Helpful ReplyPls suggest ROAD and FOOD - Los Angeles to San Francisco coastal

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dvellice
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2011/09/10 18:33:58 (permalink)

Pls suggest ROAD and FOOD - Los Angeles to San Francisco coastal

In November I'll drive from LA to SF with my wife.  We plan to go slow, overnighting midway somewhere.  Bumper sticker, if we had one, would read: "We Brake For Food - and Views"!
 
I don't know the roads, but hope to hug the coast as much as practical for the sightseeing.  Will I have to take the 101 or I-5 at all, or can I chug up CA-1 all the way?   Where is "half-way" and, if that's not the best town for dinner and sleeping, where is?
 
Any good 1/4 and 3/4 places to stop for the 2 lunches?
 
Thanks,
Doug
 
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jdonthomas
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Re:Pls suggest ROAD and FOOD - Los Angeles to San Francisco coastal 2011/09/10 19:34:11 (permalink)
Hi Doug:
Check out Nepenthe.  It's located at 48510 Highway 1, Big Sur, CA
I don't think that you will be dissappointed.  Have a Bloody Mary, THEY have
never made a bad one.  Unless things have changed recently, YOU get to
make it yourself.
Don T.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
#2
Twinwillow
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Re:Pls suggest ROAD and FOOD - Los Angeles to San Francisco coastal 2011/09/11 02:16:15 (permalink) ☄ Helpful
In addition to the above excellent suggestion, I'd like to add,  
The Hitching Post II in Buellton. (my favorite). Where they filmed a good deal of the movie "Sideways". It's been favored by Michael Stern amongst many others.
And yes, you can virtually stay on Hwy 1 most all the way. And you should although, there are places that you will have to go on 101 but you'll be able to get back on Hwy 1 easy enough. And, you should. I-5 is a non issue.
We always enjoyed staying at one of the (very romantic) motels overlooking the Pacific in Emerald Beach near Cambria which is a very short drive north to San Simeon and famous Hearst Castle which is a "must see"!
 
    Thank you, Mar52. I'm getting old, I guess. It is Moonstone Beach. Not Emerald beach as I said above.
post edited by Twinwillow - 2011/09/12 10:58:16
#3
mar52
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Re:Pls suggest ROAD and FOOD - Los Angeles to San Francisco coastal 2011/09/11 11:52:23 (permalink)
In Cambria if you deside to stay, Moonstone Beach Drive is where you can stay right on the water.  If you're lucky you'll see otter out in the water playing of laying on their backs cracking clams for a snack.
 
For your snack I love Linn's
www.linnsfruitbin.com
 
You can buy great fruit and meat pies and take home a few if you take along a cooler.  They also have great jams.  I'm fond of their chicken pies.  If you've never had ollalaberry... Linn's is the place.
 
There are a lot of other privately owned restaurants in Cambria, most of which I enjoyed a good meal.
 
Be sure to stop at and walk through the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo.  Great place, unlike others.
 
Santa Maria is where you get California Barbecue.... tri tip.  Take your pic of places.
 
Seventeen Mile Drive is worth the price in Pisnmo Beach.  They charged for that luxury way back in the '60s when I did it.
 
Stay safe and enjoy!
 
 
 
 

#4
catosaurus
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Re:Pls suggest ROAD and FOOD - Los Angeles to San Francisco coastal 2011/09/11 16:43:45 (permalink)
I recently had an excellent breakfast at First Awakenings in Salinas:
 
http://www.firstawakenings.net/
 
It's in the old part of town, near the John Steinbeck Center.
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mayor al
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Re:Pls suggest ROAD and FOOD - Los Angeles to San Francisco coastal 2011/09/12 09:09:18 (permalink)
Further north Stop in Monterey for some great Chowder on the pier ! JUST NORTH OF Fort Ord IS CASTROVILLE, HOME TO MOST AMERICAN ARTICHOKES.
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BackRhodes
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Re:Pls suggest ROAD and FOOD - Los Angeles to San Francisco coastal 2011/09/12 17:33:12 (permalink) ☄ Helpful
Wow...MD is a long way from the west coast...what happens once you get to SF...???
 
What type vehicle are you driving...???
 
Just before you get to SF on Calif Hwy1 is the city of Pacifica...check out Gorilla BBQ...located in a converted railroad boxcar...
 
