Sunday, March 20, 2011

Fabulous eats of San Francisco

Happy end of weekend, everyone.  I had a fabulous weekend that I just can't resist sharing with you.  My sweet friend and employer Kathie asked me to be sure to send her pictures of all the fun things we did and great food we ate on our planned vacation to NYC this weekend so that she could live vicariously through me.  What a funny gal. I'm hoping to give each of you a mini vacation vicariously through ours as well. Unfortunately we didn't make it to NYC since we were travelling standby on my mom's flight benefits and it was a sold out flight (she works for the best airline, jetBlue) but we went with our next best option of San Francisco for a fabulous quick getaway filled with lots of shopping, and scouring for great food. 

My dad has teased my mom and I accusing us of having 90% of our conversations or planned events revolve around food.  I laughed at first, but realized pretty quickly that we really do operate like that.  The truth is, I wouldn't have it any other way.  I absolutely love good food.   In fact, my dream job would be to travel the world and try out restaurants to review for travel books.  Anyone wanna hire me for that?  I promise I won't object...

Since I always love to travel with a few great suggestions for restaurants before I go, I thought I'd share a few of our favorite places that we found this go around.

The first great restaurant we found (after an average but not mention worthy indian restaurant for lunch) was an Italian place called Umbria.  It was right by our hotel in the downtown district on 2nd Street.

We ordered the Rustica Pizza and liked it but were not blown away.  We did however score with the Pasta, "Fusilli con Pollo e Carciofi".  It was unbelievably flavorful and consisted of corckscrew pasta sauteed with diced chicken breast, fresh artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomato and fresh arugula in EVOO and white wine.  We spoke with the waitress about how the dish was prepared because really the flavor was so intense for the ingredients.  She said that they marinate the sun dried tomatoes in the white wine and EVOO first, then toss in the pasta and artichoke hearts.  The chicken is prepared with garlic and salt and pepper and added to the marinade.  It sounds so very basic but I can't even describe how flavorful this was.  I will definitely be trying to concoct this myself soon and will share the recipe if it's a success.  I think the marinating of the sun dried tomatoes is the secret.

Our next day was spent wandering around inside the Ferry Building.  We sort of stumbled upon it (trying to find a great clam chowder in a breadbowl place by the wharf) and spent hours inside sampling different foods from all of the cafes and restaurants inside.  This place is fabulous.  If you haven't been here before, you must GO.  We were able to get small tasters of everything we wanted so that we got to taste a huge variety of foods rather than filling up on just one menu item. 

Here are just a few of the amazing places we tried:

G.L. Alfieri Premium Nuts and Fruit

Oh. my. gosh.  They handed out a sample of their Almond brittle as we walked past and everyone of us was hooked instantly.  I am a toffee and candy freak so I certainly don't buy just any toffee.  This was hands down amongst the best I have ever had.  They also have a huge variety of fabulous almonds (we loved the butter toffee almonds) and pistachios.  I couldn't leave without the lemon chili flavored pistachio meats. 

Cowgirl Creamery

This one is for all you cheese lovers out there.  We're talking, walk into the store and the further in you go the more it smells like stinky feet kind of cheese lovers.  Oh yeah.  I personally love a good sharp cheese and am of course willing to try any and all cheese they want to freely sample to me :)  My sweets loves a good Gruyere so per the cheese connoisseur's suggestion, I brought him home some fabulous cheese called "challerhocker".

 It tastes divine and will be saved for a special dinner with filet mignon (coming soon with the 1/4 cow we just butchered ordered).

We loved their cheeses so much and ordered a plate of Roclette cheese over yukon gold potatoes and asparagus to share.  Our family has an annual tradition of eating rolette, so we had to try this one and were not disappointed.  Roclette is a Swiss cheese that is prepared on a roclette grill similar to fondue (i.e. you melt the roclette cheese and pour it over beef, veggies, bread, or even fresh fruit).  Your house will smell like a high school football team's locker room full of sweaty feet but the taste really doesn't match the smell.  Did that entice you to try it or what?

After our fabulous day at the Ferry Building, we had to do some more shopping, and ate dinner in the Mission District at a great little burger joint (ironically for their cobb salad and to-die-for sweet potato fries) so that we were near our final and ultimate food destination for the day...

Bi-Rite Creamery

This tiny hole in the wall ice cream shop is so worth a cab ride and even hour long wait if you have to.  Since it was pouring cats and dogs outside, we were able to get right in but I would seriously fly back there again just to go eat this ice cream.  They have outlandish flavors like "earl grey tea", "honey lavender", and "orange cardamom" yet somehow the flavors that seem so bizarre for ice cream just so work.

My two favorites were "salted caramel" which tastes just as it sounds though I also felt like it had almost a "burnt" flavor.  My other favorite was "brown sugar with ginger and caramel sauce".  I would never think of ginger in ice cream but oh my heavens.  It worked.  I literally had to savor every single bite and was so tempted to get more after my two scoops.  I kind of regret that I didn't actually.  Next time.

All in all, the trip revolved around great shopping, fabulous food and a few moments of relaxation for our mani/pedi.  Every mom deserves a break like this every now and again.

Also I need to brag quickly about one of my darling little dance students.  She performed the solo I choreographed for her in her first dance competition this weekend (which I sadly missed) and won Queen in her division.  I am so proud of her!

How was your weekend?



  1. I live in SF! Wish I would've known you were in town! Would have LOVED to meet you!

  2. oh lucky girl! What a fun city (minus the rain this past weekend). Next time I know I'm traveling somewhere I will post to see if any bloggy friends are in the area. You're sweet to say that! Do you frequent any of the food places I mentioned?

  3. Looks like MUCH FUN GIRL TIME!!
    Love the TOES! I need a pedi:)
    Love this post...thank you for linking up to Whassup Wednesday! Hope to see you tomorrow:)



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