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Anniversary Trip Report December 20 - 22nd, 2013

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san diego
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Anniversary Trip Report December 20 - 22nd, 2013

My husband and I travelled with our daughter and her husband and our 26 year old son to San Francisco to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary. Our son-in-law is from Chicago and had never really seen San Francisco so we were excited to show him some of our old haunts. We met in the East Bay (Cal and Mills) and were married in Piedmont. We have not lived in the Bay Area since 1983 though we have visited frequently throughout the years as we still have family and friends there. Many of our choices on this trip have a nostalgic quality to them you will see. The weather throughout was gorgeous!

We arrived at OAK and hopped on the bus to Bart. We arrived at our hotel, Parc 55, within about an hour of our arrival at the airport…excellent. Dropped our bags and headed out to eat we ended up at Café Claude. Service was excellent and food was great. They were very nice about serving us lunch at a late hour, 4pm, even though they were setting up for dinner.

From lunch we headed to the cable car and hopped on about a block above Union Sq. The sun was beginning to set and the views were probably the best I’d ever seen on the cable car, just lovely. Popped into the Buena Vista for an Irish Coffee, as tasty as I remembered. Had conversations with several of the other patrons. It was lively and fun.

We walked down to the water and had a look around then headed up the hill, on foot, through North Beach to our next meal, Sotto Mare. We were seated in the basement, it was crowded with people celebrating a variety of things. We were served cake by one little girl at a nearby table. The food was excellent, as always. And the service entertaining.

After dinner we walked back to Union Square and hit Lefty O’Doul’s (maybe not our smartest move). Stayed a while and then headed back to the hotel bar to meet up with some local friends.

Saturday morning we were up a little too early to eat where I’d planned (Bluestem Brasserie) so we settled on Farmerbrown for breakfast. (See a food theme here?) I’d recommend it and it’s right around the corner from the hotel. Here we joined up with my son’s best friend. He was along for the next 24 hours, so now we’re six.

Walked east on Market and popped into the Palace Hotel to visit the Garden Court and the Pied Piper Bar. I used to work at the Wells Fargo Building (or it used to be called that) on Montgomery and we often celebrated with the steak tartare and oysters at the Garden Court. Again, we had conversations with others there celebrating anniversaries. Everyone was in a great mood.

Headed down to the Ferry Building which, as anticipated, was a zoo. My daughter had not seen it and we enjoyed looking at all the foods and people watching. But didn’t buy a thing. Walked to California and hopped the Cable Car all the way to Larkin. Again, the scenery was spectacular.

We then visited a friend at Contraband Coffee on Larkin. A good pick-me-up and great little coffee spot.

From there we grabbed a couple of cabs to the Park to visit the de Young. On the way I spotted the Swan Depot Oyster Bar the line was down the block at 3:30 in the afternoon. I was glad I’d not planned on a stop there.

We’d planned on visiting the Hockney exhibit but for a variety of reasons we nixed the plan and wandered around the park a bit. Cabbed it back downtown and had a meal at Le Central on Bush. Great time, good food.

By then the old folks were ready for a nap. The kids went out to a place in the Mission to visit a friend at work and we headed back to the hotel for a siesta.

Dinner that night was John’s Grill. Excellent steak for most of the table and I had the Petrale Sole for old time sake and it was fabulous.

Again back to the hotel to meet up with some friends and finish out the night.

We’d planned a big lunch so had a small bite at Norcini the café at the front of Villa Florence Hotel on Powell. Nice spot and excellent service, again.

Took a stroll around Union Square to look in the windows (not much to see) and pop into a couple of hotel lobbies. From here we retrieved our bags from the hotel and hit Bart heading to the Rockridge station.

Had a long, leisurely meal at Toast on College. Our son had worked there for a few years as a waiter and manager. He had a great time visiting his friends. They have a lovely patio and the weather was perfect.

Got an Uber car to the airport and enjoyed an uneventful flight home.

Thanks for all your up-to-date help in planning our trip. I’ve been lurking on the boards for months. A wonderful time was had by all.

PS the Parc 55 fit our needs perfectly. Nice views from the rooms and excellent, easy location.

San Francisco...
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1. Re: Anniversary Trip Report December 20 - 22nd, 2013

Thanks For The Great Trip Report! And Happy Anniversary!

Down Under
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2. Re: Anniversary Trip Report December 20 - 22nd, 2013

Great report.

Loved all your dining choices (apart from Lefty's).

Happy anniversary and thanks for the report.

San Francisco
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3. Re: Anniversary Trip Report December 20 - 22nd, 2013

Thanks for a great report. Sounds like fun -- and there is always the New Year to diet!!

San Francisco
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4. Re: Anniversary Trip Report December 20 - 22nd, 2013

Sounds like everyone had a great time – thanks for sharing all the little details. Details are always interesting to locals and helpful to people considering visiting.

** “(See a food theme here?)” **

Hee hee. You AND your stomachs had a good time!

** “Took a stroll around Union Square to look in the windows (not much to see)” **

The week before Christmas and not much to see? We’re sorry to hear that. Hope you got to see the adoptable animals in Macy’s windows.

Sacramento, CA
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5. Re: Anniversary Trip Report December 20 - 22nd, 2013

Thanks for the trip report.

We may have crossed paths. We were having a late breakfast in the Garden Court on Saturday morning. I remember talking to a group at the entrance to the Garden Court that matches your demographic and were celebrating an anniversary. You didn't happen to speak to a man with long brownish blonde hair, a white beard wearing a red shirt did you? ...no, I'm not Santa Claus. We were also at Cafe Claude the night before but they were booked so we ate at Claudine instead.

Edited: 28 December 2013, 05:30
Manhattan Beach...
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6. Re: Anniversary Trip Report December 20 - 22nd, 2013

Wonderful Anniversary trip report. You did many of our favorites things from having an Irish Coffee at Buena Vista to the Garden Court. Always fun to share places with friends and relatives.

san diego
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7. Re: Anniversary Trip Report December 20 - 22nd, 2013

Tripjunky, we did, indeed, speak to you at the Garden Court. Happy Anniversary to you both.

san diego
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8. Re: Anniversary Trip Report December 20 - 22nd, 2013

Frisco-RR, did not see any animals at Macy's. I always think of Macy's as having those odd windows that make you feel you're caught between floors on an elevator, haha. I guess I was thinking the other big store windows would be more Christmassy, they did show some lovely clothes, though.

We did head into City of Paris (NM) for a look at the rotunda. My daughter and I did some inappropriate giggling at the price of a pink ruffly bustier....$5000. Always fun to look!

San Francisco
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9. Re: Anniversary Trip Report December 20 - 22nd, 2013

Peg and TripJunky ... what an interesting coincidence!!

Peg ... if Macy's was open there would have been adoptable kittens in the windows at the corner of Stockton and O'Farrell ... it's a partnership with the SF/SPCA that's been running for the past 7-8 years.

Sacramento, CA
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10. Re: Anniversary Trip Report December 20 - 22nd, 2013

It only seems appropriate that such a pleasant couple would be a contributor to this Forum. Glad you enjoyed your time in one of our favorite cities.

My wife must have delved deeper into the depths of Neiman Marcus. She found a silk embroidered coat with a price tag of $48,900.00. My Facebook 'friends' had a heyday with that post.

I will have to post a TR soon. Have to prep for an upcoming trip first.

It was good to have met you.