Friday, July 22, 2005

Tina and I are going to be in San Francisco for work next week. I have never been before. It will be for business, but we might be able to sneak in a few things... anyone have a "must try" they would like to share?

This is how I find out about some of the coolest stuff in cities... like the secret burger joint in NYC or the secret swing in Toronto.

Piglet is very excited to have his picture taken in front of the Golden Gate Bridge.


  1. You MUST go to a place in Oakland(right over thr bridge) called East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse. I guarantee that you will lose you mind there!!

    It is a place where people donate materials suitable for crafting, overrruns of paper goods from stationary stores, all sorts of binders and containers, really cool tins(tea, mints, coffeee), vintage fabric and laces, books galore, calenders that you can cut up for whatever, old national geographics, doll parts, all sorts of groovy stuff!

    Here is the link:

    East Bay Depot For Creative Reuse

  2. You cannot miss the Ferry Market Building. You'll find Miette cakes, Cowgirl Creamery cheeses and Acme breads there. There's a Lush at Union Square, one of my personal favorites is Michaelangelo's on Columbus at Union. They have really good cioppino. Also Brothers on Geary at 4th Avenue is really good. And you know, there's a Cheesecake Factory right around the corner from Lush and Jamba Juices everywhere. Have fun!

  3. The four-floored fabric store, Britex.

  4. I highly recommend Ti Couz (or it might be spelled Ti Cous) creperie in the Mission District. Tasty, tasty, crepes.

  5. has lots of cool info - was going to mine it for suggestions but they're down at the mo'...

  6. I second Britex. It's fabric Mecca. And if you're staying downtown (likely), it's close.

    My favorite super thin crust, no plates or utensils pizza place is Arinell on Valencia and 16th (The Mission).

    I <3 Giant Robot, Kid Robot, and American Apparel, all in Upper Haight.

    (Ferry Building closes early, make sure you check before you go, Miette's not open on Mondays and it's not worth going if Miette ain't open.)

  7. For sushi...Sushi Bistro at 6th and Balboa. It's a neighborhood place, and, as of last year, largely unknown.

  8. I always took family and friends to Cha Cha Chas on Haight - excellent Tapas. Very good Sangria.

    The Palace of Fine Arts is GORGEOUS, and worth a walk through if the weather is nice (duh - when isn't the weather nice???).

    Jade Bar is nice, and their Jade Cocktail (especially at happy hour!) is a very tasty and economical way to spend an evening.

    If you find yourself down in Palo Alto, Darbar Indian is excellent.

    And the first, and best, sushi I've ever had was at a place called Blowfish.

    Ooo! Ooo! Fish Tacos at Baja Fresh!

    And I second the Brother's on Geary. . .

    I swear I'm the only person I know who moved to CALIFORNIA (land of veggies and tofu) and gained weight. . .

  9. go to
    she just wrote about her trip to San Francisco and all the fabulous places she ate.

  10. for seafood, try Scoma's on Fisherman's Wharf. it's a little out of the way since you have to go down an alley to get there, but everything there is so good.

  11. Oh geez... There is so much to eat, drink, buy, see and do, in San Francisco.

    Not-to-be-missed: Tartine Bakery (everything there is good); the Ferry Plaza on a weekend morning (for food and people-watching); The Citrus Club on Haight Street (cheap, fun, good sake martinis); Andalu (excellent tapas and desserts, plus THE best sangria); shopping on Valencia or Hayes (for things not everyone else will have - while on Hayes Street, if you're yearning for fries and crepes, there's Frjtz Fries); in addition to Britex, there's Discount Fabrics on 4th and Bryant; Citizen Cake (they serve food, but I like to just grab some sweets to go); Paper Source has a couple of SF locations (I prefer the one on Fillmore Street - it's a nice little shopping/dining area); Flax Art, and its next-door-neighbor Delessio Market (for a snack, light meal)...

    I could go on and on and on!

  12. Oh! BTW, my husband and I used that exact S.F. postcard for our wedding Save the Dates!

  13. Go to Mama's for Breakfast in Washington Square - All the locals show up bright and early to get on line! It's that good...

  14. The Tonga room would probably be fun. It's got a tiki bar thing going for it. I've actually never been, but there's more info about it here:

    Also, I second the recomendation for TiCouz. REALLY good crepes.

  15. Yes, I think you'd like the Ferry Market Building. If you want to see one-of-a-kind cool yarn, go to ArtFibers. It's on Sutter Street downtown. Are you going to be staying downtown? It's fun to wander around Chinatown at night and get goofy souvenirs!

