Vintage Mixer Shopping and Dining in San Francisco

Shopping and Dining in San Francisco

Written by Becky

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

Boudin Bakery– perfect for clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl
Maverick– great American dinner or brunch in the Mission District
Delfina– Cal-Ital restaurant in the Mission District

Kabuto– highly recommended to me for their sushi
Gary Danko– fancy pants place with great wine list
Blue Bottle Coffee– local San Francisco coffee roasted vintage-style

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.

Comments (10)

  1. i adore san francisco and truly miss going every summer! it was great to relive through your pictures!

  2. You ate at Gary Danko? If so, tell us more. If not, what made it the one top shelf restaurant to get recommended vs. the other handful restaurants in the same class.

    Same thing about slanted door. I was never able to get in, but would like your thoughts.

    At times I hated flying to SF every week when I spent months working there, but I do miss not getting there regularly these days.

  3. I grew up in Walnut Creek and often went into San Francisco on the weekends. Every Christmas we went to Neiman Marcus to look at their beuatiful and enormous Christmas tree. So many memories and yummy restaurants.

  4. Shiffman, I didn't have enough time to try all of the places that were highly reviews or recommended to me. I wanted to go everywhere but my stomach can only handle so much! On this trip I didn't get a chance to visit Danko but a foodie friend of mine recommended it to me, so I know it would be wonderful. Also, I read all about Slanted Door and got to walk by it and peak in but didn't get to eat there on this trip!

    Boulette's Larder was fabulous as was Tadich Grill, Tartine Bakery, Maverick, and Bocadillos. If you go back you should definitely hit up the Ferry Building restaurants and shops!

  5. Hey Becky, We lived in the Pacific Heights neighborhood during Grad school and go every year in the late summer or early fall. Going in a few weeks and although we frequent the ferry building markets we have never eaten at any of the other places you reviewed. It's nice to have some new recommenations. Thanks and so glad you had an enjoyable trip with your Mom.

  6. I'll be in SF in October and I'm looking forward to trying out some of your recommendations. So glad you had a fun trip with your mom.

  7. What a great bonding time for you and mom. Sounds like you had a blast. Thanks for all the recommendations. I love the Ferry Building!

  8. thanks for the info- I was a bit lost there last year when I was there, now I will have better things to do this year in September:)

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