The Readers have spoken! Off to San Francisco

I love how Brian became an icon for neglected blogger/designer husbands throughout the world yesterday. He’s getting a bit cocky about it, actually.  He keeps reading the comments and reminding me of how ‘he won’.  And then i remind him that he wasn’t actually competing against the blog, but yes, of course ‘he won’.

Thank you so much for all the comments and support, seriously.

So here’s what i’ve come up with:  i’ll scale back, but do more (and better) original style posts and Mr. Orlando is going to jump in and help me once a week and blog about what we are working on.  If you guys aren’t reading his blog, you should be.  He’s like a way more down to earth version of Brad from Rachel Zoe, meets Martha Stewart, meets Freddy Mercury.  But funnier. And handsomer.

Meanwhile Bri and I are off in a couple days San Francisco to stay The Clift, go to art museums, make up some reason to wear a really revealing (however NOT slutty, please i am a lady) red dress, get cultured, bike and hold hands – not at the same time, you crazy.  We are’t relaxers, we just aren’t.  So we figured if we can’t leave the country, we may as well go to a big city that we haven’t really spent time in with lots of stuff to do and be total tourists.

So bring on the San Francisco suggestions:

1. Best restaurant – you know the restaurants that give you like 5 waiters per table and you can wear a tux? Any that are really really old and classic? We want to splurge on a 4 hour dinner and feel like rich people for one night.

2. Easy day trips:  Alcatraz? Where else should we go?  Which museums, galleries, etc can’t we miss.

3. Which neighborhoods do we have to explore?

4. Really old bars? I love the one with the pirates boat in it up on the hill, but any others would be good to grab a drink at.

5. Plays, operas, events happening that we can’t miss?


  1. Ginna

    My boyfriend is from San Francisco and we go a few times a year. Friends suggested the Alembic for a fancy cocktail— and we made a pit stop last time we were in the city. It's on Haight and has some great concoctions!

  2. Oh SF, how I love that place! :) We just came back from a trip in September (we used to live south of the city years ago but never spent a whole lot of time there) and we learned two things…First if you want to see Alcatraz book tickets NOW. So not kidding…it's so crazy popular that even on the random days we were there (Monday and Tuesday!) they were already completely sold out! And you should definitely go to Golden Gate Park and drive over the bridge of course! We stayed in Tiburon and it was beautiful and a lot less crowded than Sausalito and not that much farther. Oh and we went to Angel Island which was really fun to walk around! In the City itself there is good shopping in Union Square of course and the Museum of Modern Art is really beautiful. And of course you must ride a cable car up and down the hills and see the view from Nob Hill! Have fun and enjoy! :)

  3. Ann

    1. Coi. Spending ungodly amounts of money on dinner, to me, means that you get something that you could never, ever, cook yourself at home. Coi will give you that with perhaps the best service I've ever experienced. My husband and I refer to the waiters there as "food docents," if that gives you an idea of the caliber of skill you'll be dealing with.
    2. Alcatraz is a great trip if it's nice out. You get a good boat ride there and back and it's just generally interesting. If it's not quite as nice out, a drive down the coast for drinks/snacks at the Ritz in Half Moon Bay is a good alternative. If you want to drive over the Golden Gate (for the views and just to say you did it), there's a great place for brunch essentially at the base of the north side of the bridge called Murray Circle. They make their own baked goods, make good drinks and have a nice big heated porch. Also a good stop if you bike over the bridge, though I'd recommend taking the ferry back rather than trying to get back up the hill to the bridge afterward.
    3. Depends on what you want to do/see. I'm partial to the north side of town, but others may argue for Noe or the Mission.
    4. I think you're referencing the Tonga Room. It's a classic. Tadich Grill is one of the oldest (if not the oldest) restaurants in the city and can be fun for a boozy lunch. The bar at the Palace hotel is also pretty good…they also have a great famous mural that's worth seeing.
    5. The SF Ballet's Nutcracker is fantastic. I've seen many in my day and none beats SFB. A definite, if it's still running when you get here. Any exhibit at the deYoung or the Legion of Honor is usually worth the price of admission. deYoung has a great observation tower that gives a good view of the city if it's clear, and you get the benefit of being in Golden Gate Park, where there are all sorts of other things to see (bison) and do. Also, don't discount the fun of those little goCars. As someone who lives in SF, even I found it fun. The Golden Gate Park route is the best, if you ask me, because you can also swing by the big houses in Pacific Heights and the Painted Ladies (Full House houses) on the way back.

