Heaven on Earth

Heaven on Earth

Sunday, August 8, 2010

What I Ate On My Summer Vacation.

We went on a little vacation last week; to San Francisco, otherwise known to locals as THE CITY.  And don't ever call it "Frisco"; that will get their hackles up.  Are you wondering why I haven't posted a photo of the Golden Gate bridge?  Well,  we never saw it.  It was in the fog.  With the exception of one afternoon, this is the weather we had all 5 days...cold and fog.  Mark Twain is reported to have said, the "Coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco". That is so true; in the summer months you can hardly even see the city, let alone the bridges through the mist and fog. Bring a coat because it's cold. September and October are the nicest months, but we love SF any time of the year.

My husband attended Graduate school there when we had one daughter.  I won't say how long ago that was, but now all 4 daughters are grown, so you get the idea.  We try to go at least once a year to shop, eat, and play.  It's one of our favorite cities for so many reasons, the least of which is that it will always feel like home.  I get a thrill every time I drive over the Bay Bridge into the city.  We lived in the Pacific Heights neighborhood all those years ago and that area where we stay on all of our visits.

We definitely had a lot of fun. We saw Wicked at the historic Orpheum theatre.

We went to Mission Dolores and saw the mission and the newer Basilica and cemetary. The two years I lived in SF and all the visits since, I have never been inside the Mission. It is beautiful and if you are in Sf you must visit.

We did some touristy things (which we don't always do when we go there).  We saw the traveling impressionist exhibit from the Musee deOrsay in Paris at the de Young Museum located in Golden Gate Park.  This was the primary reason we went now.   The Musee D'Orsay was at the top of Bruce's list of things to see in Paris before our trip to Europe was cancelled by a volcano in Iceland last April. 

We also ATE.  And Ate.   And Ate.  The girls tease that I take more photos of our food than our family (almost true, I admit).  I did take quite a few to share with you.  We went to some food spots that I have been wanting to visit.   AND...I did manage to get some of my family eating the food.
Erin's favorite meal was the Crab Cakes at Nettie's Crab Shack on Union Street.  Union is a long stretch of up-scale boutiques and restaurants between the Pacific Heights and Cow Hollow neighborhoods.  Nettie's is bright and sunny with windows on all three sides, which is unusual on this busy street.  The decor is simple and charming and the food was wonderful.  If you've never strolled along Union you should.  It's got so many great stores.  Flower shops, clothing, banks, theaters, and or course restaurants.  I thought that Erin's crab cakes were almost as good as my crab roll.  It was served on brioche with it's crusts cut off and then the brioche was toasted with butter.  Stuffed with sweet, dungeness crab, and drizzled with butter; nothing else.  It was so good and simple.  The shoestring potato fries were excellent as well.  In fact, everything we ordered was delicious and this will be a regular haunt of ours from here on out.

The only other meal that we had that compared to Nettie's was the one we had at Pacific Catch.  Bruce and I have eaten there before and had to return.  It is on Chestnut street in the Marina neighborhood about 4 blocks from Union Street.  Chestnut is another street similar to Union in that there is every service, lots of restaurants (both casual and upscale), and stores along this street.  Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Gap, Apple, a Walgreen's, several grocery stores and theaters are here.  We love the Marina (this neighborhood was built on the spot of the Pan Pacific exhibition near the bay) and we always stay at the Cow Hollow Inn.  This is a very laid back, casual, and family-friendly neighborhood.  You'll rub shoulders with Young Urban Professionals and their one child in a stroller (mostly because after 2 children they can't afford to live in this upscale neighborhood) but it's perfect if you travel with a family.

Pacific Catch is small....really small.  It consists of nine counter seats and 4 very small tables at the front by the window.  We are amazed at the food they turn out of this tiny kitchen (that's it behind the counter in the photo above).  The menu is very simple; salad, rice bowls, and the freshest sea food in very simple preparations.  I would describe it as Fusion sea food.  They serve fish and tacos with Asian or Mexican influences and it is wonderful.  I have to admit we ate there TWICE, which amused and delighted our waitress.  Don't miss their fresh ahi and mahi tacos or their BBQ and California salmon sandwiches.  This restaurant took over the space from a Pasta Pommodoro restaurant.  We were sad to lose Pasta Pommodoro 'til we ate at Pacific Catch.  We never miss eating at least once at Pommodoro, an old favorite, but after this trip I think we are done with it.  We were disappointed with their menu changes and maybe that explains the down-sizing of this restaurant company.

Lest you think all we ate was seafood...tune in tomorrow for another review and some great photos of food and terrific shots of The City.


  1. Bonnie, we used to live in Sacramento and on occasion we would go to "The City." I would also have work trips and we would stay at a Union Square hotel. It was fun to see your version of SF and look forward to your next review! Joni

  2. This has got to be the only city in the USA where you can suffer from SAD in July.



  3. sorry about the weather i love that city though

  4. SF guy,

    I was aware that Mark Twain was only "reported" as having said it. But it is such a good quote. I feel sorry for the tourists who arrive in shorts and sandals and look so miserably cold. I quess some people don't check the weather when they travel.

  5. I love San Fran! What darling pictures of your girls. I can see how you could have eaten your way through this trip, so many fun places to stop at- no way to really decide. Thanks for the new ideas for my next trip :)