Kristina

I’m Kristina - freelance graphic designer, backyard farmer, cookbook reader, project starter, and new mom to a gorgeous little boy.

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October 21, 2009

Will drive north for food

I realized this morning while walking that we’re leaving for 10 days in 1 day. There is much to be done before departure. But you don’t want to know about any of that stuff. The fun stuff is where we’re going and more importantly, where we’ll be eating. This was supposed to be our anniversary trip, which it is, but it’s also turned into our vacation alone before the baby comes… I believe they call it a babymoon? Or does that come after the baby?

Anyway, we’re heading north by car to the bay area, my favorite place to visit in the fall. And we’re going to spend the entire time doing things that you can’t do with an infant. At least not very easily.

But before any of that happens, we’ll be in San Diego for a wedding. Remember Katya’s invites? That party is in 1 day. I have some planning to do.

(from flickr)

Then Sunday, once Katya and Andy are happily married, we pack up and head to Big Sur (staying here, yay), possibly making a pit stop at Full of Life Flatbread that Christine so highly recommended. So here’s the question… Early dinner at FOL or wait and have dinner in Big Sur when we get there? We’re not really sure where to eat in Big Sur, aside from Nepenthe. Which could be good. Big Sur Bakery is closed on Sunday nights (boo), but we’ll be having breakfast there in the am. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

(photo by sfgirlbybay)

After Big Sur, we head to San Francisco for a few nights. Where we will visit the following fine dining establishments:

Rose’s Cafe on Union Street. We love it here. We happened upon it years ago on a fall trip up North and have been loyal (though infrequent) customers ever since. The food is simple but delicious.

Tartine, obviously.

Boulette’s Larder. Again, fairly obvious. I am in love with Boulette’s Larder. If one day I have a kitchen like their little restaurant I will be in heaven.

We have one more dinner in SF that we haven’t settled on. I have a whole list of places to try, but perhaps one of you knows the inside scoop. We’re up for driving over to Berkeley too. I adore Berkeley, though thankfully there isn’t a Cal game next weekend or I’d be spending my anniversary at Memorial Stadium.

And then we’re off to Napa for the rest of the trip. We splurged on our lodging up there, hoping to really lay about the mineral pool and read and relax. Maybe hit up a mud bath? Must remember to pack an old swim suit. There won’t be much wine tasting this trip, sadly, but I’m sure we’ll find ways to entertain ourselves all the same. Maybe a few hikes. Our room comes with bikes so we can pedal around the vineyards. If there’s something we shouldn’t miss, do tell.

We have reservations at Bouchon and Ubuntu. Very excited for both. Crossing our fingers for a French Laundry cancellation. We did get the call for one, but it was at 11 am. This probably makes me an impostor gourmand, but we just couldn’t justify (or frankly truly appreciate) the extravagance for lunch. Really, almost breakfast. So I asked to stay on the wait list with hopes of a dinner slot popping up. If it does, yay. If is doesn’t, oh well.

The other two nights are open. And we’d love recommendations for those of you who frequent Napa. We might just picnic in our room with spoils from Oakville Grocery and/or Dean & Deluca. But we might want to get out so do share your favorites.

We’ll probably have lunch at Auberge du Soleil. We have it on good authority that’s not to be missed.

It’s lucky I’m on a gradual weight gain program at the moment or this trip would be poison for my thighs. There are major upsides to eating for two.

Now must pack. Very exciting.

comments

  1. PNew said on October 21, 2009

    Sounds like my kind of vacation! In Napa, I highly recommend the following:
    Lunch at Taylor's Refresher – you must get a milkshake!
    Dinner at Ad Hoc – you'll get an additional Thomas Keller fix – try to find out if/when they're having Fried Chicken night (usually Mondays). It's supposedly out of this world!
    And I second lunch at Auberge – the view from their patio is breathtaking.

    Enjoy it!!

    Enjoy

  2. Corinne said on October 21, 2009

    Nepanthe in Big Sur is good – definitely snag a seat at the rail, the view is so beautiful. Just beware of the thieving blue jays! I would also recommend Deetjen's restaurant (and cabins – love them!):

    http://www.deetjens.com/restaurant.htm

    Have fun!

  3. Anonymous said on October 21, 2009

    hi
    just popping in to comment on a restaurant in Sonoma – we ate there on our honeymoon 10 years ago & it was so good – just googled it & it's still open so that must be a good sign no?

    it's The Girl & The Fig

    have a great trip!

  4. The Design Boards said on October 21, 2009

    This is the exact trip I had planned for our honeymoon in a few weeks but we opted to go to Costa Rica instead but I am keeping all your dining suggestions because I am dead set on doing this trip some other time!

