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Back for more with family of four . . .

Thanks nsxtasy. I know we'd enjoy the French Market -- such a great way to enjoys the sights and scents of the season while snacking on a wide range of delicious offerings. I've deliberately planned our time with some open stretches so we can make some choices spontaneously, so the market would be a great option to consider.

Speaking of that general location, what are the best options getting there from either the Gold Coast or from down around the Field Museum?

Aug 22, 2014
spicefinder in Chicago Area

Back for more with family of four . . .

Forgot to thank you for the excellent suggestions for Naperville and vicinity. We all love Neapolitan Pizza (my wife was born in Campania), Meson Sabika looks lovely (and make work for us for brunch on Sunday after an early soccer game) and Zest Bistro looks fun - might do Burger Monday before hitting the road!

Aug 21, 2014
spicefinder in Chicago Area

Back for more with family of four . . .

Thanks nsxtasy. We may do doughnuts more than once as Ontario has an incredible number of bad/mediocre doughnuts, the ones you regret eating because they are so not worth the calories. There is a chain call Tim Hortons in Canada (and now in Michigan, NY) that is everywhere and the coffee is decent but the doughnuts are leaden and sickly sweet, so my kids have never had a great doughnut, unless you count the Zepole my Italian mother-in-law makes.

Thanks too for the suggestions on coffee and French pastry. I've driven an hour out of my way in Toronto for a great croissant so I suppose an extra stop next to the Cultural Center would be worth it.

I'm curious if you have tried Boka since Lee Wolen took the reigns. The proof is in the tasting but I like his approach to cooking and his menu and have been impressed with the feedback he's gotten. (and the new design looks great too)

Aug 21, 2014
spicefinder in Chicago Area

Back for more with family of four . . .

Just wanted to update some of my plans so far based on both the excellent input on this thread and generally on the board (and the days refer to next week::

Tuesday Dinner: Boka. Only 1.6 miles from our hotel so we can can it or walk depending upon how we feel and the weather. We're arriving this day in Chicago after a 6 hour drive the night before from Ontario to Northern Indiana and having a stopover in a motel that's 45 minutes from the Museum of Science and Industry, our first destination Tuesday morning. Not sure yet about lunch and probable will decide on the spot as I'm not sure what time we'll wrap up in the museum, drive to the hotel and drop off our car.

Wednesday: Early start to get to the Doughnut Vault at 7:30 AM, then walking and eating our way to the Field Museum. May pop outside for a light snack at a hot dog stand because I snagged an early reservation at Girl and the Goat. (4:30) I actually prefer to eat earlier rather than later so I can walk off the meal and have time for something after dinner.

Thursday: Art Institute,the start of the jazz fest at the Cultural Center and some open time in the evening for a great meal ... still considering choices. May get a bite at the museum as suggested for lunch.

Friday: Back at the Jazz fest, this time in the park, so may stop by Xoxo to get some sandwiches to go, ordering first online. Then a 6:45 PM dinner at Bavettes.

So far, I like the mix of dinner places. Great creativity, solid and interesting New American and a French bistro with great Chicago steak (and my daughter doesn't eat steak so there are some good options there for her too).

Again, I'd welcome more great advice -- I really appreciate all the help and love reading about all the wonderful choices.

Aug 21, 2014
spicefinder in Chicago Area

Back for more with family of four . . .

Thanks for all the wonderful and helpful suggestions. I ready some of the board before I posted and you are a treasure trove of knowledge about Chicago food and restaurants.

I think we'll save Lou Malnati for when we are in Naperville and maybe try to take some teammates and their families, though we'll have to time it so the boys don't have to play to the following day -- I don't think Deep Dish is a great prelude to playing soccer.

The other suggestions for around the hotel are all great and I'll try to narrow down which ones we'll try.

Also looking for some help/suggestions for a few other things:

(1) I plan to go to the Jazz Festival in Friday (I played Jazz eons ago)in Millennium Park, and while I'm sure there will be food vendors there, I would be interested in gathering stuff first for a picnic. Since we'd be coming down from a Gold Coast hotel, anyplace roughly along the way would be fair game. I see Eataly is on the way. Other suggestions?

(2) We'll be going to four museums -- Field, Shedd, Art Institute and Science and Industry (the latter on the way in as we drive to Chicago) so we'd love suggestions for lunch spots within a reasonable distance of the museums.

(3) While I won't be making any 2-hour pilgrimages for food on this trip, I would like to do a few outings on the L to see other neighbourhoods and grab a great meal. Any suggestions?

Aug 19, 2014
spicefinder in Chicago Area

Back for more with family of four . . .

Two years ago I took my kids and wife to the Windy City for the first time on the way to a youth soccer tournament in Naperville, and while we only had 10 hours in Chicago itself, we made the most of it, enjoying lunch at the Purple Pig and dinner at Frontera Grill.

