Ghirardelli Chocolate San Francisco is located by the Fisherman’s Wharf on North Point Street by the water. It is one of the biggest San Francisco tourist attraction and a place for people to get souvenirs. We got some chocolates here for our friends back home.…
San Francisco Vacation Traveller’s Guide: Accommodations
Let’s face it, San Francisco accommodations are not cheap. If you are looking for Financial District, Fisherman’s Wharf and other upscale locations, a night’s stay can run you anywhere USD$180+. During our San Francisco Vacation we were very particular about our stay. As you do too! We want CLEAN rooms, hot showers, working thermostats, in a safe area where we can go out for a run at night.
What’s the #1 hotel in San Francisco? After pricing a few hotels on Expedia or Hotels.com to save up to 50% on the hotel deal of the day! we were not able to find something we were comfortable with within our price range.
We did not want to pay an arm and a leg even after getting some EBATES cash back. If you haven’t heard of EBATES, it is fantastic! EBATES allows you to shop online and receive rebate cash back for your purchases. EBATES works with retailers both Canada and United States, as well as travel sites such as Expedia – up to 5% cash back!. Or you could be shopping on Rose Gold Nike Fuel Band and Nike Air Max 90 for that 6% cash back. After all, doesn’t everyone buy a cute outfit for vacation?
We also recommend cross-checking your hotel to see if there are any bed bug problems with Bed Bug Registry. Some San Francisco hotels we considered actually has had a few bed bug problems. Find today’s hotel deals in San Francisco on TripAdvisor!
My friend suggests that we try HomeAway and VRBO (sister company of HomeAway. VRBO stays for Vacation Rentals By Owners. There are vacation and travel insurance guarantees up to $10,000 for situations like double-booking, property wrongfully withohlding your security or home you rented being foreclosed! Yikes!
Also, if you have a travel credit card, it is best to pay with that. Your credit card typically has a set of fairly good travel insurances where you can claim in the even of such unfortunate happenings. Plus you can earn some travel points!
Anyways, initially I wanted to stay somewhere within the downtown core, but later decided to stay by the Marina / Cow Hollow area.
It is walkable by Crissy Field where there is a seawall just under the Golden Gates Bridge. Being a Vancourite, this was a mega bonus! Morning runs along the San Francisco seawall is exhilarating! We Run SF! It is also near by San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts Theatre.
We found this cozy studio by the Marina for $145/night. It sleeps 2 and has 1 bath and kitchenette. It had a tiny communal garden. It a tiny round wood patio folding table that is shared with others in the complex. It is not a pet friendly apartment. But I respect that. Some people are allergic to pets. Here are some experiences of our stay.
- Good price
- Relatively clean
- Linens and towels provided
- Owners are easy to work with
- WIFI and phone available
- Safe location and new Union / Chestnut streets for shopping and dining
- 3 part payments
- Some don’t provide toiletries. Ours did not provide shampoo. That’s ok, we went to Walgreens around the block to buy our own.
- Question cleanliness of towels etc given it is not industrial strength laundry facility
- Some dusts behind bed and spider webs on lamp above dining table
- Poor to no cell reception signals
- Public transits: The MUNI pass is not compatible with all transit buses from here
San Francisco Transportation for Travellers
Then the next burning question we had was… Do we rent a car for the full duration of our trip? Or should we just transit by bus or trolley cable cars?
We purchased 3-Day Visitor Passport for $23. San Francisco Tourist please be careful because the Muni Pass does not include all bus transit routes. In the end we ended up paying almost $5 to 8 per person on some Downtown routes. Taxi rides were about $16. Plus, without a car it was much harder to get to cert places and shops.
You are much better off renting a car than taking transit. The time and money wasted simply is not worth it. We do however recommend you try taking the cable car from Powell and Market up to Russian Hill to see the windiest street in San Francisco!
There are many must see San Francisco Tourist Attractions and Must Eat San Francisco restaurants. We have a few to recommend. Stay tune for our next article on San Francisco Vacation Traveler’s Guide: Tourist Attractions and San Francisco Vacation Traveler’s Guide: SF Must Eat Restaurants.
