Eat & Drink
Thirsty Bear Brewing Company, San Francisco—We try and hit a brewery in every city, so we can collect a representative pint glass. This place has the distinction of being the only organic brewery in the city, and it receives even more bonus points because the beer is tasty. We just had appetizers as we planned on a late dinner elsewhere, their Spanish-themed menu looked good and the patatas bravas were excellent.
Scala’s Bistro, San Francisco—We were eating pretty late (after 9pm) and this place was still packed when we left. We don’t normally eat in the hotel’s restaurant, but made an exception as this place had great reviews and well, it was close. I ordered steak frites while Eric enjoyed the rigatoni with duck bolognese. A glass of wine each made us even more sleepy so we retired soon after dinner.
Sears Fine Food, San Francisco—Famous for their little swedish pancakes, it is the only reasonably priced item on the menu and while Eric loved the small pancakes, my breakfast was just okay. Service and atmosphere was fine but I have no idea why this place was so crowded.
The Spinnaker, Sausalito—One of the best meals of the trip and it was for a late lunch! After leaving San Francisco, we stopped in Sausalito for a quick bite and awesome views of downtown San Francisco. This glass-enclosed restaurant served the best clam chowder I’ve ever had and with the seafood sampler appetizer, it was plenty for a meal. Eric had the butter lettuce salad and the cheese ravioli in walnut alfredo sauce. Delicious.
Crepevine, San Rafael—We stopped here for both dessert on Sunday night (see entry above for why we didn’t have dinner) and breakfast on Monday morning. The kilauea and siena dessert crepes were scrumptious and filling. Come morning, my New Orleans benedict was good, but hardly spicy. We had some issues with the quality of fried potatoes throughout the trip and this place was, unfortunately, no different.
Zza’s Trattoria, Oakland—We met Leah and Simon here for dinner on the last night of our trip. One side is a candle-lit wine bar with dark woods and a reasonably-priced wine list and the other side is a more boisterous home-style restaurant. Eric and I arrived early, so we started on a bottle of wine in the wine bar, eventually moving next door for dinner. My Prosciutto e Gorgonzola pizza was filling and generously adorned with the good stuff and Eric’s gnocchi was rich and delicious.
Sir Francis Drake, San Francisco—When researching hotels in downtown San Francisco, we discovered (like in most cities) that the business hotels go down in price on the weekends while the budget hotels go up. We got a great deal on this boutique hotel and the location (about 3 blocks from Chinatown and 1 block from Union Square) was great. Our king room was small, but comfortable. The bathroom had Aveda products and for being in a busy section of town, our room was remarkably quiet. I would definitely stay here again.
Travelodge, San Rafael—Your standard noisy-because-its-near-the-highway motel, it was clean but the floor sloped, so it felt like you were falling as you walked across the room. We also managed to somehow lock ourselves out of the bathroom. Thankfully the hostess let us in but every interaction with her was pretty chilly. This is exactly the kind of place that makes me rethink just how important saving money is when it means staying at accommodations like this.
Millwood Inn & Suites, Millbrae—This was a very pleasant surprise. We needed a place to stay near the airport and most of the hotels in the area had disparate reviews—except this one. Our king room was large, with comfy blankets, nice bath products and most importantly peace and quiet. The included continental-plus breakfast and wifi were also big bonuses. Highly recommended.