Thursday, April 20, 2017

San Francisco Work & Play

Trip date: September 2016

Have laptop will travel- my friend Lorraine had some business to do in San Francisco and nicely invited me along. We booked a room at the Kimpton Sir Francis Drake using my Friends & Family booking code and her corporate card. A good collaboration!

Lorraine wouldn't arrive until that evening so I took an Uber pool from SFO to the hotel for just $20. Upon check-in, the hotel upgraded us to a larger 2- queen bedroom which was great since the rooms in San Fran tend to be small!

Although I would be working each morning and afternoon, I planned to spend my evenings checking out a ton of places that have opened since I was last in the city- 6 years ago! And first up was lunch at Kin Khao!

I had an absolutely delicious cocktail here as well as a huge plate of amazing Thai food. The 'Pinto Market Lunch' was a combo platter of sorts with green curry and rabbit meatballs, salad, pickels, riblets, chicken broth, and rice. Even though my dish allowed me to taste quite a few things, I'd love to go again with some friends and order the entire menu!

That evening, after I had finished some work at the hotel, I headed to ABV for absolutely awesome cocktails. This cool neighborhood bar is owned by Ryan Fitzgerald who I hadn't seen in years, luckily he was there and I got to catch up with him a bit. My bartender Donnie could not have been better, making me a great off-menu drink called The Late Check Out with gin, sherry, lemon, passion fruit, Campari. He also shared some suggestions for me in the city.

Lorraine was finally in town and we met for dinner at Foreign Cinema. This place is so cute, we were seated "outside" in an interior courtyard of the building which was meant to resemble an old fashioned drive in. Unfortunately, our food was really unimpressive and with so many great places in town, I wouldn't recommend this one.

After dinner cocktails were had at Trick Dog. We could not have had a better time here. They are known for their creative menus and as this was just before the US elections, the menu looked like campaign buttons and the drinks had humorous names. Trick Dog isn't all show though, our cocktails were absolutely delicious and the presentations are impressive. Bonus as some guys bought us our first round!

The Sir Francis Drake doesn't provide coffee makers in their rooms but there is a Starbucks next door for morning latté needs. For lunch, I found a cute little wine bar called Aquitaine while walking around Union Square. Duck Reuben sandwich. You need one of those!

I worked the lunch off with a bit of walking and shopping before meeting Lorraine back at the hotel for the Kimpton's evening wine hour.

Cocktails started that night in North Beach at 15 Romolo, which looks like an old western saloon but has great upscale drinks.

From here we walked to Comstock Saloon, on the edge of Chinatown, which doesn't look anything like a saloon but more like a pretty little speakeasy. It was busy and we were lucky enough to snag a window table. The menu here focuses on classic cocktails which I am always a fan of!

We continued our walk into Chinatown and found our dinner destination Mister Jui's on Waverly Place. The fairly new restaurant is doing a modern take on Chinese banquet style dishes. The space is absolutely gorgeous and the food was amazing!

We chose the four-course menu and were super thrilled with the flavor and presentation of each of our dishes. You pick an item from each section; our pig's head, sizzled ling cod, Maine lobster custard, and shrimp fried rice were all fantastic. HIGHLY recommend!

We decided to have after dinner drinks at the Tonga Room inside the Fairmont as I had never been. Watching the band play on a stage in the middle of a fake lake, while business conference attendees awkwardly danced with each other, drinking sticky tiki drinks, was hysterical. Unfortunately the drinks here aren't very good so we were one-and-done.

It was an easy walk down the hill to our hotel and Harry's Starlight Room was calling for us to continue our "tacky bar" tour. We headed to the top of the Sir Francis Drake, had another single drink while watching the fog roll in and the white-people dancing continue. We made a final stop downstairs at the Beefeater Bar before calling it a night. Phew!

The Kimpton has a restaurant connected to their hotel called Scala which I had lunch at the next day. The food was ok but the service was just bad- I was sitting at the bar. I'd skip this as there's better and much less expense places to eat in the area.

When I was finished work for the day I decided on cocktails at Bar Agricole in the SOMISSPO area. The bar had a really interesting small selection of booze and a nice "Aperitif Hour'. There's also a really lovely looking outdoor patio.

I was meeting Lorraine at State Bird Provisions for dinner. We didn't have reservations as we were trying for the Chef's Counter, so we got there a bit early, put our name in and had a drink next door at The Progress.  I'd love to go for dinner here next time, it was super sweet inside and the service was great.

State Bird is fun and utterly delicious. There is a menu to choose from but then trays and carts will come throughout your meal offering small dishes like mini corn muffins with duck liver mousse and house-made chips with a salmon dip.

I loved this dinner and would absolutely recommend!

I was very excited to try Martin Cate's new-to-me gin bar Whitechapel after dinner that night. The space is beautiful and very large. So is their inventory of gins from around the world and some even made just for them. We sat at the bar and unfortunately had an extremely rude bartender who really could not be bothered when we asked questions about the different choices. She also only handed us the short list bar menu even when I asked if there was a larger tome as I had heard about.
Luckily some people next to us gave us the big menu and a new bartender stepped in who was happy to answer questions and provide tastes. It's such a shame when a server can almost ruin a nice experience though.
Lorraine and I both worked from the room the next day, taking advantage of free room service breakfast that had been offered to us when we found our room hadn't been cleaned the day before. We finished our work over mimosas, packed up, and checked out- leaving our bags with the front desk.

One last lunch before we caught our flight home; I really wanted to try the Chinese fried wings at San Tung's. It's not close to downtown but they were delicious and worth the Uber fare.
It was Friday night and I was headed home to play for the weekend! And maybe have a salad!

All San Francisco photos here. 

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