I just experienced one of the best weekends in Napa for a friend’s birthday. I was also able to spend a little time in San Francisco. Like always I reached out to my best foodie friend, Carolyn Stine, for the ins and outs of the city. Check out her recommendations below and follow on her eating and travel adventures on instagram @carobaker1
1. Help us make better touristy choices, what are 3 touristy spots in San Francisco we must check out?
- Sutro Baths – if you want to venture to the edge of the city and see the most gorgeous views of the Pacific, head to the Sutro Baths. The baths themselves are actually the ruins of an old swimming pool complex and are especially beautiful to see at sunset
- Alcatraz – this sounds like the pinnacle of SF tourism, but I found the tour to be incredibly interesting. Also, the boat ride there and back, with views of the bay and the bridges, makes this worth your time in and of itself
- Golden Gate Park – Calling this a park does no justice to all of the wonders contained within in! From the Conservatory of Flowers, to the Japanese Tea Garden, to the Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden, this sprawling urban park is a feast for the senses
- The Presidio – rent bikes and spend a morning making your way along the Embarcadero until you hit the Presidio. The park itself is beautiful, and you will find yourself literally underneath the Golden Gate Bridge #photoopp
2. What are 3 of your favorite restaurants (I know this is hard!)?
- Atelier Crenn – if you are looking for a fine dining experience in SF, I could not recommend Atelier Crenn more highly. It is truly a once in a lifetime meal, and the fact that it is female chef-driven (Dominique Crenn was named the world’s best female chef in 2016) is the icing on top of this culinary cake
- Blue Plate – one of the original settlers in the Mission before it was a hip hood, Blue Plate is a go-to for what feels like home-cooked food that your mama would make. Everything is simple, fresh, and incredibly delicious (and their rosemary focaccia is the stuff of dreams)
- Bar Tartine – yes this is Tartine as in the bakery and yes the restaurant itself is just as good. Even if you stop in for a glass of wine and an app prior to dining elsewhere for dinner (and by app I mean a whole chunk of bread all to yourself), do yourself a favor and come here
3. What neighborhoods would you recommend visiting?
- Chinatown – walking around SF’s Chinatown (the oldest in the country) is a total sensory experience. Give yourself an hour to get lost among the little streets strung with colorful lanterns and explore the shops and food markets
- The Mission – known as THE neighborhood for dining in the city of San Fran, The Mission also has a lot to offer as far as beautiful architecture and bold street art. My favorite thing to do is to do a mini breakfast food tour (Tartine for coffee and a morning bun, then Craftsman and Wolves for “the rebel within”), and then to walk around and explore the area
4. Where would you recommend going if you need to escape the city?
- Napa – try to carve out at least a day to go and experience the pinnacle of American wine culture (on second thought, I will be writing an entire guide to Napa shortly)
- Muir Woods – this national park is home to the majestic redwoods, and is only a short drive outside of the city
- Marin County/Sausalito – if you are making a day of visiting the Muir Woods, make sure to stop in Sausalito on your way back into the city. Fish is my favorite little seafood place on the water, and is the perfect pitstop for a fish taco lunch