Now we are heading back for the same soccer tourney (Friday to Monday on Labor Day weekend) and this time I hope to arrive Monday late-afternoon so we'd have three full days plus Monday night before heading out to the soccer pitches in the 'burbs.

Looks like we will likely stay at the Thompson Hotel in the Gold Coast, and while we will have a car, I hope to keep it mostly parked, so will mostly rely on our feet and public transit and the occasional cab to get around.

Here are some of the factors that will influence where we go to eat:

(1) While Chicago has some great, high-end, high-priced tasting menus that I might try if it was just my wife and myself, that's not an option with our 14 and 11 year-olds, who are adventurous compared to most kids, but for whom a $300 meal would be lost.

(2) I prefer a diverse lineup that includes some Chicago basics (hot dogs/sausage), pizza, etc., some great ethnic eats and some places with iconic locales and excellent but moderately priced food -- a place such as North Pond sounds like it would fit the bill.

(3) Proximity to our hotel, key attractions and public transportation -- while I have driven a couple of hours for a BBQ joint in the woods of Tennessee and even more for Burrata in Puglia, my wife and kids aren't so inclined.

(4) I see there's a Polish festival that week in Jefferson Park. Anyone ever go? Worth it?

(5) While I enjoy a place with a view and some decor (North Pond), my first priority is usually getting the best taste for the buck -- I'd chose a hole-in-the-wall with great food over a beautiful place with just good food.

(6) Since it's fun to walk and graze, I'd welcome suggestions for quick bites/snacks along the way.

(7) While I know the scale of exciting eating options diminishes when we go to Naperville, we will have a car and anything within a 15-20 minute drive is fair game -- we tried Portillos there the last time as well as Q Bbq (decent) and Naf Naf Grill and the latter especially was a hit.

Thanks for any and all suggestions!

Aug 10, 2014
spicefinder in Chicago Area

Trip to your city: I've picked a dozen resturaurants — you pick the 13th.

Thanks for all the fantastic suggestions and help -- it is a true pleasure to be going to a city where so many people are passionate about food, knowledgeable about the culinary scene and generous with advice.

Since I will be arriving on the 20th, I needed to start making reservations and doing so in a way that fit well with the rest of our plans since there is so much we hope to see and do. Here's the dining schedule with most of the dinners and one lunch reserved so far:

Wedn/20 -
dinner Aziza

Thur/21 -
lunch - poc chuk, some taquerias, Tartine Bakery
dinner: Canteen

Fri
lunch: Tony's Pizza Napolitena
dinner: Off the Grid/Fort Mason at 5; walk to Pier 33 for ferry to night tour of Alcatraz

Sat
Market
lunch Ler Ros Thai
dinner Nopa

Sun
Yank Sing
Giants game
Delfina

Monday
PPQ Dungeness Island (though their web site is suddenly not in service)
La Folie

Tuesday
Cotagna (dinner reservations booked unless 10:15 pm - too late for the kids - so I booked lunch)
Perbacco

I would have liked to have added another Asian place to replace Mission Chinese but my kids and wife may not be as game as I am for Sichuan. Not sure what's going on with PPQ Dungeness -- likely just a snag with its website -- but I'd welcome backup suggestions in the Richmond District since that morning we will be walking Trail's End.

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Tartine Bakery
600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Trip to your city: I've picked a dozen resturaurants — you pick the 13th.

Thanks for all the suggestions for food at the Giants game, though if I eat everything you suggest, I may have to join my kids in running the bases after the game We have seats in the upper deck, first row, a bit down the right field line with great views of the Bay. It's a long walk to the bleachers but that will be needed to walk off some of those calories. Besides, I think the kids will enjoy the slide and walking around.

Guy Fieri Barbecue Sauce Allays Suspicions

The over-the-top marketing is off-putting. "Regional legend." "An institution" "The secret ingredient."

Oh wait. That's how marketers pitch Show-Me Liquid Smoke Bar-B-Q.

Jul 10, 2011
spicefinder in Features

Trip to your city: I've picked a dozen resturaurants — you pick the 13th.

Might make for a nice meal Sunday morning before walking to an afternoon Giants game.

Trip to your city: I've picked a dozen resturaurants — you pick the 13th.

Thanks for clarifying. You prefer Old Mandarin, Z&Y or like each about the same?

Trip to your city: I've picked a dozen resturaurants — you pick the 13th.

Thanks Ruth. I had read about Plum. We're staying in Pacific Heights rather than downtown but we could take a bus or can back to the hotel from downtown. How do you think Plum compares to some of the Modern Cal-Cuisine places in San Francisco?

Trip to your city: I've picked a dozen resturaurants — you pick the 13th.

Not sure what this in in response to though I've read good things about Old Mandarin Islamic.

