I was up north two weeks ago, visiting friends I hadn’t seen in a while, some in years. I was all over too: the East Bay, the South Bay, San Francisco and Marin.

On my first night, I had to make an obligatory dinner stop at Chez Panisse Cafe, my favorite restaurant ever. My brother gave me some good advice when I was a college student: to scrape up any money I had and eat dessert at fancy restaurants, which became a good primer to fine dining. Chez Panisse was down the street from campus, so I’d go there whenever I had the chance. It’s not the fanciest place, but its place in California food history and lovely Julia Morgan digs make this place feel very special.

For lunch, I met with my former college roomie at Pizzeria Delfina. Besides our pizza and salad, she insisted we order the fried pig ears garnished with a salt and lime zest.

Someone told me that there are more bars per square mile than any other US city. I don’t know if that’s true, but without a doubt, SF is an amazing city for lushes.  After devouring several crabs at Fisherman’s Wharf, a cocktail crawl at San Francisco’s finest watering holes was in order.

Buena Vista is famous for its communal tables and Irish Coffee. My second round was a nutty Irishman that contained Fra Angelico and Baileys. A warm, cozy and festive San Francisco institution, we were happy nursing our hot drinks watching and judging people in their tacky football jerseys and Europeans practicing their English on the locals.

Burritt Room at The Crescent was closed for a staff party so we walked over to the Clock Bar at the St. Francis hotel The holiday cocktails were good! I stuck with my usual drink, the sidecar.

For number three, after being shut out by Bourbon & Branch, we headed to Redwood Room at the Clift hotel.

Then we ended at Li Po for Sweater Funk — surrounded by skinny jeans, asymmetrical hair cuts, 70s porn ‘staches — for cheap alcohol and to dance the rest of the night away.

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