  4. I second the Coi recommendation. You could also try Sons & Daughters. Both are within walking distance of your hotel. If you do try Coi, be sure to stop by 15 Romolo in an alley in North Beach for a cocktail. Specs, Tosca and Comstock also won't disappoint and they are all within about a block of one another.

    If you're looking for another great place to dine but not as fancy as a course menu, try Nopa or Bar Crudo, both on Divisadero.

  5. Laura Schachet

    Bobo's for steak and fish!!

    And you must visit the Swan Oyster Depot – great fresh oysters, tiny quaint bar. Get there early for lunch – there can be quite a line!

  6. laurielulu

    I love the classic hotels, like the Fairmont, St. Regis and Mark Hopkins (they have a great bar with live jazz – very romantic at night). I MUST have Dim Sum especially for brunch, everyone's favorite is Yank Sing in the financial district. You must have the duck!…..Tha's my best! Have FUN!

  7. Hannah

    you should make reservations for a drink at wilson & wilson detective agency! i promise you will love it. comstock and the burritt room are two other options for classy cocktails. great restaurants (but not tux-worthy): flour + water, foreign cinema. make sure you get an ice cream sundae from bi-rite, and/or a pastry from tartine. and have breakfast at boulette's larder in the ferry building before you take the ferry to alcatraz!

  8. Hannah

    also, there's a fantastic exhibit on at the jewish museum (just around the corner from MoMa) about houdini right now. for contemporary art, the best galleries are guerrero gallery (in the mission), and park life (in the richmond district- if you go out there, treat yourselves to a crab dinner at PPQ dungeness island!!). you would love the little area in the sunset district where mollusk surf shop, general store, trouble coffee, and outerlands restaurant are. and of course, great shopping in the mission…

  9. Muir Woods is absolutely magical and has great hiking trails.

  10. Emily P.

    Born, raised and currently living in SF – here are my tips:

    Spruce – Sacramento Street – if you are looking for a place to feel rich, this is where the SF old money dine. It’s a little ridiculous.
    Bar Tartine – same ownership as the famous Tartine bakery in the Mission District. There are amazing places to eat all along Valencia Street and if you can’t get into one you will find another just as fantastic. My other favorites are Range, Locunda, Delfina, Beretta… so many to choose from!
    Foreign Cinema – also on Valencia and already mentioned by another commentor but a favorite, also for brunch.

    I can see you guys really liking SFMOMA of course (rooftop café/sculpture garden with Piet Mondrian cakes and blue bottle coffee really cool). But if you are interested in walking around Golden Gate Park the de Young is an awesome building with a spectacular view from the tower, a Venetian Masters exhibition currently on view with paintings of lots of fancy ladies in furs, and then next door is the California Academy of Sciences (say hello to the penguins) and also right there is the Japanese Tea Garden where you can have tea and enjoy the pretty trees.

    Amazing Farmers’ Market

    Ok even though I’ve lived my whole life here, I didn’t get to Alcatraz until about two years ago and it was SO COOL. I would do it again. Don’t go to touristy places like Fisherman’s Wharf, they are not that cool. It would be way more fun for you to wander around neighborhoods like the Mission, Noe Valley, Hayes Valley, Fillmore Street, downtown, or by the water at Chrissy Field.

  11. Emily

    Sorry, Foreign Cinema is on Mission Street. Close to Valencia!

  12. Rosie

    Since you mentioned pirates, definitely check out the Pirate Store (826 Valencia) and Paxton Gate next door (quirky shop with taxidermy). It is on the far end of the city but if you have a rental car, Lands End is a beautiful short hike with breakthaking views of the GG bridge and leads you to the Sutro Baths at Ocean Beach.