  16. There's now a Citizen Cupcake on the third floor of the Virgin Megastore on Market near Union Square, which makes for a charming break from shopping.

    I second the recommendation for Frjtz (there's also a location at Ghirardelli Square if you're doing the Fisherman's Wharf thing).

    The Marriott on Fourth (just south of Market) has a top floor bar with an amazing view.

    Hope you have a lovely trip.

  17. Try the Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory and Soda Fountain for their sundaes.

    Also, dim sum in Chinatown is great.

  18. oh yay! well, i lived in san francisco for a summer and have visited numerous times... i've got some ideas-

    (1) i think the best food is in north beach. they have amazing italian food and china town is right nearby so it's easy to check them both out in one visit. my absolute favorite is "sodini's"... it's a small, amazing, italian restaurant on green at grant. (north beach) if you go, say hello to my friend tracy (she's a server there)... :) she's from this area, went to syracuse u.

    (2) ghiradelli is also pretty fun, it's one of those touristy things that you sort of have to see

    (3) shopping is fun around union square

    actually... just check this out-

    my brother made this as part of his wedding website (he lives in SF and got married recently, made a webpage for out of town guests)


  19. I like to go to places I see in movies, so on our trip I had to go to places from my favorite movie. These included, Fog City Diner (my first, and still, unparalleled experience with creme brulee) and the park where the Palace of Fine Arts is located. If I had had a link to this site back then, I probably would have gone to more places.

  20. I just spent 4 days in San Francisco. You will love the Ferry Building Marketplace. The Farmers Market is open on Saturdays from 8a - 2p. You must try brunch at Le Metro Cafe on Divisadero/Page (they open 10:30a). Ask for a table in the garden. It's also near Haight/Ashbury. Take the Filbert Steps up to Coit Tower and watch for the parrots on Telegraph Hill. Have great pizza at North Beach Pizza (1499 Grant - original location). If you want to splurge, go to Farallon (very cool underwater decor - love their jellyfish and octopus chandeliers). For cheap, good chinese food, go to House of Nanking or R&G Lounge. Trek up Lombard Street. It's touristy, but take a trolley ride. I enjoyed watching the guys manuever the trolley around. I just posted the first 2 days of my trip here You will have a wonderful time!

  21. ah, san francisco. i'm sure that i've told you that we spent our honeymoon there. the mechanical museum was pretty neat (bit tough to find, though). it's got a lot of things from old penny arcades. palace of fine arts is definitely beautiful. there were a lot of wedding pictures being taken there when we went. if you want to go waaaaaay back to the beginning of my blog, time in san francisco was captured there.

  22. I'm a Bay Area native and Zachary's Pizza is definitely a must-try. It's in Rockridge (right next to Berkeley in the East Bay). There are lots of unique and well-known eateries in this fabulous neighborhood:

    Easy to get there - just hop on BART, get off at Rockridge, and Zachary's is 2 blocks to your right.

  23. P.S. I admit I'm a bit of a Bay Area snob and tend to scoff at some of the touristy and over-rated suggestions, but the Ferry Building is one that I'd recommend as a must-try as well. =)

  24. If you love garlic...a restaurant called "The Stinking Rose" has great food!!!

  25. Far too many suggestions here for you to do them all on a business trip... but I'll throw in my suggestions anyway. :-)

    To eat:
    Little Baobab in the Mission District. West Indies and Caribbean Creole cuisine.
    Cha Cha Cha in Haight-Ashbury. Latin American cuisine.
    In-n-Out Burger, of course.

    To see:
    Coit Tower
    Sutro Baths
    Golden Gate recreation area (Golden Gate Bridge, etc)
    Cable Cars (sometimes we rode on these just for the ride... no particular destination)

    Gahhh... now you've got me wanting to go back again!! (photos from our last trip)

  26. Wow, what a response. I just wanted to echo how tasty Brothers Rest (Korean) is on 4th and Geary. There's a Brothers II about 2 blocks away from the original restaurant - how cool is that! Anyhow, the weather is very comfortable in the city -- it's actually cool in the evenings. I'd recommend checking the weather forecast for the week because SF weather is not like any other parts of California. It's cool and breazy in the summers (and warmer in the Fall!)

  27. Lots of people have mentioned the Ferry Market building which is fabulous but, you must ride the ferry-it's a great experience. I have been to the city many many times but I hadn't taken the ferry until this year. It was awesome-a great break from the busy city.

  28. I know this moved from its original location at the Sutro Baths a few years back, so I'm not sure if it is totally the same. I found Musee Mechanique to be wonderful and mysterious. It's all vintage coin-operated machines from decades back. Arrive with lots of nickels and dimes!

