Have car, will drive down the winding way that is Lombard Street. We started checking things off the must do, touristy things list right away.
We hadn’t eaten since breakfast at the airport in DC, and The Buena Vista Cafe was close by. We knew we wanted one of their historic Irish coffees so we decided to just grab lunch there. The fish and chips were top notch.
Then we headed to the Ferry Building. If you don’t mind crowds, I’d recommend going on a Saturday like we did, there’s a farmers market around the building in addition to the numerous food and shop stalls within the building itself.
This food blogger was powerless to resist the call of Cowgirl Creamery and Pressed Juicery. We of course picked up some Mt. Tam cheese and a few juices. The juices were happily downed immediately, but we managed to save the cheese for a few days and broke it out during the middle leg of our trip in Napa.
Finally time to check into our home away from home for the next few days, we drove across town to the ocean side of the city to our Airbnb. You can see photos of it here. Very comfortable and full of charm, we’d definitely stay here again. Our warm welcome was complete once our host told us she had left us a few local beverages and freshly baked cookies to enjoy.
After a nap and a shower, we headed back downtown to find dinner before our reservation at a speakeasy called The Wilson Bar. Google had some great local recommendations and we started with a cocktail and appetizer at the bar at Farallon.
A little more research led us to our next course at Hogwash, where the tagline is swine + swill. They have 30 taps of craft brews and most of their menu items involve sausage. We shared a plate of pickled vegetables and the All Day sandwich – pork breakfast sausage, maple, ginger, arugula all topped with a fried duck egg.
Our last stop of the evening was The Wilson Bar. After providing the hostess with our name and password, we were led to a bar within a bar. (Bourbon & Branch is the first bar we walked through, you need a password to get into that one too, make a reservation though and they’ll send it right to you.) I don’t have any pictures of this experience because cell phones weren’t allowed, not to mention the mood lighting was set to pretty low. This is a well-themed space though, from the barkeep’s suspenders to the era appropriate music. They offer a cocktail flight, which we would highly recommend, that includes an apertif, cocktail and digestif.
When the last drinks were finally finished (we did not rush here) we made our way back to our little suite and then took a walk the whole two blocks to the beach. We stuck our feet in the chilly Pacific Ocean and deemed our first day on the West Coast a success.
Our ocean side suite also put us in close proximity to a great coastal trail, so we got up extra early on Sunday morning and took ourselves on what ended up being a 45 minute jogging tour down the trail a bit and then back through some of the neighborhood for glimpses of the architecture. We did run up some San Fransisco hills in the process, holy crap!
A food tour through Chinatown was next on our agenda and even though it started at 10 am, I didn’t think I could make it without getting something in my system. We ventured to Chinatown early and found Broadway Cafe. They served a full menu of porridge with “interesting” toppings, but we kept it simple with a few doughnuts, tea and coffee. This is when we met up with Rob’s brothers and parents to begin our full family adventure.
You may recall that I know a think or two about food tours (see here) and I was thoroughly impressed with the Sidewalk Food Tours Chinatown tour. The food was all delicious, the tour guide was engaging and the historical and cultural information was really cool. The tour even included visits to two area temples. At the second temple we visited the caretaker did a divinity stick demonstration and a few of us (myself included) took a turn letting the sticks give us some advice.
After the regularly scheduled tour, we were invited to Vital Tea Leaf for a complimentary tea tasting. I’ll share more about that in another post, lets just say there was a lot of great information.
Our afternoon plans took the six of us to Sausalito for what was going to be a sailboat tour. Well … our captain was out of the country and kind of dropped the ball so what was supposed to be an afternoon on the water turned into a fun tailgate in the marina parking lot. It may have turned out to be a blessing in disguise though, a few of the nice folks we spoke to while trying to figure out where our charter may have been said it was really cold on the water that day and we ended up having a great time catching up over wine and snacks.
We moved our party to Sausalito proper and did a quick walk around before grabbing a drink at the Sausalito Seahorse and finally settling for dinner at Scoma’s Sausalito. The food was great, but the almost panoramic views will make your meal even better.
This was our last night in San Fran for a few days and our last night being so close to the beach, so on our way back to our suite we stopped for a bottle of wine and took advantage of some of the thoughtful amenities of our Airbnb. We bundled up a little bit and took a big towel, our wine and two plastic wine glasses down to the beach for our nightcap. With some favorite 90s tunes playing in the background we excitedly chatted about the next few days of our trip. In the morning, we were headed to Napa.