  13. Hannah P

    I've lived inthe east bay for 6 years – here are my favorites! Might this trip lead to the show taking a Northern journey???? I would LOVE that!!!
    Best Restaurant – Wayfare Tavern (Tyler Florence) at the base of the TransAmerica Building, great food and has that old pub feel
    Day Trips – Bike across the golden gate (you can rent them) to Sausalito, the Marin Headlands, Napa! (there are tons of car services that will take you from the city up there for the day).
    Museums – California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate is my favorite – it has an Aquarium and an indoor rainforest! Check out the National AIDS Memorial Grove right behind it as well – a beautiful hidden living memorial, one of my favorite spaces in SF

  14. Carey

    Berkeley Rep is showing "The Wild Bride" right now. The play is put on by a theater troupe from England. I really enjoyed it and definitely think it is worth a BART trip to the East Bay.

    I also recommend a walk at Lands End and a drink at Comstock Saloon in North Beach. The bar food and decor is styled after SF at the turn of the century.

  15. aimee

    If you are in the mood for ice cream, stop at Mitchells. They have this insanely delicious avocado ice cream that is worth the wait. They're on the corner of San Jose and 29th; I'm pretty sure there are detailed directions on their website.

    Also if you are in Sausalito, you can stop at the original Heath Ceramics and take a factory tour. They take you through the entire place, and you can chat with the people working.

    And Miette for macarons. We usually go to the Hayes valley location (Octavia, a half block from Hayes) but there is also one in the Ferry Building. Hayes is nice to spend a little time walking down, and the french fries at Frjtz are so good.

    And if you are a fan of souffle, Cafe Jacqueline is so so good. There are only a few tables, so it's a good idea to make reservations. They only serve souffle (and at least one salad, I'm not sure if this is still the case), and it is fantastic. Very romantic. North Beach, on Grant at Union.

  16. Emily

    Oh and also if you are in Hayes Valley go to the new Biergarten! I went there last weekend and it was really laid back and fun. Great stop for a bratwurst with sauerkraut and a beer!

  17. Oooh, I love talking about SF!

    1. I second Spruce. Or Gary Danko. SF is kind of a weird city for getting dressed up, in that few people do it…But, I still vote you dress to the nines whereever you go for a splurge meal though! Also, for your second night out…my very favorite restaurant is Zuni Cafe, amazing food, beautiful space, cozy vibe, great cocktails – if you go there for dinner split the chicken for two. You can thank me later :)
    2. Alcatraz is a great day trip! Taking the ferry to get there is fun, so I'd recommend doing that…or just taking the ferry to Sausalito for lunch. And since it leaves from the ferry building, you can check out all the amazing food there too which is a must!
    3. I'm biased because I lived there, but North Beach/Telegraph Hill is great to wander around! It is the old part of SF so there are beautiful historic homes and you can walk around the steps, head up to Coit Tower (amazing views), sit in Washington Square, coffee at Cafe Greco, visit Eden & Eden (my fave store), I could go on and on… anyway, highly recommend it!
    4. Oh yes, the Owl Tree which is super close to the Clift!

    Have so much fun!

  18. I second The Alembic, was there last week for drinks and dinner with family (1725 Haight St). Cal Academy, De Young, and Japanese Tea Garden are my favorite places to hang out when I have visitors come stay with me.

    Enjoy The City! (and be sure and dress warm, cause its freeeezing outside right now! :-)

  19. I love Emily!!

    You have to go to Michael Mina's for dinner!!! You will loooooove it I promise!

  20. kim

    fancy meal: Gary Danko:
    fancy cocktails:

    You could hit up the California Academy of Sciences for the most amazing aquarium, "living roof", and "tropical rain forest" exhibit. AND they currently have actual reindeer. The De Young Museum is pretty fab too!

    For daytime shopping and lunching, my fav neighborhoods are the Mission and Hayes Valley.

    I could also suggest a drive down HWY 1 to Half Moon Bay, gorgeous drive along the coast….then lunch at The Ritz. Why not! :)

    Have fun!

  21. peden

    i was just there last weekend, and we went to an old favorite bar: elixir. it's been in the mission since 1858. plus it was all done up for christmas and serving hot apple cider! love it.

  22. alice

    you must, must, must go over the bridge to oakland and go to the temescal neighborhood for a chicken sandwich at Bake Sale Betty's….your life will be changed because their food is amazing. i lived in SF but worked in that neighborhood and now i live in boston and my oh my do i miss those sandwiches. and while you are in oakland go to a couple of galleries…chandra cerritio and SLATE (where i worked!).

    another place that i love and miss and is off the beaten path is out by Ocean Beach. there is a fabulous little neighborhood joint called Outerlands…best bread ever, they make it in house. plus there is a super cute little shop, gallery and do not miss Trouble coffee…amazballs. seriously, the coffee is like crack.

    oh and bring a lot of comfy layers because SF is NOT LA and man it does get chilly. enjoy enjoy enjoy the city by the bay, a city that i will always love.

