San Francisco will always hold a special place in my heart. It's where I grew up so every time I come back I'm flooded with memories. We were on a tight schedule this trip so we didn't get to see any of our friends, but I had a chance to show Erik parts of the city he had never seen before. We teamed up with Uber to try out their latest offering in San Francisco: Uber Bike! The convenience factor was massive as bikes are located all over the city. There are no pickup/dropoff stations, you simply pull up the Uber app, find the closest bike and then secure it when you're done.
In keeping with this trip's theme of firsts, Erik and I stayed at The Clift Hotel right in the heart of San Francisco. Seriously, we were footsteps (2 blocks) from Union Square and its central location made the city feel more accessible. The hotel itself is a stunning juxtaposition of old-world craftsmanship and modern design. Such regal properties can often feel stuffy or pretentious. NOT THE CASE HERE. The playful luxury can be seen from the moment you enter the lobby where exquisite furniture, wood paneling and a floor to ceiling fireplace provide exquisite ambiance. We spent our 3 nights at the hotel in their "Private Apartment." It was one of the most incredible hotel rooms I have ever stayed in. With sweeping views of the city from every room, a massive living room, two full bathrooms, a kitchen and dining area no detail was overlooked. My only regret is that I didn't get to spend more time in the room.
We spent most of our time out exploring the city via Uber Bike and of course....eating!! Everywhere we ate this trip was a first for both of us and there were three stand out restaurants that you MUST try when you visit next. One of our first stops was lunch at Tony's Pizza Napoletana and it was some of the best pizza I've ever had! The owner and head chef, Tony Gemignani, is a 12-time World Pizza Champion...yes that's a thing and it's awesome trust me, you'll understand after your first bite. Their menu offers a variety of pizzas from all over the world, each offering a different dough recipe and cooking temperature. If you feel a little overwhelmed by the choices, ask a server for help and they will find the perfect pie just for you. I can't wait to go back to try the pasta. Reservations are strongly recommended and this place is usually packed. MUST HAVES: the Napoletana Margherita pizza and the Sicilian Burratina Di Margherita pizza. Another casual spot that's great for lunch or dinner is Palm House San Francisco. The laid back vibe transports you to a tropical island with flavors influenced from The Carribean, Brazil and Hawaii. Don't miss the cocktail menu and if the weather permits take advantage of their al fresco dining. MUST HAVES: the tacos (all of them) and Puerto Rican Smashed Avocado (AKA bomb guacamole).
A major highlight of the trip was our dinner at Alexander's Steakhouse San Francisco. This restaurant is fine dining at its best, it has a higher price point but it's worth every penny; perfect for special occasions. Their wine list and selection of the finest Wagyu available outside of Japan is extraordinary. We were blown away by our meal. Check out our blog post for more on one of the best dining experiences in the city. I can't wait to go back and create a Wagyu tasting to share with all of you!
With all of this eating we desperately needed some activity! Thankfully Uber Bike allowed us to hop on and off at our convenience as we rode across town. There were no waits, no lines and it was fun!! We grabbed coffee in Union Square before making a pit stop under a tree at The Yerba Buena Gardens to stay dry as it it rained. Our tour continued down Kearny St, which took us directly into Chinatown for some tourist gifts and an endless supply of waiving cat clocks...yea, we didn't buy anything. However, being old ladies we needed to recharge. Thankfully the intersection we were standing in to shoot the Transamerica Pyramid had an adorable coffee house on it! Cafe Réveille was the perfect choice for cappuccinos and pastries. A caffeine spike had us ready for action as we headed off to Marshall's Beach.
The road through the Presidio to get to there is mesmerizing. It's like being in the middle of an enchanted forest full of gorgeous Victorian architecture. It just feels magical up there, that is until you see the treacherous-looking stairs leading 400 feet down steep cliffs to the remote beach. It's actually quite safe as long as you bring good hiking shoes, but it looks a little frightening at first (and much more frightening when it's time leave...lol). When you get down to the beach and see the Golden Gate Bridge at sea level it's overwhelming. It's hard to believe that there weren't more people there! We had the entire beach to ourselves, snuggled up on massive piece of driftwood and watched the sun set. I can't recommend it more, it was my favorite part of the trip and a perfect way to end it.
As always San Francisco was good to us, but it was time for us to get home to our boys.