I love San Francisco. It's another one of those places that begs to be revisited often, at least once a year. Do I visit once a year? No, no I don't but I sure want to. California is a feel-good kind of state in general but San Francisco really feels good, at least for me. A combination of the great people, relaxed attitude, local food culture and all around creativeness of the city is I think, what makes it so special. As a tourist, there are many great things to see and do whilst visiting. Whether it's Fisherman's wharf, Alcatraz, Chinatown, Union Square, the Golden Gate, or a quick trip to wine country (which I'll write about next), there really is something for everyone. For me, it's the amazing food & wine culture and top-notch restaurant scene that gets me most excited. Let's go!
Highway 101, north of the city. If you have never experienced driving on this coastline put it on your bucket list. Truly magnificent! This drive makes it on my top ten road trip list for sure. Some words of caution: Do make sure to choose your vehicle wisely. Don't do this in a motor home unless you like the feeling of driving on the edge of a cliff, literally. Parts of this road have actually fallen into the ocean below, making for a great picture, but not such a fun ride. Rent a petite sports car and have at er! :)
See what I mean?
The Golden Gate Bridge on a beautiful day.
Green and Columbus intersection just south of Washington square.
Exploring the streets of Chinatown.
A boutique mushroom shop in the Ferry building. Seriously? A shop devoted to mushrooms? How is this even fair?!?! If only I could have bought some of those fungi and cooked with them! I would absolutely love to live in this city and take advantage of all this wonderful produce. Fresh figs anyone??? If you are going and are available to do some self-catering be sure to check out Bi-rite Market, which I hear is excellent. The Ferry building also has a farmer's market on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Budget Travel offers some tips on San Francisco markets here.
A view of the Oakland Bay Bridge from my fantastic room at the W hotel, Union Square.
Okay, now for some dining... First spot: Contigo Kitchen & Cava. I loved the creative rustic-ness of the outdoor dining here, very Spanish.
This place was the perfect answer to Spanish tapas in San Francisco. The local sourdough played a starring role, but so did the amazing Jamón ibérico de Bellota and most delicious version of tomato bread I have ever had. So simple yet so amazing! The wine list at Contigo offers an awesome selection of cava's and Spanish wine. I thoroughly enjoyed the Avinyó rose Cava and this was the first place where I came across Raventós Cava, the Cava estate that I ended up visiting a year later.
Fried food that's worth it: Croquetas de Jamón, a tradition Spanish tapas in which ham and bechamel are combined together then deep-fried. I may be a health food geek but I can also be a croqueta freak! :)
It may sound silly but this is seriously the kind of food that I dream about! Pictured above were the most amazing calamares a la planxa. These were so good we proceeded to order a second serving.
A traditional flan finished off the amazing evening of Spanish food and wine. The whole experience at Contigo was excellent. I highly recommend this place!
Next up: A16.
Before hoping in the cab to A16 we asked the concierge at the hotel if there was any particular dish she recommended. She said that we must try the burrata. Not for the faint of dairy heart, this is essentially Italian mozzarella with cream. I'm glad we asked because this was truly incredible. I have had burrata in a few other places and this remains the best.
Sunset by the piers.
I will be going again to this great city in September and am so excited to tackle more restaurants that are on my list. If you have any suggestions, let me know!