  23. We went to San Fran in May.

    If you're going to do Alcatraz, book right now ( and go on the first cruise of the day for the least amount of people. If you have a rental car, park across the street at the corner of Bay and Embarcadero for $12 practically all day. Arrive at 6:30am and you can have the Wharf area to yourself for some great pics without droves of people in them as well as see the seals at Pier 39 without squealing children. For parking rates, this site was invaluable. I was just telling my hubby I was dying to go back to Z&Y Restaurant in Chinatown for Princess Chicken.

    Get a Fleur De Sel cupcake from Kara's Cupcakes. It is amazing.

    If you're going to eat on the Wharf, we really liked Scoma's on Al Scoma Way just past all of the bad restaurants along the main drag. It's a little old school but the crabcake sandwich was awesome then it's a close walk to Ghiradelli Square for the Kara's cupcake. ;-)

    Can't recommend bars since we're not bar goers but I can say stay far away from The Stinking Rose. That was the worst meal of the whole trip.

    Check Yelp for local events going on too. Marin Headlands, Crissy Field and Point Bonita Lighthouse/Sausalito area were the highlights close to the city and if you have time to drive down to Carmel-by-the-Sea, absolutely do it. It was the highlight of our trip. Have a great time!

  24. Briana Wall

    I second the De Young suggestion! The observation tower is beautiful, and the architecture of the building is really interesting, too (oh yeah, and there's art). Plus, you can use your De Young pass to get into the Legion of Honor if you go on the same day which is also beautiful and awesome. Have fun!!!

  25. Brian

    Muir Woods. Muirs Woods. Muir Woods! Oh, did i mention that a hike through Muir Woods might be nice?

  26. Yelena

    Drive along highway 1 to Pescadero or even Santa Cruz; check out Hayes valley neighborhood and try Smitten Icecream, food truck lunch at Fort Mason if they are doing it around Christmas and New Year, walk across Golden Gate Bridge (it's not that long)

  27. I had a most memorable meal here:
    Definitely an event that should not be rushed.

    Alcatraz is really interesting using the self-guided tour. It's also fun to go over the Golden Gate Bridge and up into the Marin Headlands for mind-blowing views of the bridge and the city. It's the spot where the photo on this post was taken.

    I'm getting terribly homesick just writing this. I am in love with this city. Have a wonderful time! Happy Holidays!

  28. adam

    1. Michael Mina is back and is a good suggestion for dinner. For a nice lunch, I'd say Zuni Cafe.

    2. Napa. California Academy of Sciences. de Young Museum. SFMoma.

    4. Comstock Saloon – historic place and right up your alley. Zeitgeist for a divey experience.

  29. I went to SF this summer and absolutely loved biking across the bridge and having a glass of vino in Sausalito after. Then you can just take the ferry across the bay to get back in the city! So much fun. Merry Christmas, Emily!

  30. Jason

    My wife and I love your show and your blog. (She's probably going to drag me down to the Clift for drinks every night on the off chance that we'll see you guys there enjoying a cocktail…) We've lived in SF for almost 12 years and are professional eaters. We don't do much in the cocktail scene so I can't comment much in that dept.

    First up, stuff that's close to your hotel:

    Redwood Room is a fantastic bar inside your hotel. It's lush, has amazing lighting, and will definitely serve you a $50 scotch if you are so inclined. It's a destination that many locals hit so don't feel like you're being square by staying home…

    Dottie's True Blue Cafe is the best breakfast in your immediate vicinity. Get there early or there will be massive lines. Ironically, the last day of service at this location is 12/24 because it's moving a few blocks away in early 2012…

    Farmer Brown is relatively close and tasty. Only been for brunch but it's legit. Neighborhood is a little dicey so keep that in mind. (In general, if you walk out of your hotel and head north–Nob Hill–or you head east–Union Square–you will be totally fine. But walk south or west and the neighborhood gets much rougher around the edges. Just FYI.)