  5. Anonymous said on October 21, 2009

    Travigne in St. Helena for lunch (grab a table on the terrace) or dinner is fabulous!

  6. Cassi said on October 21, 2009

    Wow. My husband and I are leaving for our honeymoon Nov. 1 and will be staying in Calistoga the first week, then Sonoma the second week, so we'll be there at the same time! Crazy. We did a honeymoon registry for our wedding, and more or less, now have our entire trip mapped out. It has always been a dream of mine to eat at 'the girl and the fig,' which I DEFINITELY will do, however, my dream of eating at French Laundry is more of a fairy tale…Anyway, at our wedding, we put out a sheet where people could 'suggest' places to eat in wine country, and Tra Vigne showed up a couple times, so you and Brock should check that out for sure. And, like me, you would probably adore eating at Julia's Kitchen (Ms. Child, that is) in Napa, and Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen in St. Helena picks figs off of their gigantic old fig tree that shades their outdoor patio area and uses them in their dishes. We're going there for the 'campfire pie' which is basically s'more heaven. Sorry I've written a novel, but I hope you two have a fabulous pre-baby trip! And hey, maybe we'll bump into each other at the market in Calistoga! Lol… :)

  7. p. said on October 21, 2009

    For SF, I hope Nopa on Divisadero and Hayes is on your short list! It has really delicious food, almost all from California producers. I also think you'd like Bar Jules, a small, sweet space with a small, also locally-focused menu in Hayes Valley (Hayes and Laguna).

    If you have time, go to the new(ish) SFMOMA roof cafe for gorgeous art-inspired desserts (like thiebaud cake or mondrian cake) and the always excellent Blue Bottle coffee.

    Just FYI – Julia's Kitchen in Napa is closed.

  8. livi said on October 21, 2009

    for breakfast in Berkeley you have to try La Note. It's on Shattuck and it is out of this world delicious. I recommend the coffee cake to share before your meal (or to go) and the cote nord. you won't be disapointed.

    http://www.lanoterestaurant.com/

  9. Cinnamon said on October 21, 2009

    I'm actually from Carmel and we used to eat in Big Sur all the time. Napenthe is good, and the views are incredible but also The River Inn has good food and you can actually go down and sit in the river and they just redid their outside seating area. Also The roadhouse is a local favorite. Good luck

    http://thebusiestbee.blogspot.com/

  10. Cinnamon said on October 21, 2009

    PS: I forgot to tell you, I just went to Napa last weekend and stopped at the deli at V Sattui winery for lunch (it's actually across from Dean and Deluca). YOU HAVE TO EAT HERE!! The food is incredible, and the choices are overwhelming. It made D&D look kida sad. Have a wonderful trip!

  11. Simply Mel said on October 21, 2009

    Lucky, lucky girl! You are so smart to do this pre-baby!

    And you have chosen all my favorite restaurants – especially Boulettes Larder, Ubuntu, and Bouchon!

    While at the Ferry Building, do stop by Miette Bakery for an incredible little organic sweet treat! A must!

    Bon voyage!

  12. everythinggardens said on October 21, 2009

    i have to second cinnamon's recommendation. v sattui is one of my very favorite spots to spend an afternoon (pick up a bottle of wine for after the baby comes :) . bring a picnic blanket and enjoy the fall splendor.

  13. Holly said on October 21, 2009

    while in berkeley, you must pop over to bake sale bettys in oakland and get the chicken sandwich. you eat outside on ironing boards and dont let the long line scare you-SOOOOO GOOD.

    i live in the bay, and know what im talking 'bout. :)

    http://www.bakesalebetty.com/locations.php

  14. bigBANG studio said on October 21, 2009

    Good God, a trip up Big Sur would be a travesty without a meal at Deetjen's, as Corinne also mentioned above. My husband I stopped by last November after a freezing, rainy night of camping. We entered the old lodge under a canopy of wisteria and were greeted by a roaring fire, Brahms playing on the record player, hot coffee, and the best eggs benny I've ever had. Period. You are going to have THE most unbelievable babymoon! xo!

    http://www.deetjens.com/restaurant.htm

  15. Anonymous said on October 21, 2009

    If you like Mexican there is a great little place in SF called Colibri. Best fresh corn tortillas and guacamole!

  16. Paisley Petunia said on October 21, 2009

    Happy Anniversary!
    I second the Bake Sale Betty recommendation – the fried chicken, egg salad and all the desserts are amazing!

    Also, the Michelin star list just came out, you probably saw it, there are some great new ones on there in SF:http://www.sfchron.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/10/20/MNOE1A7P4J.DTL&type=printable

    I always love Pizzeria Delphina and A16 in SF.

