Eleven years ago I was married. We honeymooned in the most beautiful city--San Francisco, California. The problem? I only remember the toilet of our hotel room. Perhaps the stress of the wedding, or a bug plagued me our entire honeymoon. My husband dubbed it the most celibant honeymoon ever. I remember the wonderful staff offering me whatever I needed--room service, a run to the store to get a smoothie for me or medicine to calm my stomach. But my fondest memory was the little rubber ducky they put in every bathroom. It would stare at me as I hugged the toilet throughout the day.
Eleven years later and the whole plane trip I "knocked on wood", crossed my fingers and took plenty of immunity boosters before and during our trip. I didn't want to get sick this time! I must have annoyed my husband because at least several times a day I asked him if he was feeling okay.
This time, I made a concerted effort to make sure I enjoyed all the seafood and area delicacies I possibly could. We would pass by restaurants from ten years ago. My husband would ask me if I remembered eating there and I responded by saying, "Yup, and then I remember it all coming up! We are NOT eating there!!" So we chose some restaurants that were considered "touristy", some restaurants that we walked by and decided they smelled good enough to eat at, and others that we had heard a lot of good about.
We made sure that the restaurants we chose were ones that were easily accessible and budget friendly. Not too expensive, but good tasting with a wide selection for every palate. Here are some of our favorite eateries from our trip:
Pier 1 is located right by the water. The Ferry Building located on Pier 1 is a foodie's dream land! The local farmer's market offers fruits and vegetables, products, restaurants, and food from around the area. We loved the Cowgirl Creamery's artisan cheese shop. The smell of fresh cheese wafted out of the store and filled our nostrils with the beautiful pungent aroma of cheese. Unfortunately, I couldn't buy any of their cheese to bring home (didn't think that it would make it back on the plane or that my seatmates would appreciate it) but sampling was a must! Ciao Bella was also hard to resist. I love a good sorbet, and admit to buying a pint and making many a dessert with it here at home. 🙂 What I loved most were the outdoor markets. Fresh flowers, art, and farm fresh products were available. And all were local and most were organic!
Where is the best place to eat at Pier 1? Try the Slanted Door. Delicious outdoor seating overlooks the bustling pier. The food itself is well priced, the portions are good, and the seafood is delicious!
We spent a couple nights down here. I love that most of the restaurants have fresh, really fresh caught fish. (I'm allergic to shellfish so I can't give you any advice on that. Boo!) I am a certified fish snob, having grown up with fresh caught fish my whole life. I suffer greatly by now living in a state that doesn't border an ocean. There are very few restaurants here that have good fish. And when they do, it's expensive! So I look forward to my trips back to the coast to enjoy all the fish I can.
I have always found Fisherman's Wharf to be a little "touristy" to me. While there are some good restaurants, we were also a little disappointed. Saturday night we sat for twenty minutes in not one but two restaurants acclaimed to be wonderful and ended up leaving because after being seated at our table NO waiters came by and even offered us a water! We flagged down bus boys and hostesses too but ended up leaving frustrated. We ended up at Boudin Bakery. They have a fantastic restaurant on the 2nd floor. If I am considered a fish snob, my husband would be considered a sourdough snob. He knows his sourdough, and loves it! Boudin has the perfect loaf! We bought a loaf to share on our way home on the cable car. Dinner was delicious! My husband opted for the sourdough ribeye with brie cheese sandwich, and I went for the sourdough tortillas with rock cod filling. For dessert we opted to share the sourdough apple pie. (I came home and have been looking for the recipe on the web. I've got to make it!) Look how cute these loaves are!
My favorite store? The Biscoff Coffee Corner. It was like Biscoff heaven! Cookies, spreads, and coffee? Yeah, I think it's as close to heaven as one might get on earth!
Our other favorite thing to do? Watch the seals. This one reminded me of our dogs. Always looking for a belly rub!
Yeah, it's touristy, but I definetely love using Ghiradelli chocolate in my cooking. I stopped in and was pleasantly surprised that I didn't buy more. We bought some chocolate for the kids, and some for cooking with, but the prices weren't that great. If you're feeling like you need a sugar rush, try the chocolate shoppe. The desserts are absolutely incredibly rich and delicious!
Our favorite place at Ghiradelli Square are the stairs and pier that overlook the water by the Maritime Museum. We could sit there for hours just watching the boats and fisherman. And those crazy people that swim in the water! Sunset time is our favorite!
I could spend a whole week in Union Square and not get through all of the stores. We absolutely had a blast going in and out of shops. Our favorite shop had to be the Ferrari store at 2 Stockton. Our little boy is completely into fast cars right now and Ferrari is his favorite. We stopped in and bought him a souvenir and ended up talking cars with the guys there. They do a great job and are so friendly!
We also love the street entertainment here. Although you do get a few more bums and crazies in this area we always stay in Union Square since it's so local to everything. Our favorite moments? A contortionist, a lady caught stealing at the Ferrari store (apparently it's pretty common there), a fight erupting in the middle of Carl's junior between two strangers, and the small earthquake I woke up to after an early morning bathroom break. You can't have a boring trip here. Ever. That's what we love about it. And even though I ate my way through San Francisco, we logged plenty of walking miles up hills to burn it all off. Although that chocolate I consumed tonight probably took care of all those walking workouts.
Our favorite places we walked? Catch our Flickr pictures! (Link available soon)