    Canteen is a nice spot (in a safe location to the north a few blocks) that's good for brunch or dinner. Very casual but the food is upscale.

    Sons and Daughters is one of the hottest restaurants in the City right now. Two progeny from David Kinch at Manresa (GQ chef of the year).

    A little off the radar, Le Colonial has been around for years and is a nice, relaxing spot to grab a drink. French/Vietnamese, it feels a bit like a set of a movie.

    Beyond your hood.

    The mission neighborhood has the most interesting food and drink concentration of anywhere in the City at the moment. There are too many places to list. Tartine Bakery is an institution. Bi-rite is worth a visit. Maverick, Baretta, Commonwealth, Saison, Flour and Water, etc.

    Ferry Building.

    Simply a must-see. It's foodie paradise. This is the one place I take every visitor from out of town. Get your Blue Bottle coffee, have a Hog Island oyster while gazing up at the Bay Bridge. Sample a "meat cone" at Boccalone. (Sounds gross but actually tasty.) Stock up on duck confit at Boulette's Larder…


    If you are a coffee snob or aspire to be one, Blue Bottle, Four Barrel, Ritual, Philz, Siteglass are all worth a visit.

    Blow it out dinners.

    Saison (Mission)
    Coi (North Beach)
    Benu (Soma) – this is former French Laundry Chef doing an Asian-thing
    French Laundry (Yountville) – a major hike but some consider the best restaurant in the US… Easy to spend $500/person here.
    Manresa (Los Gatos) – arguably the hottest restaurant in Nocal at the moment. At least an hour drive south of the City.

    I'm going out on a limb to suggest that you will like Hayes Valley ( For something completely different, and since you seem to like pirates, you must see the Dave Eggers pirate supply store in the Mission ( and the equally insane Paxton's Gate (

    Bike ride.

    Sausalito has amazing views back into SF and you can ride bikes directly to it from the City. Please don't hold hands while biking across the GG bridge though. You will clothesline many a tourist with a stunt like that. You might like the Heath Ceramic factory in Sausalito. Alice Waters outfits her restaurant in their gear. (We tiled our kitchen with their subway tile factory remnants…) The town is cute and has lots of little art studios.

    Have fun! And how about filming an episode up here??? I can definitely recommend a particular living room that would love to be reworked…

  31. Definite Musts:
    1. Ferry Building (go hungry/thristy, there's tons to eat and drink in there).
    2. The Greens Restaurant. Most famous vegetarian/local farmed dining in the USA.
    3. The De Young Museum (go there and eat lunch then explore the museum, you MUST go up in the tower to see the 360 view of SF).
    4. Take a walk at Crissy Fields (you can walk to the base of the golden gate bridge there).
    5. Eat at Zuni Cafe (my parents' fave restaurant that serves awesome whole chickens).
    6. Go to Zeitgeist in the Mission. It's a total gross hipster explosion but fun.
    My sister and her girlfriend are coming tonight from SF so I'll grill them about fun places. I'm so excited/JEALOUS.

  32. Jenny

    The best meal I have ever had with the best service (I think it really was a 4 hour meal) was at La Folie in San Francisco. Incomparable.

  33. This may sound ridiculous, but I took my twins on a fire engine ride tour of the city and it was one of the greatest thrills of MY life. The speed at which you zoom over the Golden Gate Bridge in an open air fire engine is NOT holy. The tour guides are corny, the whole thing is light-hearted and ridiculous. But you get to see the sights in one quick zoom and you're on a vintage red fire engine, clanging your way through town. It's cheese at its finest!! So fun! Here's the link:

  34. I second:

    - Biergarten, walk around the shops in Hayes Valley (there is a newly opened Steven Alan there and I think you SA :)
    - Alcatraz. Get the headset tour, its creepy and gripping and totally fun.
    - Dinner or drinks at Park Tavern in North Beach. My friend designed the inside, would love to know what you think of it.
    - Foreign Cinema
    - Bourbon & Branch

    If you want the fancy splurge dinner go to Gary Danko.

  35. Elizabeth

    Yay for San Francisco! We live in north beach and love it here….. I'm just chiming in to say that all of the schmancy restaurants people already mentioned are wonderful but if you want a really classic, 5 waiter, dressy uppy place I'd go to fleur de lys on sutter st…. You can walk there from your hotel and it's really amazing…. My husband and I went there a few years ago and it was so fancy it made me feel like a teenager on roller skates or something- definitely not my normal dining crowd, but such an amazing experience….. The chef is Hubert Keller and he's adorable….

  36. HK

    1. Michael Mena in Union Square. Their furniture and artwork is nicer than mine. Food is amazing, lobster potpie is delicious.
    2. Day trips…Muir Woods is breathtaking and beautiful. Point Reyes national seashore views are stunning and so ncal, pack a picnic. Tiburon is across the bay and charming, go to Sams cafe and order cioppino.
    3. Interior of city hall is really pretty and unique to the city
    5. San Francisco opera house is lovely for a performance, I saw the ballet there

    Have a great trip! Travel safely

  37. I'm loving reading everyone else's suggestions!

    If you decide on Alcatraz, get the headset. It brings the place to life – otherwise it's not worth it.

    I love the Ferry Building, too! I could eat everything in there.

    If you’re into coffee, this is your city. Blue Bottle is delicious, and so is Four Barrel {they have an awesome shop on Valencia street that is very industrial chic.}

    A must is Tartine bakery for brunch. There’s a huge line, but it’s worth it. SO WORTH IT {It moves pretty quickly, too.} P.S. Get the bread pudding.

    I’d also recommend checking out the food cart scene here. That’s been my favorite lately. There’s an organization called Off the Grid {} that hosts them. There’s a smaller {less crowded} version near my apartment in Golden Gate Park on Thursday nights, and a big one in Fort Mason on Fridays.

    As for what to do? My all time favorite is just to walk around. This city has some amazing people watching and excellent window shopping, too! {There are puppies and kittens in the windows at Macys Union Square for the holidays.} For shopping, Hayes Valley has fancy stores, {Plantation, Lotus Blu, Room Service} The Mission has thrift/second hand {mostly on Valencia st} and there are lots of other small great shops peppered throughout the city. I love HD Buttercup on SOMA, but LA has one of those so…

    Also, have you seen Jordan’s San Francisco Eats list from Oh Happy day? I’m a San Francisco native, born and raised, and I think she pretty much nailed it! {}

    Victoria from SF Girl By Bay is also doing a series, neighborhood by neighborhood, and her take on the Mission is pretty much dead on. {}

    I’ve been living here pretty much all my life, and I’m still in love with the place. If you have any questions, feel free to message me!


  38. Molly

    Restaurant – Chez Spencer.

    It is lovely! Such a cool atmosphere. Indulgent menu. Wonderful food. Awesome bar. A secret entry, candlelight, exposed wood, and a dash of taxidermy…really cool place. It's kind of in the middle of nowhere, but once you walk through the curtained door and into the restaurant you will fall in lalalove!

    Also, FISH. in Sausalito is an awesome place to grab a bite. Surely more casual and less gourmet than Chez, but equally as enjoyable.

  39. natilee

    For cocktails, I third everyone’s suggestion of Bourbon & Branch. Some of the best and most unique drinks I’ve had, but reservations are recommended. There is no sign outside and they ask for a password at the door. If you are into things that taste like Christmas in your mouth, I can’t remember the name but there is a drink on the menu that involves cinnamon that is amazing. Speakeasy vibe.

    Beretta, in the Mission also has good drinks and great food. They have an appetizer, fritto misto di pesce that involves fried shrimp, calamari, green beans and fennel, which sounds weird but it awesome. Good pizzas too.

    The mission has tons of other food and drink options as well. 18th street has the trifecta of deliciousness: The Tartine Bakery has incredible baked goods. The morning buns and lemon/almond pound cake are to die for. Just a couple doors up the street is Pizza Delfina, which has super tasty thin crust pizza. My faves there are the tricolore salad, margherita pizza and prosciutto pizza. Then at the top of the block is Bi-Rite Creamery. The salted caramel is really good. All usually involve standing in line, but it’s worth it.

    Flour + water in the mission is a little out of the way but has great thin crust pizza too. Reservations necessary.

    Tokyo Go Go, also in the Mission (sorry to go on and on about restaurants in the Mission, but it is the best place for food), I think on 16th or so is my favorite place for sushi in SF. The hamachi belly and kobe beef tataki are awesome.

    During the day, the Mission also has a ton of cute stores on Valencia street, including a bunch of vintage furniture stores. The prices on home stuff are generally hiked up though, due to the prevalence of hipsters. If you are looking for something like a porcelain walnut, a crocheted octopus or a print of a suave gentleman with a bolo tie, Curiosity shoppe ( has some cool items and Paxton Gate ( is a weird/great store that has interesting plants, gardening tools and taxidermy.

    If you are into crab, Crustaceans is the best. I have dreams about the roasted crab and garlic noodles. Kind of in a weird spot though.

    As for activities, if you happen to be here the first Sunday of the month, the Alameda antique fair is awesome. It is at a huge naval base that overlooks san Francisco and has tons of good finds. Prob comparable to the Rose Bowl.

    The farmer’s market at the embarcadero on Saturdays is big and fun.

    Alcatraz is super fun. Angel Island has an amazing view of the city if you walk around it, but if you only have a couple days, it will kill half of one of them. Renting bikes to ride across the golden gate bridge is a good time. You can walk across as well. The De Young Tower has a free observation deck as well, that has an amazing view. It’s located in Golden Gate Park.

    If you are in the mood to be around a bunch of hippies, the Haight has lots of vintage clothing stores.

    Finally, Union Square is super touristy but is worth visiting. Lots of shopping and some good clothing stores like Paul Smith.

  40. Terri

    I love living around the Bay!

    If you go to the Union Square area I highly recommend Lefty O'Doule's, amazing Ruben sandwiches or if you go for the corned beef plate, the mashed potatoes are delish. It's really chill, the food is served cafeteria style and if the guy carving the corned beef thinks you're cute he might give you thicker slices (at least that's what my boyfriend thought when we compared portions one night, haha).

    I love Bourbon and Branch, an old speak easy that is unmarked. Most taxi drivers seem to know exactly where it is and you can find them via their website. The password into the library (an amazing space) is "books" (it never changes). Just get there really early or be prepared to wait forever to get your cocktail if it's crowded.

    Vertigo was a fun bar I went to a long time ago (on Lombard?). Plays fun music to dance to and drunk sing-a-long,

    I had a very nice dinner at the Sir Francis Drake hotel (near Union Square). They have a chocolate dessert which is heavenly!

    Market Street Grill at the Whitcomb Hotel on Market Street is another place to have a nice dinner. They sometimes have a piano player playing.

    You definitely need to walk around Haight-Ashbury to see some of their vintage clothing places and some of the shops.

    I love going to the de Young museum and going to the tower to get a view of the park/city. If you just want to go to the tower, you don't have to pay admission. Last time we saw some beautiful hawks fly at eye level. The museum collection is really nice too. And across the way is California Academy of Science where you can see the indoor rainforest, South African Penguins, Claude the albino alligator (I'm a science/animal nerd, so I love it there). Thursday night is their night life where there's cocktails (over priced, of course), music, and fun.

    I love going down to Clament St for dim sum from the bakeries and there are a lot of little shops that aren't as tourist oriented as Chinatown. Green Apple bookstore is there and they have a huge selection of new/used books and music.

    Hope this helps a little!

    If you hit up the Berkeley area, let me know!


  41. Gretchen

    Fleur de Lis is really delicious and a very special night out. I think you'd really like the decor too – very high end retro!

  42. Elizabeth

    All of these suggestions are great (I work in SF, live in East Bay). If you happen to be in the Bay on the first Sunday of the month (Jan. 1st this month), there is an AMAZING antiques fair/flea market in Alameda that you cannot miss. You can get across the water by ferry, which drops you off within walking distance. Only problem is if you buy something ;)

    Here's the link:

    Check out the photos link for an idea of what you can find. Enjoy your trip!

  43. jax

    How about Fleur de Lys? Fancy pants french food. Proper pampering fo sure.

  44. I know I'm a little late commenting on this one, but I vote for less frequent posting as long as it means you are still the author. A guest blogger or two is just fine, but I personally love your blog because it is your thoughts and experiences and it is written in your unique voice. No pressure to post when you have other things going on or feel like you have to generate content for sake of post quantinty–not necessary! Do what is right for you but keep blogging every now and then, if you please. A thoughtful post once every few weeks is fine by me!!

  45. {
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