Calif Hwy 1 IS the coastal route...slower, and be prepared for LOTS of twists and turns as the highway snakes around bluffs, coves, and gullys (it can be fatiguing if you're not used to it...take your time and take lots of breaks)...
 
US Hwy 101 is faster, but not next to the ocean for the most part, this is Steinbeck country...think of Tom Joad (Grapes Of Wrath), and Cannery Row...
 
Interstate 5 is an express route, fairly barren, and to some it's a soulless route...it's function was to provide a faster route between LA & SF along the western edge of the Central Valley, faster than US Hwy 101 , or the eastern Central Valley route Cal Hwy 99 (used by lots of trucks)...when I-5 first opened there weren't many gas stations or food places...it's improved since then...my personal nickname for I-5 is "The Leadfoot Hwy" due to the high speeds folks zoom along at...
 
BTW...the Central Valley, et al, is the Sacramento Valley in the north, and the San Joaquin Valley in the south...the terms are sometimes used interchangebly...
 
Leaving LA, US Hwy 101 and Cal Hwy 1 are the same chunk of pavement, but NW of Santa Barbara, Cal Hwy 1 splits off at Gaviota and skirts around Vendenberg AFB, wheras US Hwy 101 heads north to Santa Maria...
 
IF you decide to take Hwy 1, you can still get to Santa Maria on Cal Hwy 166 to enjoy some Tri-Tip (aka Santa Maria sirloin cut)...
 
At Arroyo Grande Cal Hwy 1 and US Hwy 101 rejoin until you get to SLO (San Luis Obispo), where the 2 highways split off again, with Hwy 1 rejoining the coast at Morro Bay...SLO is roughly your half way point...(while there in the SLO area tune in KPYG-94.9-FM)...
 
Places you may want to visit:
 
Hearst Castle at San Simeon
The California Missions
(north of San Simeon and up to Monterey is Los Padres Nat'l Forest)
Monterey Bay Aquarium & Carmel By The Sea
Santa Cruz Boardwalk (while in the Monterey / Santa Cruz area tune in to KPIG-107.5-FM)
 
On the north end of your route is the infamous Devils Slide, subject to continous erosion...the bypass tunnel is scheduled to open by the end of this year
 
According to mis-information by Al Roker on a tv show, PCH (Pacific Coast Hwy) extends from San Diego to Seattle...which simply is NOT the case... here is a LINK to Wiki Info  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_State_Route_1)  (to us native folks in the north, PCH is a southern Calif thing)...
 
At different points Calif Hwy 1's name is PCH, Cabrillo Hwy, Shoreline Hwy, and Coast Hwy.
 
I created a map that might help you visualize the different routes:
 

#7
BackRhodes
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Re:Pls suggest ROAD and FOOD - Los Angeles to San Francisco coastal 2011/09/12 17:47:43 (permalink)
Castroville is billed as "The Artichoke Capitol Of The World"
 
Gilroy (US Hwy 101) is billed as "The Garlic Capitol Of The World"
 
Areas of California sometimes called "The Nation's Breadbasket" include the Salinas Valley, The Central Valley, and the (Sacramento-SanJoaquin) Delta area, each area has just the right climate for certain crops...
 
Without extensive irrigation, the San Joaquin Valley would be just a dustbowl (ala "Tulare Dust" by Merle Haggard, or "99" by Patti Booker)...but that very same irrigation also leads to increasing toxic salts and selenium buildups in the soils and drainage canals...canals bring in fresh water from the north, and canals drain away the contaminated water run off and dump it into the Delta area, which has been known to kill wildlife, such at the Kesterson area... 
 
(Yes, we DO pay an environmental price locally for the food shipped back east for y'all to eat)...
#8
love2bake
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Re:Pls suggest ROAD and FOOD - Los Angeles to San Francisco coastal 2011/09/14 22:49:16 (permalink)
First, just so you know--Seventeen Mile Drive is near Carmel, rather than Pismo Beach (earlier post).
 
But in Pismo Beach there are two places I adore:
 
(1)  Splash Cafe, which has the most delicious clam chowder I've ever had, and I've tried a LOT.
(2)  Old West Cinnamon Rolls.  AMAZING.  I love the original kind with the crunchy edges, but they have lots of varieties.  I want one right now. :)
#9
catosaurus
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Re:Pls suggest ROAD and FOOD - