After the wedding in the Twin Cities, Chris and I set off on our Napa trip, book-ended in the beginning and the end with brief stints in San Francisco. It has almost been two months since our trip (Labor Day week), and I think I have been putting off writing on it, because it was truly an incredible experience.
San Francisco’s climate surprised me! I ended up scurrying into an H&M and grabbing an extra pair of pants. I think bringing my pea coat would have actually been a smart idea. It was confusing though, because we went to a Giants game during the afternoon of Labor Day, and I was sweating in my long sleeves and pants. San Fran gave us quite a range of weather, but overall, I think I will be more prepared for the chill factor next time we visit.
We saw some cool sights, but what I want to focus on here is the food. San Francisco obviously has bottomless opportunities for grand culinary experiences. Since we were there so briefly, we tried out a lot of the more reasonable options, though our last night of the trip was capped with State Bird Provisions – Bon Appetit’s Best New Restaurant of 2012! I will dedicate a separate post to this fun, quirky spot.
Though most of the food we ate was on the cheaper side, I think the quality of it all really shows how great San Fran is. Maybe this quick walk-through will be helpful for any travelers on their way to this fun city!
Myabi Sushi was our first stop late Sunday night when we arrived. We had been through numerous flight delays, and the day had become an unexpected 12+ hour travel extravaganza from Minneapolis. We sadly ended up having to cancel dinner plans with our friends in Palo Alto, and found ourselves wandering San Fran in desperate hunger. A friend had recommended Myabi Sushi in Castro, and though it was a pretty sketchy walk/subway ride from our hotel, we thoroughly enjoyed it once we were there. The place was super authentic, the prices were right, and the server was very sweet and on top of things. After a long day of travel, with McDonald’s reluctantly in my stomach from lunch, quality sushi really hit the spot.
The next morning on Labor Day Monday, we went to a place that I was maybe the most excited for: The Ferry Building! This beautiful structure sits on the bay and houses a gourmet marketplace, along with an incredible farmer’s market—on pretty much every day except for Mondays, unfortunately. Just wandering by the stands/shops in the building was fun though. What to choose? We needed coffee, and the line at Blue Bottle Coffee told us that this was obviously the place to be. I ordered a Café Misto, and Chris chose a Mocha. Our orders took quite a while, but it was worth it in the end. For food, I was very excited to discover that Cowgirl Creamery (which I know well from DC!) was actually based in San Francisco, and that it was in the Ferry Building. Cowgirl Creamery has one location in the world for its cheese-based sandwich shop, Sidekick, so I knew instantly that we had to eat there. We tried two different grilled cheese sandwiches, the Grilled Cheese with Wagon Wheel, Weybridge & Pesto and the Grilled Cheese with Roasted Red Peppers. I was so hungry and so excited that I neglected to take a picture!
Our Monday night meal before we left for Napa was at another very low-key place, per a recommendation from a friend: Taqueria Cancun. A lot of restaurants were closed for Labor Day, we were tired from a day of sight-seeing, weather change, and baseball. We picked up a bottle of Korbel champagne, grabbed takeout from Taqueria Cancun (it really is more of a late-night takeout place), and were perfectly content to relax at our hotel. I actually think about those beef tacos a lot these days. They were simple: mostly spicy, shredded beef adorned with onions and cilantro. No cheese! But they were somehow still absolutely amazing.
On our way from San Francisco to Napa, we stopped at Cafe Del Soul in Mill Valley. This was a stereotypical California lunch place. Organic smoothies, fresh veggie wraps, free range chicken, etc. I think it was smart to get a good, organic cleanse before getting into Napa indulgence. The location of this place is kind of funny, in a suburban-feeling strip mall kind of area, but the place was hopping at lunch time and it was a nice pit stop on the way to wine heaven.
As I mentioned, our finale evening was spent at State Bird Provisions and we could not have been more thrilled about it. I will get to that in the next post!