I dubbed this past weekend and the latest jaunt to San Francisco as “The Weekend of Mr. B”. We took the one-hour plane ride up to the City by the Bay to celebrate his birthday. I also promised Mr. B that we can do anything he wanted, although I may have influenced his decisions on a couple of occasions! The weather was originally thought to be rainy all weekend, much like it would be at home. Instead, beautiful cloudy blue skies and sunshine greeted us and stayed with us for the duration of our trip.
There are a million and one restaurants in San Francisco and you can probably try something new every night if you wanted to. In my previous post, I mentioned that Mr. B chose Cafe Claude for his birthday dinner (I mentioned it here). After a nice dinner, we walked around downtown to window shop at night. This is where all the good shopping for designer goods is located so the window displays are always top notch.
We went to one of my favorite museums, The Legion of Honor, to check out the current special exhibit, “Casanova”. The building is always impressive.
We never miss an opportunity to stop into Neiman Marcus located directly on Union Square. The building is extraordinary with its beautiful glass skylight, which is particularly stunning during Christmas with a Christmas tree spanning up all four levels of the building.
We had lunch at The Rotunda Restaurant, located on the top level (4th floor). We were lucky to have snagged a table next to the window overlooking the activity of Union Square. Dining in this space also provides you with an up-close look at the skylight.
I’ve never had a bad meal here. We shared a shrimp appetizer and I enjoyed a delicious chicken salad. The calories for each dish are printed on the menu which is great for those of us who are watching our waistline.
We did more shopping and window shopping in and around Union Square. The Banana Republic in this town is hands down the most beautiful one I’ve seen.
I received another catalog from Cuyana just days before our trip. I was excited to visit their shop since I’ve been on the hunt for a new black leather tote bag like this one. Their leather goods are beautiful in their simplicity and quite reasonably priced compared to other high-end leather brands. Their shop is located on the 2nd floor of a building off of Union Square. It was very busy when we stopped in so I wasn’t able to snap a great picture inside their boutique but it is quite lovely. I couldn’t resist taking a picture of the inspiration board behind the cash wrap area. We all know how I love a good inspiration board!
A trip to San Francisco is never complete without a trip to Gumps. This legendary department store has been in business since the late 1800’s and is a favorite place for bridal registries. It looks like they are all ready for Easter.
I can’t remember the last time we visited Chinatown. We didn’t actually “visit”, but instead used it as a quick cut-through on our way to Jackson Square.
Jackson Square is a small neighborhood developed with historic, low-rise buildings that happens to be one of my favorite areas in San Francisco. Even though it’s in the heart of the city, it has a very quaint feel to it. I remember when it use to be home to mostly antique shops and home design stores. It’s still home to some design shops but the area is transitioning and is now home to more clothing boutiques and restaurants. It’s starting to feel like a much better balance.
I love this particular building with its brick and black painted facade. I only wish the car didn’t have to ruin my picture.
When in Jackson Square we always pay a visit to William Stout Architectural Books. It is a treasure trove of books related to design, architecture, and landscape. They’ve been in business for 30 years, with 20 of those years in its current location.
While walking to the Ferry Building Marketplace, we couldn’t help but to stop and admire the beautiful blue sky and puffy clouds serving as a backdrop for the City’s skyline. I am also glad I was able to catch one of the vintage streetcars in the picture. These streetcars have quite a history and come from all over the world. If you are able to catch a glimpse of one up close, you’ll notice the original markings on it that identify its origin. I’ve seen cars come as far away as Milan, Italy. You can learn more about the historic fleet here.
The Ferry Building is a fun place to visit. Located right on the water, it is a marketplace of restaurants, food stalls and retail vendors. They also have a Farmer’s Market several times a week. To the far right of the picture below you can see the crowds of people visiting the Farmer’s Market.
One of the chocolatiers at the Ferry Building is getting ready for Easter. It was really hard to take good pictures inside the Ferry Building because it gets so crowded. Traveler tip: If you visit the Ferry Building, try to visit during the week when it’s less crowded. Otherwise, it is a “sea of humanity” both inside and out. (YT..are you reading?).
Many of the restaurants do get their local produce from the Ferry Building and the adjacent Farmer’s Market. I am always intrigued by this one particular vendor who sells nothing but mushrooms. Who knew that there are so many edible mushrooms?
No matter what City we travel to, we are always on the lookout for new hotels for a potential future stay. This is the lobby of the Hotel Vitale conveniently located directly across the street from the Ferry Building that opened last year. The soothing colors made me forget about the noise and crowds just right outside its doors.
One of our favorite lunch spots is Tadich Grill located in the heart of the City’s Financial District. Tadich Grill is California’s oldest restaurant and reportedly the third oldest restaurant in the country. They opened a second location in Washington D.C. that we have yet to try.
There is always a line and if you can’t snag a table then sit at the counter. I actually prefer the counter because its fun to witness the hustle and bustle of the staff. Many of the employees have been here for approximately 20 years and they have things running like clockwork.
We both ordered the Dungeness Crab and Prawns a la Monza. It might not look pretty (food is hard to photograph) but it’s a delicious dish of crab and prawns served over a cream sauce with celery, leeks, paprika, parmesan cheese with everything baked in a casserole dish. We’ve ordered it many times before but it wasn’t until this weekend that we learned that this dish actually made it onto a round of the T.V. game show Jeopardy. The statement was “Prawns a la Monza is a specialty of Tadich Grill, an institution in this California city since 1849”. If you happen to see the re-run of the December 1, 2009, show you’ll now know that the answer is “What is San Francisco”.
After lunch at Tadich Grill, we walked by Micheal Mina’s restaurant next door. The beautiful flowers in the brass vase caught my attention.
Many people don’t know that the City of San Francisco has a requirement for private developers to provide “Privately-Owned Public Open Spaces” (POPOS) to the public for free usage. These areas are marked with a simple plaque and include plazas, terraces, atriums, and parks most centered in the Downtown area. We happened to visit one on the 9th floor of the Westfield Mall on Market Street. It was a quiet oasis from all the crowds at street level. It also provided us with a close up look at the mall’s glass dome. To learn more about POPOS, read this.
The Palace Hotel is always a place we like to visit. The flowers at the entrance are always stunning. I like how one simple flower in a variety of shades grouped in mass provide such a statement.
We always make it a point to stop at the Garden Court at the Palace Hotel for either a meal or an appetizer and drink. It provides a quick break within a beautiful setting.
Don’t underestimate the City at night. The buildings look amazing lit up.
No trip to San Francisco would be complete without a picture of a cable car. We had a great trip and plan to be back soon!
All photos in this post taken by Reviving Charm.