While in the U.S. M.E. and I visited the girls in San Francisco in mid August. Margot’s been living there for about a year and Meredith flew in from Jackson, WY where she moved after graduating from college in May.
Margot had arranged a very detailed itinerary where we would eat our way through many of San Francisco’s fine restaurants located in the many unique areas of the city. Her tour showcased the diversity of the well known food culture of the city and featured highly acclaimed restaurants to some outstanding local neighborhood establishments.
ME, Meredith and I arrived very late Thursday evening. Margot met us the next morning at the hotel and off we went. We started with a little tour around the Fisherman’s Wharf area.
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We next took the famous F Line trolley, which partially runs along the wharfs to the Ferry Building. But before I go any further I want to tell you about the F Line. The history of it goes back to 1915 but I am going to start in 1982 when San Francisco’s famous cable car system was shut down for two years to be completely rebuilt. To provide an alternative tourist attraction the city began in 1983 the San Francisco Historic Trolley Festivals. During the summers the city ran vintage streetcars on their Market Street line. The Trolley Festival was so successful that they repeated it every your until 1987 when plans were made to make it a permanent line. In 1995 the F line was opened which featured streetcars from all over the country and even several tram cars from San Francisco’s sister city Milan, Italy.
OK, there is a connection to this little bit of history. My dad grow up in the Olney section of Philadelphia where the Weber family owned a hardware store. These exact some streetcars ran up and down 5th street the main business section on Olney. As kids my siblings and I spent many years working for the family business and would sometimes take rides on the trolleys. While waiting for a trolley in San Francisco to take us to the Ferry Building an original Philadelphia SPETA streetcar pulled up. The ride brought back many memories from long ago. Here is a shout out to my sister who has many fond memories of this unique part of our lives.
The Ferry Building is a beautiful old hall along the waterfront which now houses wonderful restaurants, farmers market and food stores. This one building typifies all of San Francisco which for me is great food. We met several of Margot’s friends at Hog Island Oyster just before noon and had a selection of West coast oysters, bread and champagne while sitting on the dock overlooking the Bay Bridge. From there we walked several blocks to recently opened Coqueta, a Spanish tapas restaurant by celebrity chef Michael Chiarello. Wow, I would highly recommend this place. From there we went to Rainbow Grocery an amazing organic market in the Mission District of SF. It has all kinds of organic food, if it is made organically they have it. We ended up in late afternoon at a roof top bar called El Techo de Lolinda on Mission Street. Known for its great drinks and food, wonderful views of San Francisco and a very cliché crowd. We then took a long walk down Valencia Street to get ready for our final meal of the day.
We ended up at The Cavalier several blocks off Union Square. Margot works here. It’s a London-inspired brasserie and the third award winning restaurant opened by a trio of restaurateurs in San Francisco. To say the least we were given the royal treatment. A lot of extra plates landed on our table for us to pass around and sample. We met many of the staff, the management team and even got a tour of the kitchen. Highly recommend this lovely place. And that was day one!
Without going into a lot of detail, Margot’s boss arranged for us to visit two wineries the next day. We got the in-the-trade treatment. It is very common in the food industry, to extend fellow foodies, personal attention, for example when visiting wineries and reduced prices on your purchases, plus extras. The first vineyard we visited was called J Vineyards & Winery. Never heard of them? We learned there are many very fine vineyards all around the valley who produce small lots, in this case 10,000 cases of each wine that are never sold outside of the state. This is one of them. On a lovely afternoon we sat outside and enjoyed a food paring with a flight of wines. We order two meat parings and two cheese paring that was prepared specifically to the particular wine. It was very cool and very good.
We stopped in Tiburon on our return from wine country. This is a little town across the bay with great views of San Francisco. We had a few drinks and some seafood on the docks while enjoying the view. That evening we met up with more of Margot’s friends at a place called Maven in Lower Haight, know for very good small plates and creative drinks.
The last place I will mention is The Ramp. On Sunday evening before M.E. and I returned to Midland MI, we stopping at The Ramp, a rustic restaurant on the docks overlooking Alameda Island. On Sunday afternoon and evenings they feature an outdoor BBQ and dancing to live Salsa music. There was a 10 piece band, singer and a crowed dance floor. All very entertaining.
If you ever get a chance to go to San Francisco and you love good food and wine, write to Margot. I am putting her on the spot here, but do write. She will be able to set you up or give you some wonderful ideas of where to go to sample some of the finest food offered in San Francisco. Write me and I will send you her details.