I always thought it would be fun to be a travel writer…well I’m not. But here’s a memorable experience during my single days riveted around food that still makes me smile. Perhaps you can save up and enjoy a fun weekend too, or even an evening or day trip and use a couple ideas for food. Foodies of the world never get bored traveling,eh?
“I need a vacation!” my friend declared a number of years ago.
“OK, where do you want to go…and when?” I asked states away.
“San Francisco!” she half-hollered. “Now.” Perfect for me—an hour and a half car drive from home…
Two weeks later I picked her up on a TGIF at the Sacramento airport winging in from Nashville. So far, she had as much fun planning the trip as getting there.
“I googled the nearest route and it’s 113 to Woodland,” she directed me right out the airport exit as I headed my routine left.
“I know how to get to San Francisco.” I wryly stated native born to the Bay Area.
She insisted this was quicker…reluctant, I gave in. “Ok, I’ll try something new.”
Sure enough we hit Woodland and exited at Main Street connecting us with 113 to Davis and shooting out to 80.
We saved time- impressive.
“We have to stop at La Bou! I dream about their almond croissants every time I know I’m coming.” After a quick call, my crestfallen passenger lamented, “There’s no La Bou’s outside of Sacramento in this area.” Seconds later she popped another request.
“I want to go to In and Out Burger! I’ve never seen them anywhere outside of California.” Interesting this is my Dad’s favorite “healthy’ fast food
“Wow, really?!” I learned another reason why I love California.
A few new reasons, surfaced beginning with our dinner at The Slanted Door located on Ferry One. It faces the lights of Treasure Island across the Bay offering a spectacular view of the Bay Bridge which grew more beautiful around 5pm, when the sky darkened into the black of night. The lights of the bridge flashed on resembling a swooping garland of lights suspended across the bay.
The dimly lit candlelight restaurant with the black walls and rich wood tables and floors hinted toward Asian design and corresponding cuisine. Since they serve family style ordering different main dishes means more to experience for all.
The scallops melted like butter. The filet mignon was soft and savory with an awesome sauce. The crunchy sensational jicama salad stole our palate; we were amazed to pull off to such a great start in our weekend of planned progressive meals in the City that crossroads all cultures and chefs into one dining dynasty.
We were surprised and delighted. The sauces were out of this world. Awesome sauce.
The pink bulb curled in our tea actually flowered as we waited for the hot water to cool. It was delightful to drink from our fragrant glass—like sipping a garden.
Following dinner our eyes feasted on grace and agility produced by the San Francisco Ballet Company, topped by the rhythmic rhapsody and engaging choreography of Divertimento no 15, truly a beautiful thing.
Saturday morning we bubbled with excitement decking out in our finest clothes for the weekend…at midday. Rumor had it this was a gala affair; it was dress up time. Eagerly we caught our cab and spun our gossamer dreams down to the lower floor of the Ritz. A couple rich paintings that resembled those decorating the walls of museums in Europe begged our attention. Otherwise the room we bequeathed did little to stir our imagination.
The $32 course of the Chef’s best further failed to deliver the dining wonderland we’d anticipated. Other than the sorbet cream desert, from the olive bread to the tasteless salad and the lackluster pumpkin sauce over ahi, we each left the Ritz much like Cinderella fled the ball, losing a slipper and as quickly as we could.
But that night a divine mistake led to a dinner spot as Delfina’s which was next door to Delfina’s Pizzeria (the intended). We encountered an unexpected surprise. I’ve never watched anyone mince garlic with a huge knife so quick and effortless…as their designated human garlic chopper.
Delfina’s delivered. First, the bread was “the best bread I’ve ever had in my whole life.” “Where did it come from?” The bakery on the corner makes it fresh everyday… it’s called the Country Loaf,” our waitress gladly imbibed. We just looked at each other wide-eyed as happy hungry monkeys swinging into a banana plantation. The half carafe’ of fruity banana pineapple and and Gavi di Gavi Villa Sparina 2005 Piemonte created a hearty toast of triumph. Once again we were on a good track…
Check for specials. Amazingly, the rates for a hotel in SF can be cheap on the weekends. Our Marriott for 2 queen beds $87. Same with a Hyatt special once for 2 doubles $87.
It’s often cheaper to use hotel parking for $25- $35 for 24 hours… take taxi, bart and walk.
Cabs start at $3.50 in the city ½ mile. (beats looking for parking space and $$ if weekend)
Bring an envelope of dollar bills and fives for the taxi’s, buses and tips,
If you choose Uber download the app and set up your charge card on the smart phone ahead of time.
Travelocity for restaurant reviews.
Trivago works for comparing hotel prices.
Priceline for last minute specials, Hotel Tonight and vrbo.com provide options.