Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >

lcasarin's Profile

Title Last Reply

Need help on first visit to SF on a budget

@originalfig: yup! got me soome teriyaki and VIp jerky that was great!

@pili: been having some gps troubles and plan on fixing them tonight, just came in from the Fog city Dinner, I had a manila clam chowder (good, not exceptional) and Cristy and I shared a Cioppino; Very good! all the cooks are mexican and we were sitting just across them... they made the recommendations; what was outstanding was the fried calamari, the chili-lemon sauce they serve it with is incredible; just the right amount of fire (not all mexican eat chili by the bucket) and acidity; Cristy ordered them and she says it was the highlite of the dinner and I agree

Need help on first visit to SF on a budget

@walker: woodhouse sounds good for today!

@wolfe: dont worry it is always nice when someone tries to communicate in your language instead of theirs!

@pilinut; well yesterday we went to sausalito and the muir woods, we got some time left and decided to go to sonoma... we hit 4 winerys and got a superb bottle of thalia sangiovese from Viansa Winery; I had tasted this grape in sonoma like 10 years ago and cant find it in Mexico so I´m pretty glad

after the winerys I found myself out of recommendations, followed my gut and ended up in a racxkety shack called Angelo´s Wine Country Deli... We both ordered the same and hit a jackpot the bbq beef sandwiches were delicious and served with a huge smile and tons of kind small talk (I highly recommend it) apparently it has been there for over 30 years so no doubt many of you know about it

if you dont it´s just down road from Viansa, Cline (great Mourvedre!) and Jacuzzi winerys

today we are heading to chinatown to have breakfast... lets see what I can find

Viansa Winery
25200 Arnold Dr, Sonoma, CA

Wine Country Deli
101 Antonina Dr, American Canyon, CA

Need help on first visit to SF on a budget

Hi all, thanks for your kind posts and suggestionst!

I´m starting my third day in SF, got here at 3 am in the morning last Friday…
My hotel reservation kicked in until 1:00 p.m. so I had booked a hostel (globe trotters inn) on ellis to have somewhere to crash until my hotel reservation kicked in.

Got there, they did not open the door! Then a guy pass by running holding a purse pursued by another guy calling the police about just being mugged by the first guy! I decided it was not the time or place to have my wife waiting, we got in the car (decided on renting) and took off. I will give that hostel hell in the hotel world web page… they didn’t open the door!! Just across we found “san Francisco international hostel” and they took us in, very nice personnel.

We got up and started cruising just taking the city in, and found ourselves in front of Saigon Sandwiches… AWESOME, Cristy had a grilled chicken one and I had a grilled pork; we both loved it! They put in cilantro, in Mexico we use tons of cilantro but I had never took it in sandwiches and it added some extra flavor that combined amazingly with the taste of the meat. Thanks for that one!!!

Later that day, after we got in the hotel we went to Lori´s Dinner… not good experience, the service was pretty bad, apparently our waitress was in a mood. My wife is a charmer, if she is in a line for more than 30 seconds you can bet she makes friends with the people standing before or behind her or both! And not even she could warm to the waitress… I ordered a BLT , pretty average and a clam chowder (baaaad) my wife got a burger and she was satisfied.

After going around in the city, at night we ended up at fishermans warf and to my undying shame I found myself without my notes! (I left them at the hotel at some point) and we were ravenous… we tried a hail mary and entered Isabella de la Torre restaurant in Fishermans warf (yeah I know they should cancel my account in here) and it was a big FAIL. Crab was mediocre at best, clam chowder beter than Lori´s but still pretty average.


Got up early, used the cable cars to get to the ferry´s building and the farmers market. GREAT EXPERIENCE!!! We loved it there, all the colors and flavors, we discovered some fruits and bought awesome almond treats (“G.L. Alfieri”)

Went in and found “cow girls creamery” cheese factory or something like that, they had an impressive variety of cheese and we bought many for latter, we got a baguette and also we purchased some prociutto and salami from “boccalone”; tried a hard boiled egg in black tea (great!) and basically tried everything in sight.

Went back to the hotel, prepared some sandwiches with our purchases and went on a shopping spree for the kids (clothes in mexico cost between 3 to 7 times more); at 8:30 we finished and going out from a Ross in Daly city I found out that we were around the corner of “Koi Palace” went in, pretty impressive setup with the aquariums and everything else they have there… waited for 30 minutes and got a table; we got 2 crabs (yes!!!) I got the pepper and salt one, absolutely delicious and Cristy got a ginger something one, pretty good too but I liked mine more, we got also some spring rolls, very good, and my wife ordered some prawns over fried noodles that were surprisingly good; it was not expensive looking at everything we ate, but I think we got the expensive dinner day covered hehehehehe

Today we are going to Sausalito and muir woods on the car, lets see what we find there

Thanks again to all for your interest.

