San Francisco Guide 2015 – Places to eat and visit
I’m still getting acclimatised to the Californian heat following me back here in London with memories from my amazing trip still resounding in my head. I had a great holiday with lots of quality time with family and friends and attending my old friend’s beautiful wedding in Napa. If you follow me on social media then you would know what I have been up to but in case you haven’t been keeping up to date I thought that I would do a round up from my instagram photos and others which I took from my trip and share with you some of the places I went to visit and to eat.
Places to Visit:
Legion of Honor – One of San Francisco’s many outstanding museums and one of it’s most beautiful. Displays include a large collection of 4,000 years of ancient European art in a breath taking building overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. The building was built to commemorate Californian soldiers who died in World War I. Unfortunately it was overcast the day we went so there was not view to take a photo of, but there was a lot to take in nonetheless.
I went specifically to see the ”High Style” exhibition which showcased the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection. The collection includes pieces by influential European designers such as Chanel, Dior and Lanvin and trace the evolution of fashion in the 20th Century as well as fashion worn by American women which reflected the nation’s tastes and affairs going on at the time.
American designers such as Norman Norell and Charles James which I have never had the pleasure of coming across. I loved the way that James’s ball gowns were shown in the exhibition and they were all displayed with a video showcasing the intricate work and pattern cutting which goes along with creating these masterpieces.
The museum also has a beautiful cafe which serves amazing hot dogs with an amazing mustard, so if you get there and you’re a little hungry then don’t delay.
For more information please visit their website.
Asian Art Museum – Another beautiful museum not far from the centre of the city in a large period building. The Asian Art Museum is a fusion between modern and historical art and it is perfectly reflected in the architecture of the building which to me was reminiscent of the British Museum.
The museum houses historical art pieces from all over Asia all displayed beautifully flowing together. At the moment there is a exhibition called “28 Chinese” which is modern pieces from China from the Rubell family scattered throughout the museum. Check out my previous blog post for more photos and information, or for more information visit their website.
De Young Museum – Located in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, opposite the California academy of Sciences and surrounded by beautiful gardens the De Young’s modern building is unlike the other 2 museums I visited on my trip.
The De Young provides San Francisco with a landmark art museum to showcase priceless collections of American art from the 17th through to the 20th centuries, textile arts and art of Africa, Oceania and the Americas. This vast building has loads of big exhibition spaces which house interesting artefacts such as Mexican art, American art, and Chihuli pieces showing the difference in art throughout time.
If you have the chance on a nice day, sit in their sculpture garden outside of the cafe, it is a great environment to have a bite to eat or even just a drink. For more information please visit their website, also please note that unlike London you have to pay for entry to all museums in San Francisco.
Stanford shopping mall – Shopping is high on my agenda when going to the US, there is so many brands and products which we don’t have in the UK or never heard of. I will do another blog post on what brands I discovered, however I wanted to share this beautiful open-air shopping centre in the heart of Silicon Valley which is outside of central San Francisco. This mall is great to walk around it has great stores such as Bloomingdale’s Macy’s, Nordstrom, Johnny Was (my new favourite boho brand), Nike and Splendid. Plenty of great stores and plenty of great places to eat, one of our favourites was Max’s Cafe who does a great crab cake benedict and great fresh ice tea.
For more information please visit their website.
Walnut Creek – This city located in the East region of the San Francisco Bay Area and my family bought me here as my cousin used to work in this area. It is easily accessible by BART and the centre has loads of great stores including a Lulu Lemon and Sephora which aren’t as busy as those in the centre of town. This charming place has some great places to have a drink, grab some lunch and some great shops. Just have a little walk around, it gives you a different perspective of San Francisco life in the suburbs.
Hayes Street – I can only think of this street as having a bit of a Shoreditch vibe to it. Loads of independent restaurants, bars, and shops just wander along this street and pop into the shops which take your fancy. There is a great little wine merchant called Arlequin where you can buy a glass or a bottle of wine and sit there and drink, there is also a great garden out back where you can sit as well.
Korbin Kameron Tasting Room – We went to Napa for the weekend and went to historic downtown Glen Ellen to visit our friends at the Korbin Kameron tasting room. This beautiful setting is a beautiful intimate setting to sample wine from their 19 acre estate vineyard locally and this family run vineyard produces quality wine every year and is a great example of Californian wine at its best. A must is the Rose which I think goes perfectly for a sunny laid back afternoon, however all the wines are beautiful and they even have a cute little dog which might be there from time to time.
Definitely go down and have a taste, for more information please visit the website, they are also sold in different places in San Francisco so keep an eye out.
Places to Eat:
Iberia – Located in Menlo Park next to the railway line is a great little Spanish place. The restaurant has a huge patio outdoor eating area and a cozy bar with a wood burning fireplace. Their Tapas is fresh and there is loads of plates to choose from their menu. I especially liked the stuffed dates and their paella, which was served in a large paella dish packed with seafood. Just sit back with great company, a jug of sangria and enjoy your surroundings and the food. Check out their website for more information.