  29. Sorry for the bad link in the previous post.

    Here's the correct one:

    Coit Tower

  30. Hayes Valley is a boutique-filled neighborhood (near City Hall, the Opera house, and the Symphony house) that has a really cool yarn store called Urban Knitting.

    Our local paper put together a bunch of neighborhood guides to SF for stores, restaurants, etc. There is a guide specifically for Hayes Valley.

    Local blogger Sam has lots of SF restaurant reviews and other tidbits on her site:

    You might enjoy reading to get some ideas, too.

    If you have time to take the ferry to Alcatraz, it is totally worth it! They have an awesome self-guided audio tour, and the views of the Bay are gorgeous.

    Lastly, you will find lots of Jamba Juice and to locate burritos, look here:

    Have a great trip!

  31. My recommendation about SF has nothing to do with the food (though it WAS good . . . we liked the Stinking Rose too). You may think July + California = hot weather. But it's not! When we were there in July a few years ago, it was only in the 50's. We ended up with SF sweatshirts--the same ones all the other tourists were wearing.

    You may know this already, but just in case--bring a jacket!

  32. one more food suggestion: go to your corner liquor store and pick up an "its -it" two oatmeal cookies squishes chocolate, vanilla, coffee, or mint ice cream all dipped in chocolate. yumm.

  33. I've been there a few times but only for about a day at a time. Never a lot of time to do things. I rode a cable car, went to China Town, took pictures on Lombard Street. I don't have anything new to suggest but I wish you a great trip. Take lots of pictures of Piglet. I agree that you should take a light jacket.

  34. I am just back from SF. I have been many times. We stayed at the Clift and loved it. The location at Union Square was ideal. I love Chinatown they have great linens for very inexpensive 1 dollar to 4 dollars each for place mats & napkins. We found pretty robes, slippers, pajamas and fake pumas - 2 pair/ for 20 dollars. Two restaurants we loved were Moca casual for lunch on Maiden Lane (very much like being in Rome by the Spanish steps) and Le Petite Robert 2300 Polk St also very casual but ssooooo yummy! A few other shops that I love in that Polk street area are Prize, La place du Soliel and Dove Tail. If you want to cover very unique places - buy Crown Books- Unique Places in San Francisco. The new one is the green book. I trust the book completely this is the second edition I have bought. All the stores I mentioned are in there and many more unique cool places. Chinatown has one main street and it is very easy to find what is offered. We went to the Golden Gate fortune cookie company and bought fresh cookies- what a difference! Finally we stopped at the Ferry Building, what a treat! Fab views of The Bay Bridge and the Harbor. They have the most elaborate selection of gourmet foods, cheeses, wines, pastries, and gifts. I hope you will visit these places and have a great time as we did! see my blog at for photos and more of the same info.
    Bel' occhio is a very cool store that is for the creative at heart.

  35. yes, eat lots of It's Its! They are the best commercially made frozen treat ever invented!

  36. Tonga Room is a pretty cool tiki bar for a before-dinner drink. It is super cheesy, but that is what is great about it. Every half hour it rains ... thunder and lightning included! This is the Tonga Room's claim to fame.

    I would skip Fisherman's Wharf altogether - very toursity (not in a good way).

  37. crepes a-go-go is great!
    also if you want to do something really crazy/different at night go to asiaSF :) you can google for their website.

  38. Visit Britex, but if you're planning to buy, do it at Discount Fabrics on 4th street and Bryant. More warehouse-like (in service as well) but much much cheaper.

    And of all the places listed, I would say that the Ferry Building really is the one not to miss.

    Hope Oscar is doing well.

  39. if you visit suthro baths, visit louis' resturaunt - very good hamburgers! it's a small diner - near the cliff house restaurant (which is more touristy).

    chinatown is a definite place to visit - so many cheap shops, it's awesome.

  40. i absolutely love Genki Crepes in the Richmond district. These are japanese style crepes, you eat them with your hands, held in a paper cone, as opposed to laying flat and on a plate. my favorite is the fresh fruit filled crepe with nutella and whipped cream.
    also there is a great vietnamese restaurant also in the richmond called PPQ. they have a $42 dollar special (which is enough to feed 3, 2 if you are starving): 1 huge garlic roasted dungess crab, a huge bowl of garlic noodles, chicken salad, spring rolls (we usually substitute the fresh spring rolls), and dessert which is fried banana and coconut or mango ice cream. it is to die for. have lots of fun!!!

