When two longtime friends decided to come to San Francisco for the weekend, the first thing I did was plan our meals. I had approximately a day and a half with them, and I wanted their food experiences to be memorable. I had an added benefit of knowing my audience very well and being able to customize the trip to their taste.

When I first heard they were coming, I made back-up dinner reservations at A16 and The Slanted Door. In the end, however, I ended up scrapping both of those reservations (and calling to cancel!) a few days before my friends came. The weekend came together very nicely and we went to the following places:

SPQR. My love for this new restaurant has already been documented, and I’ve been back three times since that initial report. This trip was fun, as I got to watch Anna as she tasted beets with ricotta, chanterelles and sunchokes, and the panino dessert — which was groan-causingly good.

The Alembic. After dinner, we cabbed it over to The Alembic so that Anna could share in my love of this wonderful bar. I’ve been talking up the emphasis on amazing mixology that has been happening in San Francisco, and the Alembic is the perfect example of this. My fellow bloggers agree — the Alembic is a destination bar.

Saturday morning, Amanda arrived and it was off to … where else?

The Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market. A must stop for any visitor staying at my house. When we were through, we met up with a couple friends for wine. The Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant was busy, so we lounged in the Slanted Bar lounge very comfortably for a couple of hours. On Saturday afternoons, there is not table service in the lounge until 2 pm (though you can eat at the bar). No bother, we ordered bottles of wine at the bar and by the time table service arrived, we ordered some delicious SD snacks. My friends had a good time wandering the Ferry Building afterward. Anna bought a lot of cheese to take home with the help of our favorite cheese expert.

Then it was home to rest before heading off …

To Bodega Bistro. This was the dinner originally planned as The Slanted Door. But the girls were insistent that they wanted to experience San Francisco the way that I usually live it. And the truth is that you are much more apt to find me at Bodega Bistro than The Slanted Door. Bodega is known for some of the best Vietnamese food in the city, and the Cha Ca Hanoi there — a dish of fish with dill and spices and peanuts — is more to my taste than the Cha Ca Hanoi that I ate in the most famous place in Hanoi.

Happily, the Bodega Bistro dinner went over very well and we went home full and sated. The weekend was a great mix of different bites, tastes and meals and both Anna and Amanda are talking about the trip weeks later.

Last month, Catherine posted her recommendation list for visitors which I will likely refer to in the future. And a while back, Michael posted his visitor list.

Girls’ Weekend in San Francisco 30 October,2007Jennifer Maiser


Jennifer Maiser

“My passion for food began young.”

I am the editor of the influential website www.EatLocalChallenge.com which encourages readers to support local farmers and producers.

I began my personal website, Life Begins at 30, in 2003.

I have been published in Edible San Francisco and Fine Cooking, write regularly for Bay Area Bites, Serious Eats, and have been quoted in many nationwide publications. Photography is a passion, and I have had photos printed in National Geographic Traveler and Travel + Leisure.

I contributed to a Williams-Sonoma cookbook: Cooking from the Farmers’ Market, which was released in February 2010.

I live in San Francisco, California and can often be found at local farmers markets seeking out the best of what’s in season and chatting with farmers.

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