    Have a lovely trip!

  17. Kristie said on October 21, 2009

    Ubuntu is amazing! You will love it if you haven't already been there.

    If you are in the East Bay and feel like indulging your baby bump with some fried chicken, Bake Sale Betty's is a must (there sweets are also to. die. for.)

    A nice East Bay dinner spot: Camino in Oakland. The executive chef used to work at Chez Panisse (as did the owner of Betty's, now that I think about it). You can't go wrong with that kind of training.

    Enjoy.

  18. Erin said on October 21, 2009

    You MUST go to Full of Life. It is so amazing. Fresh, locally grown ingredients. Sooo good. Have a great trip!!

  19. lovelymorning said on October 22, 2009

    DUDE. you guys are sooooooo awesome.

    And you're really making me want to eat fried chicken. Alas, we're both vegetarian. Which sadly rules out Bake Sale Bettys. Man. I think I'm going to be sad about that one from what you all are saying!

    But so many other awesome recommendations. We will have to eat 4 meals a day just to fit everything in.

    p. – Nopa is indeed on our short list. I think we might be dining there now that we have another rec from you!

    xoxooxo

  20. Caroline said on October 22, 2009

    Your trip sounds amazing!!! Pretty much you named all of my favorite places… I love Tartine in SF, Bouchon in Yountville, Napa is one of my favorites!! If you are looking for another place to eat in Napa, I love Taylor's Refresher… the onion rings, ahi burger, shakes and pretty much everything there is fantastic. It is absolutely not like any other burger place I have ever been. Also, another one of my favorite restaurants is Rutherford Grille.. get their deviled eggs, artichokes and for dessert are you ready… their homemade oreo cookie sandwich is to die for, fresh whip cream, ice cream, homemade cookie mmmm!! Auberge is such a wonderful place and the view is AMAZING!! Enjoy your trip and keep enjoying life!! xoxo

  21. Ashleigh said on October 22, 2009

    Definitely go to Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen in St. Helena. It is so yummy for dinner (and not far from Solage – where we stayed for our honeymoon in September!). Also SolBar at Solage is really excellent for lunch and dinner. And you'll want to spoil yourself with breakfast on your own private patio there whenever possible. The granola is delicious! We did the "Couples are Suite" spa service while we were there – mud room, mineral bath, warm chair thing followed by massage and a dip in the mineral pool. Best day ever! Have a blast!

  22. LaurenC said on October 22, 2009

    If you have time, check out Blue Bottle Coffee, Burma Superstar, Anchor Oyster Bar. Some of my eats restaurants in SF.

    If you go to Burma Superstar call an hour in advance and put your name on the list. They don't do reservations, but if your name is on the list you can get there just in time for your table.

    Enjoy.

  23. Sprouted Kitchen said on October 22, 2009

    yes yes, I agree with Nopa and Bar Jules in SF! Also, for something a little more casual but so good for lunch, Pizzeria Delfina and waltz right across the street to BiRite Creamery for the greatest ice cream ever!! The trip sound excellent!!

  24. Heather / Lush Designs said on October 23, 2009

    I am so excited to hear all about your trip! My husband and I are heading out west for a long vacation down the coast soon (Seattle, Portland, San Fran & Big Sur) and I can't wait! Reading all of these suggestions and ideas make me want to hop on a plane TODAY.
    Have a great time relaxing and enjoying being alone together before the baby comes!

  25. cevd said on October 23, 2009

    um, flatbread! so.much.better than nepanthe … though there is no view (nepanthe is about the view).

    just went to bouchon and the french laundry two weekends ago … we were on the waiting list and got a 7:00 spot two days before so i think you will luck out "). (ps rumor is one of the chef's at flatbread is from bouchon … the other, chez panisse.)

  26. Michele said on November 6, 2009

    can't resist adding my napa restaurant recommendation! we had a fabulous dinner in yountville at redd http://www.reddnapavalley.com. the tasting menu with wine pairings was the favorite meal of our last trip to the area. perhaps they'll do vegetarian options.
    oh how i would love to visit the big sur bakery! it is so very yummy! enjoy.

  27. life according to celia... said on November 13, 2009

    so many of our favorite places! ubuntu is phenominal. if you guys are ever in the east bay, you must stop by bakesale betty in oakland. they have these fried chicken sandwiches that are easily one of the best things i've ever had the pleasure of eating. i'm getting hungry just thinking about them…
    i can't wait for us to move up there!

  28. life according to celia... said on November 13, 2009

    ha! guess i should have read the comments first! looks like kristie, my best friend who took us to betty's, already suggested it. and you're a vegetarian…
    who brought the cool kid?!

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