Best regards,

Cristy and Luis

Need help on first visit to SF on a budget

thanks for all the siggestions, since I´m not very saavy with the map in here I just created a new one in google and addded everything!

everyday I´lll plan the places to visit AND eat, this map will be unvaluable since both Cristy and I enjoy food enourmously

she is a weird pregnant woman, she does not get cravings, this is going to be our third kid and just last week for the first time she asked me to go get her some cupcakes

I´m thinking of renting a car... what do you think? is it worth it or parking everywhere will be a nightmare?

Need help on first visit to SF on a budget

I´m a month away from my trip and already salivating at the meals i will have hehehe; I´ll look everything up on google maps and plan my visit routes around that.

One final question:

Should I buy the Go San francisco card or the San Francisco City pass? or neither?

There was a map on the right with all the places you recommended! where did it go?

thanks to all again

Need help on first visit to SF on a budget

that was awesome!!!, on another board a friend that has lived in SF told me:

I mentioned that I like Tadich Grill for seafood which I saw was also mentioned. It will be down the hill from you on California Street. Very old San Francisco, the oldest in the city. Many San Franciscans like the Hayes Street Grill. If you want some wonderful oyster stew, you might try Swan’s Oyster Depot on Polk St. But this is not a restaurant, just a counter and had to get two stools together. I notice no one mentioned anything at Fisherman’s Wharf. There’s this snobbish thing about touristy Fisherman’s Wharf. Don’t be afraid to be a tourist. The scenery there is great, it’s fun, and not too pricy. Scoma’s might be the place to go. If you like a fish broth, Chiopinno, a San Francisco seafood chowder is good. Be sure to get sourdough bread. Being October and wanting king crab, you might like a salad like crab louis which they named after you.

If you want oyster stew, maybe go to Swan’s Oyster Depot on Polk St., but this place has no tables, just a counter and sometimes a long line.

Incidentally, near is Ghirardelli Square, a good place for chocolate, but also there is a Lori’s Diner. These places are cheap, not all that good diners. But this one has a special attribute: the best view of San Francisco Bay for a low price. Just have a cheeseburger, or a BLT with fries and a milkshake – middle of the afternoon during the week when it’s not crowded, and enjoy looking out across the bay.

They mentioned some place near your hotel for breakfast. Not familiar with it. I used to work at the corner of Powell and Market and would walk up the hill for great breakfast at Sear’s. It’s between Post and Sutter on Powell. Good for big American breakfast.

Instead, if you hotel provides coffee and something, rather than going out for a regular breakfast you might enjoy waiting and walking over to nearby Chinatown for dim sum – which as you know, are a bit like Chinese tapas, small plates served, oftentimes steamed pastries. I used to frequent Hang Ah Dim Sum on Hang Ah Alley which is off Sacramento St a half block from Stockton St near the north end of the Stockton Tunnel. There are some brighter and more lively Dim Sum places on Jackson Street which may seem more appealing.

I love a couple Vietnamese places. Bodhi on Valencia Street in the inner Mission serves a French-Vietnamese fusion menu in a pleasant place. They have nice soup, spring rolls, and there’s a dish off the dinner menu that offers some sort of sample. Not expensive.

Mangosteen in the Tenderloin, corner of Larkin and Ellis, is great and affordable. Order Tamarind Prawn and a filet mignon dish and then share them. Across the street is the Phoenix Hotel, where I stay sometimes. It’s a famous dive for rockers and artists. They have a nice lounge [I know Cristy will not be drinking] with small plate food. It can be a nice place to sit by the pool; you never know who you might see there.

Up Larkin Street from Mangosteen is Pagoloc which serves a kind of brasserie Vietnamese dish. It might be a little too intense in it’s underground Vietnamese thing, however, as in not really for tourists.

A favorite nice restaurant is John’s Grill. It’s down at the bottom of Powell Street near the end of the Hyde Street Cable Car line, at 63 Ellis St. Another of the city’s oldest restaurants, it’s also famous for having been Sam Spade’s favorite hangout in Dashiell Hammett’s book the Maltese Falcon. [Hammett was a distant relative of mine]. I used to work around the corner and usually make a point to drop in once or twice each year.

