Help with a SF itinerary in Oct, please


Sep 26th, 2004, 01:57 PM
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Help with a SF itinerary in Oct, please

My best friend, a business friend and I arrive in San Francisco on Thursday afternoon, Oct. 7th. Two of us have been there before but my BF has not. (We also are meeting my business partners' friend from Seattle.) T (my business partner) and I have both been there before but my BF has not. We have done lots of research on this board and through travel books but would appreciate it if you would please critique our plans and give us the wisdom of your experience. We are staying at Harbour Court Hotel on the Embarcadero. We arrive on Thursday and leave Tuesday morning with the only "set in stone" as a business meeting in Oakland on Monday at 10:00 a.m. Our interests are seeing as much of the city as possible, eating great food and drinking great wine (without breaking our bank) and appreciating what makes the area/city unique.

Any suggestions for that Thursday evening? Dinner at Slanted Door, maybe? Have to be back at hotel to meet Seattle friend that night.

We plan on renting a car on Friday to make a trip to the Russian River valley with a redwoods visit squeezed in. Any suggestions on must see wineries? Can we squeeze in a beach walk on this day along with the redwoods? Maybe a picnic at some point? We chose this day because Saturday will be packed in the valley and Sunday is a busy day for traffic coming back into the city. Agree with that choice?

Saturday, I thought we would visit the Ferry Building farmers market before catching a Gray Line City Tour. That afternoon, we thought we would maybe do a walking tour of Chinatown (better on Sunday morning?).

After that, the slate is clean. We know we want to spend time on Fishermans Wharf, just enjoying the people watching. Alcatraz is out- none of us have any interest in that but a bay cruise might be cool. Would love to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge again. Would like to visit SOMA just because I live in Arkansas and believe it or not, we don't have modern art museums here! We do want to blow the budget one night for dinner, hopefully on Monday night when my boss is there to pay. Suggestions for that?

Please help us! We appreciate it!
edhodge is offline  
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Sep 26th, 2004, 02:11 PM
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Just to avoid doubling back, why not make a reservation now for lunch at The Slanted Door on Saturday after you visit the market at the Ferry Building. Then you're right there, although I realize you're very close anyway.
Do you want a really wonderful, but not pretentious dinner? -- go to Boulevard on the Embarcadero. Maybe that's where you let your boss pay?
Patrick is offline  
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Sep 26th, 2004, 02:52 PM
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Be sure to get out on the Bay. A good way to do that is the ferry to Sausalito and back. Sausalito is fun for shopping and lunch. Great views!
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Sep 26th, 2004, 11:38 PM
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I agree with the suggestion of Boulevard for dinner. It is within walking distance of your hotel and hopefully open on Monday. I suggest asking your concierge to reserve for you and you'll probably get a better table. Reserve ASAP.Plouf-french seafood but specializes in Mussels. You can eat outside in an alley way that feels like Paris. Then there are some other possibilities:Cortez(still hot and small plates)Gary Danko-yum and a fantastic cheese course(this could be a budget breaker).The Tadich Grill-great old seafood in the financial district. A quintessential SF experience. The suggestion for lunch at the Slanted Door(which is also in the Ferry Building is a good one). There are many possibilities at the Ferry Building on your market day. If you don't want to reserve, you might try Taylor's Refresher, Mistral, the Japanese Deli(forgot the name) and Traci de Jardins's new Mexican place there as well. Sitting out on the deck on the water in the midst of the market is a great way to get a taste of SF. You might also (especially since you are from Arkansas) consider Dim Sum at Yank Sing(in the Rincon Annex) also within walking distance of your hotel. You might consider this on the weekend but also be prepared for a bit of a wait. It's pretty good dim sum I've only had better in Vancouver,BC. Yank Sing also has a take out counter but I think the experience of sitting down and ordering from the carts that are wheeled around will also be a great SF experience. I'd also suggest a walk around North Beach which you can do even following the tour of Chinatown(just cross Broadway). You might consider dinner there as well. Check these archives or for suggestions.
There are wonderful wines for the tasting in the Russian River Valley. Check out for suggestions. You can lunch in a variety of places. I suggest checking out the town of Healdsburg. If Zazu in Forestville is open for lunch check it out. I think it is always better to check out these places during the week, especially during a month as glorious as October. You can fit in a visit to the redwoods and the beach with a tour of Muir Woods and a walk along the beach all sorts of places(even Stinson Beach). You could wind your way up to the Russian River Valley for tastings and lunch and then venture out to the coast at Jenner and drive down 1 stopping at Muir Woods and Stinson on your way back to the city. You could drive over Mt. Tam and end up in Mill Valley continuing on to the city from there. It will be a very full day.Depending on the length of your business meeting you might consider lunch at Chez Panisse. It will be about 30 minute drive max to Berkeley's "Gourmet Ghetto" and a lunch there is definitively "California". You can reserve as well in advance.
All of the places I've (and others have suggested) should be fine for a group. Regarding MOMA-their cafe is fine for lunch or you can walk a few blocks over and have a good group lunch at LuLu(family style..again the mussels are great).
PamSF is offline  
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Sep 27th, 2004, 03:53 AM
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These suggestions are wonderful, especially the ones involving mussels. I have been home from Ireland for only one week and already miss the mussels.

