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Trip Report Fantastic Food Weekend in San Francisco!

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To beat the heat and humidity in the South Carolina Low Country a quick 5 day holiday weekend trip to San Francisco was in the cards and that's where mom and I spent the July 4th weekend.

We scored a good airfare on Delta. At $300 round trip per ticket from Savannah to SFO, we were happy with the price and we'd accrue about 5,000 sky miles! When I started looking for hotels, room rates were above the $200 mark. I turned to Hotwire.com and snatched up a hotel for $120 per night. The hotel was Le Meridien on Battery Street in the Financial District, and a short 10 minute walk to the Ferry Building and Market Street. For us, it was a great location and we really liked this hotel. The staff was accommodating, the room was impeccably clean and since we were given a handi-capped room, it was spacious with a peek-a-boo view of the Bay Bridge.

Thursday, June 30th

The alarm clock goes off at 3:30am, yes, I booked another 6:30am flight. On the bright side, we got upgraded on the flight from Savannah to Atlanta, the connection in Atlanta was smooth and we landed in San Francisco 20 minutes early.

I have to mention the fact that I haven't traveled by air much during the summer months, usually I'm trotting the globe in spring, fall or winter, so I had a few instances of eyes-popping out of my head when seeing some of the fashion choices of my fellow travelers made. I know it can be hot in the south during June, July and August, but really people, do we need to see THAT much skin? Leave something to the imagination!

Since we were in economy class for the flight to San Francisco we stopped and bought 2 Wolfgang Puck pre-made sandwiches in the airport to have for our lunch during the flight. In spite of the whopping calorie count (which I don't even want to think about!) and the price ($9.00 each) they were really good and I'd buy them again. In honesty we held off bringing our own lunch in hopes we'd get upgraded on the San Francisco flight and when we realized that wouldn't happen mom dashed over to the sandwich stand so we'd have something other than the Delta lunch offerings.

One last thing to mention about the flight to San Francisco, the pilot and crew were terrific! The pilot kept us, the passengers, informed about flight duration, weather, and turbulence throughout the whole flight and I don't know if it was just a better PA system, or better pilot enunciation but I could actually understand every word he said...usually I can only catch every other word and it sounds like the teacher on the old Peanuts cartoons...waah-waah-waah.

We arrive in San Francisco just before 12noon and since we didn't check our bags, once off the plane we headed directly for the Airtrain which would connect us with BART. We bought the BART tickets at the ticket machine right before getting on the train. It was $8.10 for a one way ticket from SFO to the Embarcadero station in San Francisco. By 1pm we were walking off BART and to the MUNI ticket desk located in this particular station.

Before walking to the hotel we stopped at the MUNI ticket desk to purchase our 3 day Muni tickets for $20 this allowed us unlimited transport on MUNI operated buses, streetcars, and cable cars, it does not include BART. I've used these 3 day tickets before and found them to be well worth the money, especially for us since we had plans to have dinner at a restaurant in Noe Valley and the Mission district, so instead of taking taxis I managed to map out the bus or streetcar routes we could take by using the MUNI website trip planner.

From the Embarcadero BART station it was about a 10 minute easy/flat walk to Le Meridien hotel at 333 Battery Street. Since it was still before their posted check-in time I wasn't sure if a room would be ready, but we got lucky and they had a room available. We had our choice, we could have a standard room on the 5th floor or a handi-capped room on the 15th floor. We took the 15th floor option and glad we did. As mentioned above it was spacious and had a nice view.

After a short rest and freshening up we walked to the Ferry Building, a place we just love and browsed around a bit and then headed to Hog Island Oysters for their Happy Hour specials. They run these specials on Mondays and Thursdays between 5pm & 7pm. We were seated at about 4:45pm but had to wait until 5pm to start ordering the Happy Hour menu. The special is a selected oyster, the ones this day happened to be from Washington State, for $1.35 each, the selected wines were $6 a glass and there were a few other specially priced items including a bowl of olives for $3 which were pretty darn good.

This was the first time mom and I ever had raw oysters and boy were they good, so fresh and briny tasting. We started by ordering just eight since we weren't sure if we'd like them or not, but once we finished those first eight we ordered eight more. We were lucky to arrive at Hog Island when we did, because there was already a line forming, but we were able to get a table right away, when we left about an hour later, the line to get in snaked through the shop adjacent to the restaurant...it pays to arrive early for Happy Hour and wait. We got there about 30 minutes before the 5pm start time.

Just before 6pm we left Hog Island and walked to Rouge et Blanc Wine Bar near Union Square. I found this place during my trip planning when I was looking for a wine bar near to the restaurant where we had dinner reservations. The place was pretty crowded when we walked it, and it seemed to attract a young crowd. There was nothing really remarkable about the place, the service was fine and we had 2 glasses of wine here to kill time before our 7pm dinner reservation.

Dinner this first night in San Francisco was at E&O Trading Company located at 314 Sutter Street. When I started planning this trip I mentioned to a friend who lives in the Bay Area I'd be in San Francisco in late June/early July and she forwarded me a link to a Travel Zoo local deal for this restaurant.

For $60 we'd get $126 worth of food and drinks. I thought it was a good deal and bought it and made a dinner reservation. We had mixed feelings about this place. Some of our choices were definitely hit and miss. The menu is Pan-Asian and we started with the corn fritters, which are a house speciality. These were unlike any fritter I had ever had. They were not the batter-type fritter I've become accustomed to, but simply kernels of corn and peas and I'm not sure how these massive misshaped fritters where bound together, but they did have an interesting taste and texture and my advice to you if you ever have these, is to definitely douse them in the accompanying sauce, the sauce really raised the flavor level!

For appetizers we had the shitaki mushroom dumplings with foie miso....ding-ding-ding...this was definitely a winning dish! I could have easily eaten twice as many as were served, these were very tasty. We also ordered the dungeness crab dip which was also excellent, however, the server forgot about this dish and when we asked it was brought to the table with our main courses.

For our main dishes we both had the shaking beef, which our server told us was the specialty of the house. I thought it was passable, mom didn't like it at all. The beef was served in very big chunks, that weren't very tender and they were placed on a plate heaping with cilantro, sauteed tomatoes and onion. Although we like cilantro, even for us, this seemed a little excessive.

The meal included two drinks, which would generally be an Asian twist on a margarita, but we were told we could replace it with any wine on the list under $10 a glass, so we each had a glass of Honig sauvignon blanc. Dessert was also included and we, or I should rightly say me because mom is not into desserts, picked the chocolate silk road cake, which was good, but nothing out of the ordinary. Mom had a coffee, which was $5 extra, but they served it in a french press and it was Illy coffee and mom said it was one of the best parts of the meal. We also had an order of jasmine rice which wasn't included in the "deal". The total bill for the meal (not counting the $60 paid for the Travel Zoo deal) was $15 and then we tipped on what would have been the total amount of the check with out the deal.

We left the restaurant just after 8pm and walked back to the hotel. It was a beautiful evening, still light outside and a cool breeze and barely any humidity! A great way to end a long travel day.

Coming up next...more of the Ferry Buidling and a gourmet food walking tour in Hayes Valley

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