So after a whirlwind trip, IT editor Janelle Nanos is still recovering from her tour of the West Coast. She'll be summing up some of the highlights over the coming days and weeks.
I'll start off by saying that eating well in San Francisco isn't all that hard to do. The produce there is so fresh that you sometimes have to give it a smack and put it in its place, and the city's proximity to the Napa and Sonoma wine regions (more on that later) means that you're bound to find a vintage that suits your palate. But I like to eat, and so I left it to a flock of friends and a host of IT tour guides to help me pick where I should grab grub over the course of my trip. Here are some of my favorite bites.
On Thursday night, I met up with San Francisco local (and occasional IT blogger) Matt Bloom, whose day job is staff editor at San Francisco magazine. Teaming up with Traveler contributing editor Andrew Nelson and another SF staffer, we hoofed it through the Bermuda Triangle of downtown San Fran where North Beach, San Francisco's answer to New York's Little Italy, borders "adults only" skin shops and spills over into Chinatown. Matt had a specific place in mind known for its view, The Empress of China garden and restaurant. Sure, the place may have been a bit more glorious in the '70s (faded pictures of Sammy Davis, Mick Jagger, and other era celebs greet you in the foyer) but take the elevator up to the sixth floor and the view remains the same. We passed under the elaborately carved 30-foot octagonal wooden garden pavilion and headed to the bar, where we had an impeccable view of Coit Tower and the city sprawling below.
After drinks, we walked over to Bocadillos, a hip wine and tapas bar that was brimming with people (and which was formerly home to a gay nightclub in the 30s and 40s, we learned from a small placard outside). There, we feasted on a host of small plates: Andrew insisted on the house-made chorizo, then we wrestled for the last of the garlic prawns. After sampling a few other dishes (and some of their wine) we asked our waitress which dessert she would choose to bring with her on a deserted island (no pun intended). She paused, staring up at the ceiling intently for a moment before a smile spread across her face: The warm chocolate cake with banana ice cream. Our decision was made, and it was delicious.
Empress of China 838 Grant Ave., +1 415 434 1345
Bocadillos 710 Washington St., +1 415 982 2622
For more on San Francisco, be sure to check out the September issue of Traveler magazine, now on newsstands. And enjoy our San Fran photo gallery on our website.
Photo: Janelle Nanos