Is there any part of SF that is a must see that I haven't already mentioned? Is a city tour a good idea to start the weekend?
edhodge is offline  
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Sep 27th, 2004, 08:15 AM
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Welcome to S.F.! If you are taking a day to tour the Russian River area, do take Route 116 (the road which goes through Guernevile) all the way out to the coast. The coast in the Jenner area is spectacular. If you have time during your day of winery visits, do go to Armstrong Redwoods - just a very short jog out of your way at Guerneville, and a great place to see the tall trees.

You might want to combine visiting the Saturday morning market at the Ferry Plaza with a boat ride to Sausalito. Go early so you can buy some sandwiches and fruit to take along for lunch.

I go out to dinner at least every 10 days or so in San Francisco, and the list of good restaurants is endless. I like the suggestion of Cortez from a previous poster - I enjoyed a nice and innovative meal there. Boulevard and Slanted Door are both good, and certainly close to your hotel. Now if you're serious about food rather than the "scene", here's two addresses that are definitely off the tourist track and which you might enjoy:

Chez Spencer
82 14th Street (at Folsom)
Tucked away in an industrial neighborhood. I had one of the best meals so far this year at Chez Spencer. You definitely need to take a cab to this location.

Chez Papa
1404 18th Street
In the Portrero Hill neighborhood - very interesting and offbeat. Chez Papa is always packed - for good reason (I think it's the handsome waiters). Seriously, try it out - if the "beignet du jour" is on offer, try it - it's usually a savory one as a first course. Again, a destination that might be easier on you via cab from downtown.
dovima is offline  
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Sep 27th, 2004, 11:42 AM
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Hi there, we are from Seattle and just spent a great weekend in SF! Fabulous meals....mmmmm....

My report is here!
stormygirl is offline  
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Sep 27th, 2004, 02:28 PM
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I just wanted to second the motion to get out on the bay. Whether you go out for a bay cruise, to alcatraz, to angel island, on a hornblower dinner cruise - whatever, just go out on the water.

I was just out there yesterday and it was spectacular. We went out on a replica of an 1814 tall ship for a sunset cruise out of Sausalito. Talk about an experience! We even got to help raise and lower the sails and the captain set off a couple charges in the cannon. Lots of fun. The weather was great - clear, windy but not too cold, and the moon was almost full. Floating around under an almost full moon was incredible.

I don't know how long this ship will be in port in Sausalito, but if anybody is interested, it's called the Lynx. I'm sure there is a web site.
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Sep 30th, 2004, 04:02 AM
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Wow, you guys gave us some great advice! Here is what we have planned/scheduled so far.

Thursday: Following PamSF's advice, we are going to play it by ear at the Ferry Building, just catch dinner where ever grabs our attention.

Friday: Russian River Valley, following dovima's advice of Route 116 with woods and beach and wine.

Saturday: City tour in the morning with drop off at Fisherman's Wharf, piddle around down there through the afternoon, ferry to Sausalito for the 6:00 boarding of the Hawaiian Chieftan, the tall ship. We have a Fireworks Sail scheduled and we are so excited. We were told to dress in layers, hats and gloves- think skiing. Yikes! (actually sounds so fun!)

How the heck are we going to get back to SF? We disembark at 9:30 and there are no ferries or buses. Will we be able to get a taxi and if so, can anyone tell me approximate cost?

Sunday: probably do a Chinatown walk and grab some dim sum at Yank Sing, depends on what everyone fell in love with on the city tour. Reservations at Boulevard that night.

Monday: business meeting in Oakland at 10:00. Haven't narrowed down the dinner choice for that night but we certainly have a lot of good leads from you guys.

You are wonderful. If someone can help me with transportation back from Sausalito, that would be fantastic. Thank you!

edhodge is offline  
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Sep 30th, 2004, 07:39 AM
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I'd call Golden Gate Transit and make absolutely sure that there aren't any buses going through Sausalito around 10:00 p.m. I tend to think perhaps the #50 bus coming from Novato does stop in Sausalito. A cab would not be too outrageous - I'm guessing about $35.00 plus tip and bridge toll - and it really might be worth it if you are chilled and tired from your boating experience.

I do hope our weather reverts back to "Indian Summer" by next week for you!
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