4.14.2011

San Francisco has only one drawback - 'tis hard to leave.

Chef came into our room one day right before classes ended and said "I'm taking to you to San Francisco as a graduation present. We leave on Tuesday." I quickly finished my last few papers, defended my thesis and off we went!

The whole trip was perfect. We went to Alcatraz, which was probably one of the coolest things either of us have ever done. I know it's a big tourist attraction, but we both love old historic sites, and the audio tour was absolutely incredible. I listed to the "Stuff You Missed in History Class" podcast right before we left, and it made the whole experience really interesting.

Outside of Alcatraz, we managed to score an 8:30 reservation at incanto even though it was their annual sold-out Head-to-Tail dinner. (So "thank you" to whoever decided to cancel at the last minute!) My goodness, it was amazing! Dinner was: venison liver crudo, snouts & snails (this was absolutely phenomenal!), paglia e fieno (the 'pasta' being tripe), and then kidney and asparagus (Chef and I both agree that kidney is not something we enjoy). For desert? "Bones." It was desert made out of bone marrow which was reduced into something like a butter and used to make pastry! We could have been completely happy (the food was excellent, the atmosphere was lovely, the wine was delicious), but why stop there? We asked our server if it was at all possible to meet the chef? And to our surprise? Chris Cosentino came out and was absolutely amazing! When we told him that we came down from Canada, he was so gracious and got out a pen and paper and gave us a list of places that we just HAD to check out! And then, he actually took photos with us. Amazing!



A lot of the places that Cosentino suggested Chef already had on the list for us - a combination of "At The Table With...(Chris Cosentino)", "Best Thing I Ever Ate (also, Chris Cosentino)" and "No Reservations", I think. (I'm now realizing that this trip was more of an excuse for him to eat than to celebrate my freedom from purgatory, but I will happily oblige.)  So, off we went to get donuts (maple apple bacon - oh my goodness!) and eat a meat cone from Boccalone.

The one place that completely surprised us (and I think was the best meal I've ever had - or at least top 3) was Cosentino's suggestion of Prospect. Absolutely every single thing that we ate there was perfectly cooked. The gnocchi was possibly the highlight, and it may have ruined all other gnocchi for me from that moment on.  Besides that, we had the calamari and octopus, chicken, duck, and s'mores (oh my goodness the peanut butter brittle!) and angel food cake!

Of course, we did more than just eat. We went to Fisherman's Wharf, Lombard Street, down to Chinatown, and Union Square - and had burgers at Burger Bar! On our search for donuts, we went to the Mission, and got to check out all the murals down there. I was in awe of how amazing they were. They really speak as a social commentary of the people that live there. Loved it.

We meant to take a bus to the Presidio, but of course chef wanted to check with a local to get "better directions" and told him that we wanted to go to Golden Gate Park! Against my better judgment, I went  along with these new plans... Oops! Well, it was pretty cool to see the Windmills and decided that since it was a beautiful day, why not just walk along the coast towards the Bridge? It took a few hours, but we met some nice men from France that were on a bicycle tour of the coast, so we took a few pictures back and forth which was nice. But, by the time we finally got to the Bridge, I think we were completely exhausted. Took some snaps, and then hailed a cab to take us back to the Fairmont. We ended up spending the night in our hotel room, and since the view from there was so beautiful, we just cracked a few beer, put our feet up and watched the sun go down.

It was such a great vacation, and so nice to spend some 'quality time' together - especially after these last few months which have been filled with so much stress over my thesis and him having worked so much lately.  Now, we just need to plan our next trip back so we can get more of those donuts!

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