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.