Author Sara Settegast Hare Photography Todd Pearson
DAY TWO / Set off for the Ferry Plaza, an indoor/outdoor market dedicated to the culinary arts. In the city where California cuisine was born, the Ferry Plaza is a veritable food museum showcasing the best Bay Area products. Culinary cognoscenti shop here for the finest artisinal ingredients, and diners pray for a table within the super-chic walls of the award-winning Vietnamese restaurant The Slanted Door. Ferries arrive at the docks behind the Ferry Building, one of San Francisco’s first high-rises, but the myriad purveyors selling olive oil, caviar, kitchen gadgets, and organic beef are the main course here. On Saturdays, crowds gather for the popular farmers’ market.
Just about any day, breakfast at Boulette’s Larder is a huge draw with in-the-know locals. This sophisticated Euro-style kitchen serves up homemade morsels. On Sundays, the hot beignets with yogurt and rosemary-scented raspberry sauce are not to be missed.
Energized by the wholesome creations at Boulette’s, set off on a power walk along the Embarcadero. You’ll share it with in-line skaters, runners, and bicyclists who enjoy the wide esplanade of San Francisco’s accessible waterfront.
At Battery Street, you’ll walk by the corporate headquarters of Levi Strauss & Co., the family-owned blue jeans company founded in 1853. Today they’re still churning out the same riveted jeans made famous by Gold Rush miners. Step inside the main entrance by the fountain for an exhibit on the jeans’ history.
Now you’re ready for lunch at Piperade, a Basque restaurant created by award-winning chef Gerald Hirigoyen to celebrate the cuisine of his French Basque homeland. Rustic and soulful, this is some of the most exciting food in the city. If the unforgettable Basque chicken is being served, try it.
Now hop on the vintage trams, changing at Market Street, and glide along the Embarcadero to AT&T Park, arguably the most attractive ballpark in the country. Located on the waterfront with kayaks and sailboats circling on game days, the handsome brick stadium is a stunning example of urban design and a wonderful place to visit even when the Giants are on the road. Inside, the park sports batting boxes and a giant Coke-bottle slide that will entertain kids of all ages. The baseball season opens April 3.
If there’s no ball game, spend the afternoon at the ultra-hip W Hotel, home of London-based Bliss. Peppy turquoise products and clever treatments like “Blissage” make pampering more fun than ever.
Next, head for the Mission District, the Hispanic quarter south of Market and Van Ness. At 16th and Dolores, the ornate, colonial Mission Dolores Church recalls the time when California was a Spanish possession. Built in 1776 by the Franciscan fathers, the Mission Dolores survived the earthquake of 1906 and is one of 21 California missions along the El Camino Real.
Follow the day’s dose of history with an urban myth— Myth restaurant, that is. This Jackson Square spot offers such tasty temptations as mushroom-dusted scallops with chanterelles and grilled chicken with caramelized onions and rosemary.
After dinner, saunter over to North Beach for the late show at Beach Blanket Babylon, the nation’s longest-running musical revue, complete with political humor, singing and dancing, and the most towering hats in town.
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