Archive for San Francisco

San Francisco – City On The Bay

Posted in Food, Hotels, Travel with tags , , , on February 17, 2009 by travelwizard


After what has seemed like ages at the homestead (well, three weeks to be exact), I am getting ready to head off on an excursion to one of my favorite destinations: San Francisco. While most of my journey will be based around work, like many a resourceful traveler, I will parlay the work trip into a personal one, and spend the weekend in my number one destination in California – The Napa Valley.

The tanking economy is in my favor and I was able to get an astonishingly low rate at The Clift, the stylish but ridiculously space-challenged hotel in the heart of Union Square. However, at 139 a night, I am willing to make concessions and sadly, my beloved Palomar proved to be too expensive this time. I am not sure what is going on with Ian Schrager but 139 seems scarily low for a hotel that normally runs in the 200 to 300 dollar range. I am hoping not to find rats between my sheets. I’ll keep you posted. 

Of all the things I love about San Francisco, the city features one quality which soars above the rest – the availablity of great, cheap food. While the city has it’s share of fine dining as well, I find myself stopping off at my favorite haunts which are inevitably low-priced and delicious. Here are four of my particular favorites:

1. Pauline’s Pizza 

Pauline’s is the best pizza I have ever had. I know that is a bold statement and I am sure there are some New Yorker’s out there who would challenge me even as I write this but I stand firm. I don’t know if it is the cornmeal which coats the crust, or the inventive combination of ingredients which makes me so crazed but Pauline’s is a must stop for anyone who is a pizza connoisseur. Set in the ever – gentrifying Mission district, this pizzeria is comfortable, welcoming and extraordinary.

2. Luccas  Ravioli Company

Luccas is a great place to stop in and grab an Italian Sub. With an enormous selection of fresh meats and cheeses, Luccas is always among my litany of food stops upon hitting San Francisco. It’s always mobbed but it is well worth the wait. Their sandwiches are made to order and come served on freshly baked rolls. Since Luccas is mainly an Italian Grocer, be ready to cop-a-squat on the street if you are looking to dine-in. I would recommend take out if at all possible.

3. Pancho Villa Taqueria 

As a person who has spent the majority of their life in Los Angeles, I would think that at some point, I would find a burrito as pure and delicious as the ones at Pancho Villa Taqueria. Well, that point has not come sadly so it is with great anticipation that I make my yearly pilgrimage to San Francisco, to indulge in the best burrito north of the border. Simplicity is what defines Pancho Villa. Beans, Rice, Cheese, Meat and Salsa are the main ingredients but in my humble opinion, I feel nothing else is necessary.  For somewhere around 6 to 8 bucks, you will get an enormous fresh burrito – so enormous that basically you could eat it for lunch and dinner. I am already salivating just thinking about it.

4. Swans Oyster Depot

Yes, the line is enormous. Yes, it is cash only. Yes, they do not take reservations. Despite all this, Swans is worth carving out a portion of your day for. For lovers of Oysters and Clam Chowder, this hole in the wall – counter only San Francisco institution serves up classic seafood fare at really affordable prices. I am an oyster fanatic so I never miss a chance to indulge in many of Swans selection. Here’s hoping I have a chance to do so this time!

After spending four nights at The Clift, hopping from club to club and eating my way through most of the city,  I will be ready for a little relaxation. I decided to try a new place in Napa called The White House. Set in a stunning Victorian mansion near Downtown Napa,  The White House has been open less that a year but they reviews are so gushing that my interest is sufficiently peaked. As an added bonus, I was able to take advantage of a special that is running until the end of February that allows new guests to stay the weekend and get two nights for the price of one. I am tickled pink! I am looking forward to lazing in my two person soaking tub or perhaps engaging in a film on my LCD Flat Screen. I will write a full review upon my return but for now, see below for some pre-stay snaps: