I have just returned from the most wonderful weekend in San Francisco. I lived there 28 years ago for 2 years while working for my friends, Neil and Amy at We Be Bop, a clothing manufacturer based in Bali and Berkeley. I had never lived in a city of that size and enjoyed every bit of SF and CA and still treasure my memories.
I went to SF with my sister Meg and niece Joanie (lives in LA) to visit with my nephews and family. It did not disappoint. We stayed at the Hotel Vitale which is right across the street from the Ferry Building which is Mecca to me. We flew in on Thursday and things were quite civilized at the Ferry Building but the weekend was mayhem!
We had lunch at Americano, our hotel restaurant which was delicious. We walked along the Embarcadero to see where Epic Steak and Waterbar are located. We dined at Epic that night but only two of the group had steak. We had caesar salads, crab cakes, tortellini and the guys had filet and ribeye. The view of the lighted Bay Bridge is stellar.
My sister and I had breakfast in the hotel and when Joanie woke up we went to Tartine. I have read about Tartine for years and bought the first cookbook just for the gougeres recipe which is my favorite hors d’oeuvres to serve friends with wine. It was so impressive-I am still thinking about what a wonderful bakery they have-luckily we got there before the line was too long. It was well worth the wait. Joanie had a morning bun, Meg had an almond croissant and I had the savory croissant with bacon, fromage blanc, gruyere and herbs. I went to Hog Island for oysters while the girls shopped and found they had Olympia oysters that I had never tried. It was not busy and I sat at the bar and had a dozen Olympias with a lager. Delicious.
We ate at Leo’s oyster bar for lunch and Tartine Manufactory for dinner which was the highlight of the trip for me. Everything was exquisite and delicious. The fried Artichokes are killer and as is the bread and butter with a little bit of buttermilk-interesting. Warm olives were so good. I ordered the Petrale Sole which you can only find in SF. Alex ordered the Porchetta sandwich with salsa verde, Peter ordered the half chicken that was so good, Hannah and baby Asher had steak tartare and bone broth, Joanie had the octopus with nduja and lentils that was so good and Meg had the
steak. They all had the sticky date pudding with fior de latte ice cream for dessert. It was a stellar night. The restaurant is so beautiful- it is in the Heath Ceramic building in the Mission. If you don’t know about Heath, you should. Ceramics from Sausalito originally made in the 1950’s with exquisite glazes. I have been slowly collecting them for the last 30 years. There are lots of other wonderful artists and craftsmen the are in Heath and the tables at Tartine are so beautiful, obviously made by a talented local artisan.
San Francisco is my favorite city in the US and I was lucky to live there for two years in the late 80’s. It is Mecca for a food lover like me. The variety of food and the quality is the absolute best! Stellar greens that you never see in other parts of the US.
We recently visited there for our anniversary and it did not disappoint. We stayed at Hotel Vitale which is literally 900 feet from the Ferry Building. Our hotel had wonderful food and we enjoyed a wonderful dinner and lunch there.
We also ate at Slanted Door, oysters at Hog Island,
Jonathan Waxman’s and Terzo. In addition to the wonderful shopping in the Ferry Building at Heath Ceramics,
Rancho Gordo and many other stores.
I recently took a trip to Tucson with my sister Meg. When we were younger we had gone to Tucson to a ranch over spring break and I remembered how much I liked the landscape. We stayed at the JW Marriott Starr Pass which is a fabulous hotel. It is located in Tucson proper and in a park of amazing cacti-saguaros, chollas and ocotillos! The desert landscape is so quiet and serene. The morning sunrises were beautiful. The hotel has a few swimming pools and four different restaurants. The food is delicious Southwestern-fresh guacamole, salsas, even nachos! There is an excellent Italian restaurant called Primo, run by Melissa Kelly, a fantastic chef who used to work in Denver. She also has a Primo at the Orlando JW Marriott and in her home town of Rockland, Maine.
We relaxed by the pool and even had lunch pool side one day. The cocktails were amazing-all sorts of great combinations. One of my favorites was at Primo-a cosmopolitan with passion fruit puree.
Every morning there was a desert hike at 6:30. We walked the Bowen Trail loop the first morning, about 1.5 miles. It is a beautiful landscape and so different.
At 7:30 am, a Navaho shaman led a prayer around the fire pit and we made white sage bundles to throw into the fire with our prayers.
Salud, is the open air tequila bar that has the hugest patio of all, overlooking the city of Tucson, was our favorite. There are chimeas and lots of couches and seating. At 5:30 every night, they pass out shots of tequila and toast to Pancho Villa and a funny story about him trying to convince his future father in law to let him marry his daughter.
This resort is great for families or for someone like me just wanting to relax and enjoy. I would go back here in a heartbeat!