Two plane tickets from New York City to San Francisco: $430. Hotel, rental car, winery tours and Alcatraz tickets: $2,056.21. French Laundry reservations: priceless. After months of planning and with all of my reservations confirmed I'm excited to announce that I'll be taking a vacation to Napa and San Francisco for a week in early June. Although international travel is more exciting, MW and I decided to stay domestic this year and visit northern California. Maybe all of those Arnold Schwarzenegger commercials (see below) urging us to visit California worked on a subliminal level but I like to think we had other reasons.
In total we'll be spending three nights in Napa and four in downtown San Francisco. MW and I thought it prudent to focus this vacation solely on northern California instead of splitting time between both L.A. and San Francisco. Attempting to eat through an entire city in the span of a few days is an impossible task, but one thing was for sure, we would be eating at the French Laundry if we got reservations. Long story short, I was able to get a dinner reservation at the French Laundry and am looking forward to eating at the only American restaurant with three Michelin stars located outside of New York.
In addition to the French Laundry we will also be eating at Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc (unfortunately we missed the Monday fried chicken dinner) and Bouchon Bistro. Top Chef Masters villain and Food Network star Michael Chiarello's Bottega, two-star Michelin rated Cyrus and Hog Island Oyster Company all round out our meals in Napa.
I turned to the San Francisco Chowhound boards and will attempt to brave the long morning lines for breakfast at Mama's at Washington Square, Dottie's True Blue Cafe, Brenda's French Soul Food and maple apple bacon donuts from Dynamo Donuts. For lunch we will try the number one item on this years Big Eat SF: 100 Things to Try Before You Die; Zuni Cafe's roasted chicken bread salad, a 2x4 "animal style" with fries "well done" and a Neopolitan Shake from In-N-Out Burger, oysters and fresh sea urchin from Swan Oyster Depot and Chinese food while touring San Francisco's Chinatown. For dinner we have reservations at David Kinch's restaurant Manresa, MW's favorite Top Chef Masters participant Hubert Keller's Fleur de Lys, Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton run by chef Ron Siegel and the popular Gary Danko.
No trip to Napa is complete without wine so we have booked reservations for tours and tastings at Chappellet and Opus One for Cabernet Sauvignons, Schramsberg for Sparkling Wine and Trefethen for their dry Riesling. As with wine we are also making strides to learn more about cheese and have a one hour private cheese tasting with cheese monger John Raymond. Finally, we'll be visiting Oxbow Public Market in Napa and the Farmers Market at the Ferry Terminal Building in San Francisco. Eat your heart out San Francisco, we sure will try!