For mother’s day, I organized a weekend trip for my mom and I to travel to San Francisco. In her recent travels an airline lost all of her luggage. Her favorite items in her wardrobe happened to be in there. Luckily, they refunded her for her lost items but she rarely shops for herself, so I decided we needed a girls-only weekend to replace her lost clothes and spend special time together.
I did some research on local places to eat near our hotel and found some fantastic restaurants you must visit if you are ever in the area.
It was a weekend not soon forgotten. We walked the streets of downtown San Francisco, explored China town and Telegraph Hill, shopped, ate and shopped.
My mother, an ex-fashion designer, knows a lot about the fashion industry. It is a treat to walk around Neiman Marcus or Saxs Fifth Avenue with her and hear her stories on the industry and some of her favorite designers. Combine her pickiness and her love for daughters and granddaughters, she hasn’t shopped for herself much. But this weekend I was determined to help her find some things she loved. And after much searching we found several things while enjoying conversation about fashion along the way.
She told me about Emilio Pucci, a designer who used lots of geometrical shapes in his designs and whose designs were used for Braniff Airlines(originated in Texas). We walked past a Salvatore Ferragamo shop, my grandmother’s favorite shoe brand, and we walked through Sacks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, Bloomingdales, and Neiman Marcus. Tired and dehydrated from all the walking and shopping, we stopped for lemonade at the Neiman Marcus Cafe just like my mom used to do at the Lord and Taylor Cafe on 5th Avenue when she lived in New York (1967-69). She told me stories of eating soup and apple pie with cheese on top at this department store cafe on a Saturday afternoon in New York City.
We stayed within walking distance of the Ferry Building, which housed some of the best restaurants in the city. Also, it’s quite the spot for buying specialty food items, and the location of the San Francisco Farmers Market every Saturday. I tried Blue Bottle Coffee for the first time and fell in love with its rich, smooth flavor. We watched them pour the coffee for each individual cup through a siphen, creating the perfect single cup. We also had small fruit galettes from a bakery inside the Ferry Building, Frog Hollow Farm, which sells products from their local Californian farm.
The rich history of the Tadich Grill, originating in 1949, drew us in for a special seafood dinner and red wine. Filled with grey haired waiters who’d been working their for over twenty years and surrounded by dark wood and stain glass, this seafood grill was the ultimate historic landmark for dining in San Francisco.
We also couldn’t resist all of the hype surrounding the Mission District Bakery, Tartine, and rode an old street car to that area of town just for a chocolate pot and a lemon tart. Walk around the corner to see the beautiful Dolores Mission, established in 1776.
Every dining choice that we made turned out to be delicious. Here are a few recommendations:
Tartine Bakery– famous bakery in the Mission District with Tartine Bakery Cookbook
Bocadillos– famous tapas bar with the cookbook Pintxos: Small Plates
Tadich Grill– historic seafood restaurant in the Financial District
Boulette’s Larder– communal-styled dining for breakfast and lunch with fresh local ingredients
Frog Hollow Farm– bakery using ingredients from their local farm, beautiful fruit galettes and parfaits
Slanted Door– hip Vietnamese restaurant in the Ferry Building
Here is a great local San Francisco restaurant review blog to check out: No Salad
We also used a few of these San Francisco walking tours from National Geographic to guide us around Chinatown and Telegraph Hill.