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Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant
3132 Vicente St, San Francisco, CA 94116

Trip to your city: I've picked a dozen resturaurants — you pick the 13th.

@walker More selections on weekends at Yank Sing -- is that just for the 101 Spear location of the other location as well?

@Robert Lauriston Thanks for letting me know about the parking.

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Yank Sing
49 Stevenson St Ste Stlv, San Francisco, CA 94105

Trip to your city: I've picked a dozen resturaurants — you pick the 13th.

While I like Chinese food from different regions I have a special weakness for spicy. I will definitely research Z&Y. Can you tell me more about it? Where is it located? What on the menu do you especially like? A number of more authentic Sichuan restaurants have opened in NY in the past decade — there even some small chains — but I don't get back to NYC all that often.

Trip to your city: I've picked a dozen resturaurants — you pick the 13th.

Seems that all the Chinese I've read about have some uneven reviews on this board. Any other Chinese (that is really too broad) options you'd suggest? One of the Burmese places instead?

Good call on the other informal food options in the Mission.

Trip to your city: I've picked a dozen resturaurants — you pick the 13th.

Thanks for a couple of great suggestions. Taking a look at the menus and reviews of Cotogna and Nopa - impressive and a nice vibe for kids. it is so nice to see restaurants list their purveyors - I can't tell you how rare that is where I live. Do you agree with reviews of Cotogna that say that only the pizza fails to reach high standards?

As for Baker and Banker, is your concern is that it may be too formal/stuffy for kids, that the food isn't great or that the food isn't all that creative?

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Nopa
560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

Cotogna
490 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

Trip to your city: I've picked a dozen resturaurants — you pick the 13th.

Thanks for the head's up.

Trip to your city: I've picked a dozen resturaurants — you pick the 13th.

Thanks for the description of Broken Record.

As far as A16, some of the dishes we enjoy already from my wife's mother - tripa, for example. So my first instinct tends to be food from other Italian regions, though interestingly enough, we enjoyed a great meal last year from a chef from Campania cooking in Venice -- it was largely the food of Venice but there were some touches and ingredients from Campania. What have you especially enjoyed at A16?.

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A16
2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

Broken Record
1166 Geneva Ave, San Francisco, CA

Trip to your city: I've picked a dozen resturaurants — you pick the 13th.

I may have to add another week to our trip (I wish!).

Why do folks love about Zuni? What do other folks hate

Bar Tartine sounds intriguing and closer than Chez Panisse. I'll check out the reviews and web site.

It may be an unfair question but do you have a preference between Cotogna or Delfina? Incanto sounds like a different beast altogether -- more out there so probably has more devoted fans and skeptics.

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Zuni Cafe
1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Chez Panisse
1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

Delfina Restaurant
3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Bar Tartine
561 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

Cotogna
490 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

Trip to your city: I've picked a dozen resturaurants — you pick the 13th.

Thanks for laying out some of the differences among ice cream choices. Is Mr and Mrs. an easy walk from AT&T? We're going to a Sunday afternoon's Giants game.

Thanks too for the advice about Peruvian places. We'll be spending some time at Golden Gate Park so Pasion may work well.

Off the Grid sounds fun and we're not that far from Fort Mason. Would you suggest that for sake of variety? Favorite trucks and bites?

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Off the Grid
Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, CA 94123

Trip to your city: I've picked a dozen resturaurants — you pick the 13th.

I'm afraid I might make a wrong turn and end up back near Ontario. (Bad joke - sorry)

What do you enjoy about the Detroit?

Trip to your city: I've picked a dozen resturaurants — you pick the 13th.

What's a croissant without ice cream and chocalate bread -- I like your tastes! What flavors do you recommend at Bi-Rite Creamery and Humphry Slocombe ?

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Bi-Rite Creamery
3692 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Trip to your city: I've picked a dozen resturaurants — you pick the 13th.

Thanks for the tip on Sam v. Tadich.

I guess Burmese Kitchen is your favorite Burmese?

As for Peruvian, Fresca is near our hotel and Inkas gets a lot of praise for it's roast chicken.

Not familiar with Tony's -- any style in particular you think they do especially well?

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Inkas Restaurant
3299 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Fresca
3945 24th Street, San Francisco, CA 94114

Trip to your city: I've picked a dozen resturaurants — you pick the 13th.

Thanks about the warnings -- just did some searches and it seems many chowhounders agree with you assessment of The Stinking Rose.

About Baker and Banker, could you explain what left you thinking it was mediocre? I've read limited but good reviews so far and am curious where you felt it fell short. Zuni is a bit of a shrine -- we went there in '94 and I enjoy using the cook book. More recent posts about Zuni seem to be more of a mixed bag.

Good suggestion about a Mission Taqueria -- I had planned to snack at a few so hadn't listed it as a dinner/lunch. Which specific items at which taquerias do you most enjoy?

