you get when you go, but mostly I just loved the views of the city.

After Alcatraz, we had lunch on Pier 39, (fish & chips & chowder of course) and headed home.

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