  41. I second Musee Mechanique - it was better when it was under the Cliff House but it'll still do now what with all the cool, creepy coin-operated fortune tellers and whatnot.

    Also, there's this great, yummy, pretty, and CHEAP Thai place, here's the descrip:

    Khan Toke Thai House
    Even after 27 years, Khan Toke is one of the best spots for a budget-minded romantic dinner. Diners remove their shoes at the door and are led into a warren of rooms that have a comfortable, homey ambience. With an intricate wood ceiling, hand-carved tables and elegant Thai art, it's one of the most beautiful Thai restaurants in the city. While some of the seafood dishes may cost more than $10, the pork beef and chicken are in the $6-$8 range.
    Vitals: 5937 Geary Blvd. (near 24th Avenue); (415) 668-6654. Dinner nightly

  42. ditto on Tartine bakery/cafe on 17th in the mission and
    Brother's Korean BBQ in the Richmond. there are my favorites & I live in SF. Ocean Restaurant on Clement btwn 8th & 9th for Dim Sum, Little Star Pizzeria for california pizza w/ cornmeal crust mmmm... now i'm hungry!

  43. Hi Jenny! Definitely visit: The Ferry Building (even as a native, I love going there) to go to Miette, Cowgirl Creamery, Sharffen Berger, Ti Couz (the original, opened by Joey Altman), Myth (if you can get a reservation), Pizetta 211, Brothers Korean BBQ, Home in the Castro, Taiwan Point, Taste of Formosa, don't forget Jamba Juice! The Daly City In-N-Out and Krispy Kreme are across the PARKING LOT from each other, and for the East Bay-Gelateria Naia, Zachary's, Grace Baking, and the Sharffen Berger factory tour.

    For shopping, hit up Hayes Valley, Red Dot Outlet, Jeremy's, Wasteland, Villians, Fillmore Street adjoins JapanTown for shopping bliss, Valencia

    There are also fun places like the Pirate Store in the Mission, Grace Cathedral, the Tonga Room...

    I second ChaChaCha and the Palace of Fine Arts, also check out the Chocolate Exhibit at the Academy of Sciences in their temporary location on Harrison (near Buca Di Beppo), Yerba Buena Gardens, Sundays Free Concert at Stern Grove-19th Ave. and Sloat, concerts start around 2pm, but get there before 12 for good seating-this Sunday is the Opera.

    have a great trip Jenny!

  44. Someone mentioned the Tonga Lounge tiki bar. It isn't that great. Expensive and strange. I have been twice and I totally didn't think it was worth it. I guess there is some novelty, but eh.

  45. I grew up in the area and here are my recommendations:

    EOS (Cole Valley): Asian Fusion
    Slanted Door (Ferry Building/Embarcadero): Vietnamese Fusion
    Anh Hong (Tenderloin): Authentic Vietnamese Food. It's not in the best of neighborhoods, but the 7 course beef meal is a must try.
    Saigon Sandwich Shop (Tenderloin): Cheap and excellent Vietnamese sandwiches
    La Taqueria (Mission): Mexican food. Good burritos.
    La Mediterranee (Castro): Mediterranean. Go to the Noe St. location
    Golden Gate Bakery (Chinatown): Go there for the egg custards.
    House of Nanking (North Beach): Spicy Chinese hole-in-the-wall restaurant. Wait expected.
    Pasha (Russian/Nob hill): Very unique mediterranean gourmet dining experience.
    San Tung (Sunset): Chinese Food. Dumpling, Noodles, etc.
    Kitaro Sushi (Richmond): Decently priced yet good.


    Koi Palace (Daly City): Gourmet Chinese and Dim Sum. Sat/Sun mornings are packed.
    Kirala (Berkeley): Japanese food. Get there before they open for dinner to avoid the common hour wait.
    Cheeseboard Pizza (Berkeley): They're only open certain hours of the day and they only have one type of pizza (vegetarian) each day, but everyone who tries it, loves it.
    Chez Panisse (Berkeley): Gourmet Californian cuisine with fresh locally grown produce. The cafe upstairs is less formal with the a la carte menu.
    Angel Island (via Ferry): Hiking and great views from the top
    Sausalito (via Ferry or driving across the Golden Gate Bridge): Quaint area with shops. Brunch outside on the patio at Alta Mira hotel when it's sunny is very lovely.

    Hope that helps!

  46. Nancy in Sunnyvale, CAJuly 29, 2005 at 1:40 AM

    If you get to dine on the company tab, try Roy's Restaurant (2nd and Mission)... great Hawaiann fusion food!