I noticed some people mentioned Blue Bottle Coffee. Their original location is on Linden St in Hayes Valley. The only thing is the long waits. They now have a location in the Ferry Building. If you like coffee, be sure to sample. However, San Francisco is great for good coffee. I like Café Trieste on Upper Grant in Telegraph Hill and their Market St location on the corner with Gough has become my official hangout since I abandoned Café Flore in the Castro. The Market St location is also the place to go for Tango on Sunday nights. No admission, sometimes free tango lessons, and very reasonable prices from a light menu – caution, they can run out of food. Not too bad a cab ride from your hotel.

You might get a kick out of Foreign Cinema, check to see what’s playing. It’s in my part of the city, the Mission [The Mish] near the 24th St BART station. You might use going there as a reason to ride BART and then cab home. Near Foreign Cinema is a place I might recommend even more highly for the city view. It’s Medjool Restaurant, a really hip hotel with a rooftop restaurant that serves tapas style meals. I think it’s on the corner of 21st St.

At the bottom of Telegraph Hill, I like Fog City Diner, which looks like a regular diner, but has tablecloths and is a bit dressier.

what do you think? I invited him over, apparently he likes chow :)

is there a way to save the little map on the right with all the places marked?

you have been great guys, and let me know if you stop by Guadalajara

Tadich Grill
240 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

2522 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

Foreign Cinema
2534 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110

Hayes Street Grill
324 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102

Blue Bottle Cafe
66 Mint St, San Francisco, CA 94103

The San Franciscan
1525 North Main St., Walnut Creek, CA 94596

Hang Ah Restaurant
2130 Armory Dr, Santa Rosa, CA 95401

Fog City Diner
1300 Battery St, San Francisco, CA 94111

Need help on first visit to SF on a budget

Bb: Thanks for the info! I´ll watch out that they do not serve me “soft” crabs.

I´m not really a fan of oysters, but Cristy is, she loves them, if you have any specific recommendations we would appreciate it.

Myst: We will of course go to the golden gate park, I´ll make sure to schedule a stop at PPQ, Thanks!

Pili: Thanks! we are pretty excited for both; in Mexico we say that all babies come with a cake under the arm (the cake being good omens and economic opportunities) I´ve worked both as general counsel for companies and as associate lawyer in some firms, but this will by my first personal venture!

R&G is already on my “definitively going” list, we are going to be there for 7 full days so I´ll try to hit all the spots.

The “fleur de lys” sounds good! How many days/months in advance do I have to make reservations? Any specific dish we should not miss?

Thanks to all and best regards!


Need help on first visit to SF on a budget

Thank you both for your replies!

Gray: Thanks! this would be our third (and final) son/daughter, we have a 3 year old boy and a 10 month old girl (luckily both are super well behaved so both grandparents offered to take care of them while we go to SF!)

World is becoming smaller! it´s great that you know Guadalajara! next time you are here I could tip you on some awesome places to eat! I took note of your suggestions and try to follow them all.

One of my favourite meals is crab, king crag, blue crab you name it, I just can get enough and over here it´s way over priced.. do you know of a good place for crab in SF?

Also I´d like to treat Cristy for a nice dinner, no budget on it, what would be the place?

We like all kinds of food, really, so it does not need to be french or italian, feel free to suggest!

ML: thanks for the link I´m browsing it as we speak

again thank you both and I hope you keep the suggestions coming!

Need help on first visit to SF on a budget

Hi, my name is Luis and I need your help

My wife and I (both 32) will be travelling from our hometown, Guadalajara, in Mexico to SF for a week starting Friday Oct. 1st ending Friday Oct. 8th.

We love food and eating well, we are basically omnivores and like all kinds of food, but since Cristy (wife) will be 3 months pregnant at the moment of the trip, it´s probably best to avoid spicy and greasy food.

We are going to stay at “Powell Place” hotel at Nob Hill (Powell St. almost corner with California St.) and depending on public transportation and/or cabs. We plan to go sightseeing all around so that can even be accommodated according your suggestions.

We will be low on economic resources, I know the “new to SF” thread talks about being specific about amounts of dollars; but since I have not traveled much to the US I don’t really have an idea about what is expensive and what is not, but err on the inexpensive side.

I´m a lawyer starting up my own practice and most of my resources are tied up in remodeling the offices (that should give you some idea). Still I´d like to take Cristy for a fancy dinner or two, but I´d appreciate suggestions about quality food (btw we LOVE crab!) for low to medium prize.

I thank you all in advance!

Best regards