Would Broken Record be suitable for the kids? Can you describe the food?

I had considered both A16 and SPQR -- my wife was born in Campagna and we have been to Napoli. But in seeking a balance I thought perhaps two Italian would be enough. I'm tempted by A16 if only to get the Buratta -- I had the real thing in Puglia where it's made fresh each morning.

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Zuni Cafe
1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

A16
2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA 94123

Stinking Rose
325 Columbus, San Francisco, CA 94133

SPQR
1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

Broken Record
1166 Geneva Ave, San Francisco, CA

Napoli
869 4th St, San Rafael, CA 94901

Trip to your city: I've picked a dozen resturaurants — you pick the 13th.

I live in chow-exile in a small Canadian city where the number of inspiring restaurants can be counted on one hand and still have fingers left to snap. While most neighbors are natives of the cite city and aren't troubled, I grew up on the fringe of NYC, lived three years in Los Angeles and a few summers in Washington, ate my way through Tennessee and spent considerable time in Italy -- I still dream about a particular restaurant in Parma.

So it is with a sense of excitement that I am planning a week-long trip to San Francisco along with my wife and our kids, ages 11 and 8. Our children are seasoned travelers and are well behaved in restaurants - we're careful to make sure they have something to eat an hour or two before so they aren't ravenous and fidgety.

I also approach the planning of where to eat with some trepidation: The list of places I'd love to try are considerably longer than the 13 dinners/lunches we'll have time for. So I have planned our outings with the following in mind:

(1) I love variety and want my selections to reflect that, both in types of cuisine and atmosphere. I have yet to find a type of cuisine that, when done well, I love.
(2) While there is no upper limit on how much I might spend for a great meal and experience, I have little interest in going to the 13 best fine dining places and prefer a mix that also includes dives, family restaurants, etc.
(3) We will have a rental car in addition to a muni pass for the week and will be based in Pacific Heights. The hotel serves breakfast.
(4) I will have Dungeness Crab even though it will be from northern waters and lived more recently in tanks. I will have to figure out a way to return some day in the winter.
(5) This is our first trip to SF since 1994, when my wife and I came for less than a week.
(6) I won't be going to Napa or Sonoma because it's a lot of time spent in a car for a day trip, which isn't that fun for the kids.
(7) I don't have plans to go to the East Bay though I suppose it's possible we'd hop the Bart.
(8) We will be going to the Saturday market in the Ferry Bldg and will make a pilgrimage to the Mission to Tartine.
(9) La Ciccia is closed during our stay or it would surely have made our list.
(10) After our week in SF we will be traveling, and eating, in Monterey, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles -- the latter we'll have time for just 5 or 6 lunches/dinners.

With all that in mind, here's what I have planned (tentatively):

Aziza - Moraccan
PPQ Dungeness Island - crab/Vietnamese
Lers Ros - Thai
Poc Chuk - Yucatecan
Yank Sing - Dim Summ (unless we can get out to Koi Palace)
La Folie - splurge dinner/French
Tdadich or Sams for San Dabs
Canteen - California/Med
Baker and Banker Restaurant
Perbacco - Piedmontese
Delfina - Italian
Mission Chinese Food

That's a list of 12 restaurants and I welcome feedback on what I have picked as well as suggestions on what should be the 13th.

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Koi Palace Restaurant
365 Gellert Blvd, Daly City, CA 94015

La Ciccia
291 30th Street, San Francisco, CA 94131

Perbacco
230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

La Folie
2316 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109

Delfina Restaurant
3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Yank Sing
49 Stevenson St Ste Stlv, San Francisco, CA 94105

Mission Chinese Food
2234 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

Landlocked chowhounder seeking the best SF-area seafood

My better half is sadly not a fan of oysters. Maybe I'll have to sneak out.

Landlocked chowhounder seeking the best SF-area seafood

Thanks David. All things equal, it's nice to have some places picked out int the neighborhood so we can walk back to the hotel after dinner. Anything in particular you recommend at Woodhouse Fish Co.?

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Woodhouse Fish Company
1914 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA

Landlocked chowhounder seeking the best SF-area seafood

Thanks for the suggestion. Unfortunately, while I'm American, I live in Canada, and many things can't be shipped across the border, because, you never know, they could be terrorist crabs. What you can ship costs significantly more. Non-perishable stuff I ship to a border town and pick up but crabs would be a problem. I once lived in rural Ohio where the nearest good restaurant was . . . no where. I'd probably live off mail order if I lived there now.

Landlocked chowhounder seeking the best SF-area seafood

Thanks c oliver. I had noticed that and made use of it but it was still very thoughtful of you to point it out. Some very good threads linked below. Also a lot of great suggestions on this thread — I have a much better sense of which places I'd most like to try.