Top Dog – I have been told that Top Dog is an institution has loads of loyal fans and is just somewhere you should go in San Francisco. I was lucky enough to taste these dogs at my friend’s house the day after her wedding. The hot dogs were big and juicy and I have never had a chicken dog before and it was great. I would definitely go down to Berkeley next time I’m back in San Francisco to try more, you can’t come to America and not have some junk food right? Website: www.topdoghotdogs.com
Pacific Cafe – Probably one of my favourite places we went in San Francisco, not far from the Legion of Honor is this gem of a seafood restaurant. They don’t take reservations so you have to get there early or just wait while sipping on complimentary glasses of white wine. The menu is very simple, it is mainly seafood and the dishes include a soup or salad starter and a side of chips, potato or vegetables. Trust me this simplicity is what makes this place so great. I had a soup of clam chowder which was packed with flavour and my dish of shrimp Louisiana was fresh and tasty I couldn’t have asked for a better meal. Everything that we sampled was great and it is definitely worth the wait if there is a long one.
Hayes Street Grill – Sticking with more seafood and one of my Uncle’s favourite places to eat in the city is Hayes Street Grill. Their menu changes daily and they serve sustainably harvested fish and shellfish from as local a source as they can get. I had a shrimp and avocado Louie and for main I had a San Diego Yellow Tail Jack which was grilled amazingly well. I managed to steal some soft shell crab off someone else on the table’s plate and it was fresh and amazingly tasty. All in all a great place to eat : www.hayesstreetgrill.com
The Cooperage American Grille – Fresh local and seasonal ingredients are used to create American favourites at this casual restaurant. With a big outdoor seating area and a large bar area it is great to hang out in and the vibe on a Saturday lunch time in the sun was perfect for my weekend. Situated off La Fayette which sort of reminded me of walking through the streets of Europe in some parts. I had an amazing warm brussel sprout salad with bacon, shallots, poached egg and vinegarette, it was so good in fact that the whole table wanted a bit. I followed it with a crab, and prawn cocktail sandwich with avocado. The food was fresh and light and a great place to hang for a lazy weekend meal. To find out more visit their website: http://thecooperagelafayette.com.
Summer Kitchen Berkeley – Just round the corner from where I was staying is this little gem of a place to get tasty food. It has a real family feel to the place, they try and fill the menu with ingredients from local farms cooked fresh daily. During the day they have fresh sandwiches and salads, I love the kale caeser salad, and the crispy chicken sandwich. For dinner their menu expands and they serve roasted chicken, pizzas and other dishes. The sausage pizza is great, the base is light and crispy, and the chicken dinner is good too served with creamy mash and seasonal greens, as well as any sort of fried chicken they produce which I warn you sells out quickly. Definitely give them a try and don’t forget to grab a cupcake or cake, their cream cheese icing is amazing good. Check out their website for more information.
Ici Berkeley – The definition of Ici is handmade – everything they sell is handmade in store from all their ice creams, sorbets to their cones, and extra treats to have with your ice cream. Everything is made in small batches by hand and the flavours change daily. They have interesting flavours such as vanilla creme brulee to tea and cookies which all taste great. There is always a queue outside this ice cream shop and I understand why, once you try Ici you always want to come back. I couldn’t get enough! Find out their daily flavours on their twitter page or check out their website for more information.
Hana Japanese Restaurant – I’ve discovered that there are an incredible number of Japanese restaurants in San Francisco, they love their Japanese cuisine fix and who could blame them? When we went to Napa we were recommended to go to Hana to sit at the sushi bar and have the Chef’s Omakase (chef’s choice). So we listened and that was exactly what we did, and it was the best decision that we made. What an incredible selection of fresh sushi and the variety was outstanding. From Alaskan salmon, to different cuts of scallop, we couldn’t stop, I mean if the food is this good why would you right? But after a good cross section of things I had to as I just got too full. But honestly if you are in the area it is definitely worth a visit! www.hanajapanese.com
Glen Ellen Star – Opposite the Korbin Kameron tasting room in Glen Ellen is this charming little restaurant, which you will definitely book a place as it is small and it gets packed pretty quick to avoid any sort of disappointment. This quaint little place is a neighbourhood friendly restaurant with a wood fire oven serving up some of the most delicious dishes, including pizza. Everything was tasty and fresh however the vegetable dishes all cooked in the wood oven were our stand out favourites. The brussel sprouts with brown stage bacon marmalade was salty and sweet, and the cauliflower with tahini, sumac and roasted almonds was unlike anything I have seen or tasted before. Cauliflower is one of those vegetables I don’t really buy unless I am making cauliflower cheese but this smokey and delicious dish made me rethink my cauliflower buying and cooking habits. Definitely if you are in the area then I would book a table quickly! www.glenellenstar.com
I feel like I had a great variety of things to eat and see while I was in San Francisco and the service we got throughout the whole trip was outstanding from shops to food and everything in-between. Everyone we came across was helpful, happy and really interested to talk to you. I feel like this is infectious happiness is what we are missing in London. So check out some of my picks if you ever travel to San Francisco. I hope I have provided some inspiration of places to go, however if you have any other San Francisco / Bay Area picks please leave me a comment below or on any of my social media. For more updates on what we’re getting up to please follow us on twitter, instagram and Facebook, getting ready for our next trip already, can’t wait to share it with you all as well.