Our trip to San Francisco was somewhat limited because we didn’t rent a car for the full duration of the trip. So our exploration proximity tend to be within where we stayed – Marina / Cow Hollow* area. The first afternoon after settling in we wanted to…
Beringer Vineyards in St. Helena, Napa Valley. The Beringer winery dates back to 1875 by two Germany brothers Jacob and Frederick Beringer. It is one of the larger winery in Napa Valley and the oldest continuously operating in Napa Valley. The tasting room is…
We left cloudy San Francisco to find our way to Napa Valley where the leaves were red, yellow, orange and gold. Though the skies turned from blue to grey, we arrived at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena. This is a branch campus of the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York. The Greystone Winery dates back to 1889 as the largest stone winery in the world. Today, the CIA teaching kitchens are one of the finest professional culinary institutions in the world. So why wouldn’t you want to dine at the Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant in Culinary Institute of America? As a Napa Valley tourist attraction, will this be on your must eat San Francisco list? Or would you have wished you made a reservation at Bouchon instead?
Inside Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant is a grand space of pastry kitchen, appetizer stations and full scale kitchen surrounding the main dining area. The service is superb and prompt. We chose a semillon, saxon brown, cricket creek 2011 to accompany our lunch. This was a bright vino with pear, fig, apples and mellon notes. Unfortunately, it wasn’t very memorable. Our neighbors diners, later running into them again at the CIA store, told us for a dollar more, we could have bought a full bottle. Suckers. At least that makes four of us.
Steamed clams and mussels 12: fennel sausage in caramelized onion broth. The server had the kitchen split this into two for us to share. The execution of the mussels were spot on. There were no stinkers. But the broth was overly salty. Strong flavors of the smokey sausage overshadowed the freshness of the mussels. It was an ok start.
Crispy skin ruby trout 28: the trout fish was filled with dungeness crab, blood orange and lima bean salad. Served with sweet pea shoots and pickled red onions on side. The fish was cooked perfectly but lacked seasoning. Lima beans itself were potato-like, grainy and really needed a something bright to liven the pods. Perhaps some mustard greens and cilantro?
Crispy creamy risotto 24: wild mushrooms and dinosaur kale. Served with a deep fried korokke and sauteed wild spores. This was the best dish of the meal with difference contrasting textures and flavors. I like the firm texture of black kale against creamy risotto and sponge like textures of wild mushrooms. The dish was very earthy and warm on a chilly autumn day.
Overall the meal at Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant was pleasant but really was not memorable. Execution was excellent but lacked flavor. Prices were fair but ideal. Because honestly, I can be in Bouchon Yountville and had Truite Poelee or Moules a la Basquaise for the same price.
After our meal at Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant we toured the campus of Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. There appeared to be a conference happening and some food demonstration. And we found that $10 bottle of wine our friendly neighbors so graciously pointed out. Yes, the irony. But it was a good experience. Alright on to the next winery we go!
2555 Main St, St Helena, CA 94574, United States
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Burma Superstar is one of the restaurants on our Must Eat San Francisco list. This ethnic Burmese restaurant is famous amongst San Franciscans and has over 4306 votes of 4 stars and above on Yelp. Burma Superstar may not be a San Francisco tourist attraction…
How can one visit San Francisco and not take a trip down to Napa Valley? Any how can one go to Napa Valley and not visit Yountville? Afterall, this is where Thomas Keller’s famous restaurant The French Laundry, Bouchon, Bouchon Bakery, and Ad Hoc are located. Each within steps of one another.
Napa Valley is a gorgeous place much like Summerland, Okanagan, BC. The autumn crisp air and changing colored leaves are dreamy. It makes having an almond croissant and a coffee outside on the patio that much more enjoyable!
Bouchon Bakery in Napa Valley Yountville is in the heart of California. This bakery started as a production facility to produce bread and pastries to Thomas Keller’s restaurants. It soon became a standalone French Style Bakery!
It produces some extraordinary confections: bread, baguettes, croissants, macarons, tarts, chocolate delicacies. I am seriously considering moving to Yountville!
Have a seat in the garden patio next to Bouchon after deciding on what tasty treat to indulge in.
As Pierre Herme would have it, you “should hear the croissant suffer!” The almond cream had grainy bits. It is perfect for texture. The croissant was semi-sweet and was incredibly fragrant! I will have to get more for the road trip home!
Macarons: Pistachio (left) and Lemon (right). These giant medallion sized macarons were much bigger than ones you would find at Ladurée, Thierry or any Thomas Haas. Not only were these twice the size, the skin was still smooth and cracked like an egg shell. The lemon was my favorite! Made with lemon curd and filled with buttercream. It has a bright, sweet-tart finishing. No artificial flavoring. The Pistachio was more subtle yet equally fragrant.
