Out and About in Northern California
Life in Lincoln can be rough for a foodie. So when Ryan and I (Patti Vannoy, lawyer, foodie, writer and Golfstatus supporter) ventured to San Francisco for the inaugural CODESTRONG conference, one of the things we looked forward to most was the food. We took some advice from friends, including Reid McIntyre, who advised us to hit up some of the establishments found in Ryan McInyre’s Bay Area Food Log. In the same spirit, we thought we’d share both the ups and downs of our food in northern California. But in the spirit of GolfStatus, we’ve graded each with a golf twist, from double bogey through eagle.
This was precisely the type of place we were looking forward to. Fish is located right on the pier and serves a fresh, seasonal menu of sustainable fish and organic produce. We tried the fish and chips, made with halibut, and the albacore tuna salad sandwich with nicoise olives, celery, red onion, and lemon-caper mayo. The only thing better than the food was sitting on the deck on a gorgeous sunny day, on our way to wine country. Rating: eagle!
Cucina Paradiso, Petaluma
After an afternoon in wine country, decadent Italian food was exactly what we needed. We had fresh oysters, caesar salads, and the daily special pasta with wild mushrooms, peas, shrimp, and a cream sauce. The best part was the pear tartine, a delicate tiramisu-like dessert with pears, chocolate, whipped cream, and espresso powder. Rating: par.
Sausalito Farmer’s Market, Sausalito
When we stumbled on the Sausalito farmer’s market on our way back to San Francisco, we couldn’t resist the chance to have breakfast in the park. The cheddar-jalapeno and cranberry-pumpkin seed pastries were great. And ripe strawberries, eaten right out of the pint on a park bench by the water’s edge, is about as good as it gets. Rating: par.
Park Chalet, Golden Gate Park
After scoping out some golf courses not far from Golden Gate Park, we met some friends for lunch on the patio. The lawn was crowded with people and about halfway throughout lunch, a live band started up. This place gets an A++ for atmosphere, but the food was mediocre. If we went back, we’d stick to their handcrafted beers. Rating: bogey.
Scala’s Bistro, Union Square
This place was packed even after 9:00, but the hostess gave us a tip that the full menu is also served in the adjoining lobby of the Sir Francis Drake hotel. I took the bartender’s recommendation and had an utterly unique pizza with gorgonzola, champagne grapes, fresh rosemary and a pile of bacon. It was uber-rich, so I recommend sharing. Rating: par.
‘Wichcraft, Union Square/South of Market
A solid 50% of my meals consist of sandwiches, so I’d long been curious about Tom Colicchio’s chain, most of which are in Manhattan. When we happened upon the San Francisco store, I had to go in. We tried a goat cheese sandwich with avocado, celery, walnut pesto and watercress, and roasted turkey with avocado, bacon, onion relish, and aioli on ciabatta. If it doesn’t sound special, well, it was. Tom knows his stuff. Rating: par.
King of Thai Noodle, Union Square
This place was just a hole in the wall, but it was a full hole in the wall, and it reminded us that we should have been taking advantage of San Francisco’s Asian culture a lot more. For barely $15 we got a large plate of pad see-ew and a huge bowl of wonton soup that was brimming with fresh cilantro and spices. Rating: birdie.
Katana-Ya, Union Square
Katana-Ya, which translates to “sword house,” is a tiny sushi/ramen house with a good Yelp reputation but disappointing food. Rating: bogey.
Blue Bottle Coffee and Golden Gate Meat Co., Ferry Building
For breakfast on the way to the airport, we had to go out of our way to try Blue Bottle Coffee. The single-cup drip-process brew was well worth it. For food, we bought a bacon, egg, and cheddar breakfast sandwich from the deli counter at Golden Gate Meat Company, which is just down the hall. Everything about it was quite obviously fresh and it practically melted in our mouths. The only thing that ruined it was the realization that breakfast burritos were beckoning just a few steps further. Moral of the story: Next time we’re in San Francisco, we’ll probably stay closer to the Ferry Building and stop in more than once. Rating: birdie.
All in all, two under isn’t too bad. We look forward to improving on that score the next time we are in town. Stay tuned for more about CodeStrong…