In the summer of 1999...
- I was 18 years old.
- I had just completed my freshman year of college.
- I visited San Francisco/Napa for the first time.
That was fourteen years ago. And, until recently, it had been that long since I last visited the Bay Area. When my friend, Emily moved to SF (as the locals call it) a little over a year ago, I promised to come visit just as soon as time would allow. And what better than a long holiday weekend in November?
Being that all I had, in terms of days to take from work, was Veteran's Day (Monday), I wanted to maximize my time in California. And, by that, I mean not spending a ridiculous amount of it in the air. After all, the flight time from coast to coast is roughly 6-hours!
JetBlue is so 5 years ago, by the way. Virgin, my friends, is the only way to fly to San Francisco. From the sexy mood lighting in the cabin - electrical outlets in every seat - and the ability to order food, drink, and retail products from your personal in-flight monitor to the awesome/hysterical pre-flight safety video, Virgin is the shit. Period.
After Emily picked me up from the airport, she drove me through a few of her favorite neighborhoods prior to our brunch reservations. I made sure that we cruised through The Castro, a predominately gay/lesbian neighborhood, with which I became intimately familiar after having read And The Band Played On.
For brunch, Emily and I scored two seats at the chef's counter at Nopa, one of SF's most popular restaurants...
Before you start judging, I will have you know that Emily and I *split* all of the above dishes. And, yes, they were just as fcuking fantastic as they look!
560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117
After brunch, we drove by a few more sights before returning to Emily's apartment so that I could nap. For dinner that evening, we enjoyed a pizza and pasta carb-fest at local Italian favorite, Flour + Water. In fact, I'm *still* dreaming about the white pizza we shared that was topped with hen of the woods mushrooms, nettles, shallots, garlic, and fontina cheese.
2401 Harrison St, San Francisco, CA 94110
On Sunday, Emily, her friend, Katherine, and I headed to Napa via the Golden Gate Bridge!
After a long day of wine tasting (I know, rough life!), we checked in to the Andaz Napa. What a fabulous hotel!
815 Main St, Napa, CA 94559
For breakfast, we grabbed a bite at the hotel's restaurant, Andaz Farmers Table.
After checking out of the hotel, we drove to O'Brien Estate Winery for our first tasting of the day.
For lunch, we drove to Sonoma and ate al-fresco at The Girl & The Fig.
110 W. Spain St, Sonoma, CA
After visiting two more wineries, including Ram's Gate, which was my overall favorite, the three of us drove back to San Francisco. On our way, I learned that the infamous maximum-security prison, San Quentin, is located in ritzy Marin County! Random.
For my last handful of hours in San Fran, Emily and I decided to do what we do best...eat! We were able to score a two-top at local favorite, Burma Superstar.
309 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118
I really enjoyed my visit to San Francisco and Napa. As a total NYC food snob, I was very pleasantly surprised by the abundance of outstanding local producers, gourmet shops, restaurants, and cocktail venues. I think I've met my West Coast match.
Until we eat again,
The Lunch Belle