Cuisine: Bakery, Desserts
Mon 7:00 am – 7:00 pm
Tue 7:00 am – 7:00 pm
Wed 7:00 am – 7:00 pm
Thu 7:00 am – 7:00 pm
Fri 7:00 am – 7:00 pm
Sat 7:00 am – 7:00 pm
Sun 7:00 am – 7:00 pm
6528 Washington St, Yountville, CA 94599, United States
Xai Verandah Lounge in LA, California. This beautiful place blends old world timeless Mediterranean elegance with contemporary chic. A relaxed mansion setting with lush gardens and canopy seating for outdoor dining; something Vancouver so desperately need (if only weather permitted). What Xai Verandah…
What does one think of when you travel to San Diego? When I was there recently all I could think of was all the attractions – Legoland (be sure to try Granny’s Apple Fries), Sea World , San Diego Zoo, USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum, etc. Little did I think to go to Old Town San Diego – They have some really authentic Mexican food such as Old Town Mexican Cafe or La Jolla until I started researching for my San Diego trip. Let’s begin with La Jolla (lə-hoy-ə)!
La Jolla (meaning “The Jewel” in Spanish) is an upscale beach community in San Diego home to breathtaking beautiful beaches, gorgeous scenery along curving coastlines of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California and northern perimeters of San Diego.
Georges At The Cove is nestled in this beautiful community of fine restaurants, hotels, art galleries, eclectic collection of boutiques and astounding beaches much resembles White Rock 60 mins drive from Vancouver, BC for its laid-back atmosphere. 180 degrees overlooking La Jolla Cove, George’s is a great place to visit to experience San Diego’s lifestyle… Soak in ocean mist and experience innovative, contemporary fresh seafood.
Much like the Market (Jean-Georges) in Vancouver, George’s At The Cove also offers multiple dining experiences – ie. three levels to their venue. 1. Rooftop terrace – casual menu with ocean mist and breathtaking view of the coastline; 2. Midlevel bar – lounge area with some water view; 3. Lower Level – formal dining (George’s California Modern) with selected tables offering some water view. I hear this section offers some of the best food available. Executive Chef and Partner, Trey Foshee (tweet him @TreyFoshee) joined forces with California Olive Ranch (COR), North America’s largest olive oil producer since 1999 bringing culinary freshness and innovations to La Jolla.
Marinated and Grilled Fresh Fish Tacos $13: Soft shell tacos were warm and the fish was seasoned perfectly and the juicy sauces just drips down your hand. Be prepared, it gets somewhat messy. Mango salsa, jalapeno-lime creme fraiche, guacamole and shredded cabbage gave a refreshing lift to every bite. Served with Christmas color tortilla chips and pickled veggies.
Seared Rare Ahi $15: An abundant of perfectly seared ahi tuna over a bed of chilled Japanese soba noodle salad with wasabi-soy vinaigrette. The flavors were just right and did not overpower the tender pieces of tuna.
Blackened Seasonal Fish Sandwich $13.50: Avocado, lettuce, onions, tomato,cucumber-yogurt relish. Served with a bed of mixed spring greens. Light yet filling. Seasoned fish was just right!
Grilled Niman Ranch Beef Burger $12.50: Served with lettuce, tomato, onion and fries with maytag blue cheese, sweet onion marmalade with pepper jack and roasted anaheim chile +2.50 with aged cheddar and bacon +2.50. So big it is hard biting into. Holding it was challenging even for the boys. The patty was cooked delicious juicy. The fries were crispy and not oily. Overall a great burger to get your hands dirty with.
Mexican Style Shrimp Cocktail $14: Spicy tomato sauce with cucumber, onion, lime, cilantro and avocado
We also recommend
- George’s Famous Soup – smoked chicken, broccoli and black beans
- Mahi Mahi – potato gnocchi, pancetta, artichoke, shiitake mushrooms, red wine-grape vinaigrette
- Steak Frites – hanger steak, red wine onions, blue cheese butter, french fries
- Local White Seabass – artichokes, baby leeks, fennel, preserved lemon,pan con tomate, black olive oil
- Maine Lobster Seafood Stew – toasted pasta, marcona almonds, orange aioli
Stay for the night if possible, it is truly gorgeous during sunset and when it gets dark. The boardwalk along side the coastline is tantalizing while you overlook sea otters sleep and play in the waters.
George’s At The Cove: La Jolla Ocean View Restaurant
Cuisine: Seafood, Pacific Northwest, Californian, Contemporary American
Mon 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Tue 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Wed 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Thu 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Fri 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
Sat 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
Sun 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
1250 Prospect St, San Diego, CA 92037, United States