2 days in San Francisco – part two

March 28, 2011

Part two of 2 days in San Francisco–Hayes Valley

Last week, you will remember we left lunch at Nopalito and headed over to Hayes Valley for an afternoon of exploring and shopping. this has become my new favorite neighborhood for walking and discovering. Great shops, restaurants, off the beaten path favorites and some really cool design shops.

The easiest thing for me to do is list everything we visited and provide links for you so that you can decide on your own explorations…..

Our favorite stops:

patxispizza– Hayes at Octavia (511 Hayes St.-415-558-9991)–awesome Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza…Being a Chicagoan I can truly say pretty darn authentic…It is hard to find a good pizza on the west coast but when you do it is memorable

Miette (449 Octavia Street-415-626-6221)an awesome candy shop shown in the first 4 photos above…This store reminds me of my childhood as my grandmother had a friend that owned a lollie shop in Canberra, Australia that we would frequent as children and the owner would let us pick out whatever we wanted….It is also just a beautiful, stimulating display of color and texture the moment you walk through the doors. A must….

Fiddlesticks (540 Hayes Street-415.565.0508)this is hands down the best children’s clothing store we have been in for a long time…they carry Tea Collection which is a wonderful San Francisco based designer… and the staff was exceptionally helpful in selecting a few cute spring outfits for my daughter.

Timbuk2 (506 Hayes Street-415.252.9860) a stop here for my teenage son and his birthday gift-a messenger bag to carry a his computer. These guys were extremely helpful and the shop was really cool to explore…..

birch (564 Hayes Street-415.626.6860) a very beautiful flower shop and also the product of the last three photos above…the design of this shop and the flower arranging was spectacular…I especially loved the little bouquets created for the front stoop of the store. They were charming….

Lotus Bleu(325 hayes street) a great source of colorful fabrics, rugs and design accessories are available here..a really enjoyable and stimulating for anyone that has an interest in design….all products are also very affordable

Zonal (568 hayes street-415.255.9307) this is also another great design shop especially if you are on the lookout for architectural details, primitive furniture or turn of the century iron products. A lot of local artists are featured in the shop.

Lili Merveille (552 hayes street) a beautiful french boutique that carries babies and children’s clothes, women’s jewelry and french candy.

Once you are done with all of these fabulous shops it is time for what one local told us was the best cup of coffee in San Francisco. One block south on a little street called linden street you will find a coffee kiosk:

Blue Bottle Coffee (315 linden street) awesome stop for a quick cup of Joe…

a few steps down from blue bottle is another amazing interiors shop:

Tazi Designs, Inc. (333 linden street) is a showroom filled with imported Moroccan goods including furniture, accessories, mirrors, lighting and of course leather poufs. I could have spent hours exploring but kids were tired and it was time for us to head back to our hotel.

That evening we stayed within walking distance because if you know San Francisco, you know when it rains it is impossible to get a cab. Coming from Chicago this has always frustrated me but we went with the flow and headed out for Italian.

Ristorante Umbria (198 second street-415.546.6985) loud, authentic Italian cuisine. The restaurant was packed but the wait staff very accommodating for our group.

After filling up on great pasta we headed back to the hotel for rest and discussed all our finds for the day. Full tummies on board we slept and woke for day two in the city….

Union Square and the Mission District

The next day we woke early eager to explore before heading back to Reno. A huge snow storm was hitting the Sierras as we woke so the decision to head back was on hold as I80 was closed due to the weather. A brisk walk up towards China Town for breakfast and some Union Square shopping held us over….

Another favorite for breakfast:

Cafe de la Presse (342 grant avenue-415.398.2690) definitely a tourist spot but what I enjoy about it is the cafe au lait, the international design magazines and the international stream of customers heading in and out of the restaurant. We have had great conversations with New Zealanders, Australians and many others arriving in the States to start their travels.

After breakfast, we usually like to explore the city. On this particular visit we took my sister for some “American” clothing and window shopping. Part of what we enjoy is just getting out and walking. We have no particular destination in mind but for us that is part of the fun. We are not scheduled or rushed we just take in the city sites and vibe and enjoy everything it has to offer. After hours of exploring, we headed back to check out of the hotel and still not able to make it over the pass decided to head to the Mission District for a late lunch and a little more exploration.

Our lunch:

Tartine Bakery (600 guerrerro street-415 487 2600) I can’t even begin to explain to you how good this restaurant and bakery is…it is a must on your next visit to the city. The sandwiches, drinks and desserts are incredible and there was a line the entire time we ate our lunch. We decided to bring home dessert (a couple of chocolate eclairs and a chocolate pudding to share) and headed down the block to one of the areas best ice creameries…

Bi-Rite Creamery (3692 18th St-415. 626.5600) small batch, organic ice cream and soft serve…my favorite flavor of the day: salted caramel…..awesome treat

In addition to the ice cream shop, Bi-Rite Market has been serving the community since 1940 and supports local growers and organic farmers. We picked up some miniature mandarins for the ride home and decided to head back to Reno.

All in all a fantastic two days of exploring in San Francisco. We have been coming to this city since we moved west 11 years ago and I would have to say it honestly takes that many years of visiting to even start to uncover neighborhoods, restaurants, walks, art galleries etc.. If you have any favorite spots in this wonderful city please share them in the comments as I will be creating a city guide for the blog and would love to include your spots…Hope you have enjoyed this glimpse into a fabulous west coast destination…..



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