36 Hours in San Francisco

The New York Times left a couple key places off their list of things to do. Here are my additions.

One of many decent views.

Swan Oyster Depot: One of the few lines in the world worth waiting in. Show up as close to 10:00AM as you can, don’t be shy about ordering a drink, and make sure you get the Sicilian sashimi plate. There’s a reason Lucky Peach thinks “Swan Oyster Depot is the best place to eat in America.”

(Left) View from the bar. (Middle) Sicilian sashimi aka the freshest cuts, olive oil, capers, red onion, salt and pepper. (Right) Salmon platter with shrimp salad.

Plow: $16.50 is a lot to spend on breakfast, but the eponymous plate here is so big that you’ll be full through lunch. Here is what you get: two eggs, two lemon ricotta pancakes, potatoes, and your choice of house-made pork sausage patties, Nueske’s bacon, or chicken apple sausage. That’s the proper way to start your day.

The signature plow breakfast.

The Mill: Expensive toast blah, blah, blah. Hate on the concept all you want, but if you like bread, this is the place to be, and if we are being honest, there are way worse ways to spend $4. Sweet (country loaf with almond butter, honey, and sea salt) or savory (rye with cream cheese and pepper), they’ve got you covered.

You get the idea. Toast and coffee. It’s not revolutionary, but it’s not bad either.

Tosca Cafe: Revamped and reinvigorated courtesy of NYC’s April Bloomfield/Ken Friedman (The Spotted Pig, The Breslin, etc), this is not the same Tosca your grandparents went to. I prefer the drinks to the food, mainly because the “Trouble in Paradise” is the best cocktail I’ve had, and the House “Cappuccino” is fun to order and to drink.

Trouble Coffee Co: More toast? More coffee? Yes. But this time within walking distance of the beach. Trouble takes Texas toast, slathers it with butter, and sprinkles cinnamon on top. Order one and walk to Ocean Beach, the setting of the article that led to William Finnegan’s breathtaking memoir Barbarian Days.

Butter, bread, and cinnamon work well together.

Zuni Café: A San Francisco staple since 1979 and home to the late, great Chef Judy Rodgers, everyone should go to dinner at Zuni at least once. Oysters, Ceasar salad, chicken for two, and plenty of wine. It’s hard not to be happy here.

Same order, every time. Just add chicken, and more wine.

Hawk Hill: Bike, walk, or catch a ride over the bridge and make your way up to Hawk Hill for breathtaking views from 923 ft. If you’re lucky enough to get a clear day you can see the entire city to your south and wide swaths of the Marin Headlands to your north.

(Left) Facing north towards the Marin Headlands. (Right) The things postcards are made of.

No plans? Some time to kill? Walk around and explore the city for yourself. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

(Left) No trip to the Mission is complete without a drink at Zeitgeist. (Right) A colorful corner in the Mision.
(Left) City Hall symmetry. (Right) Pac Heights splendor.
That sundown glow.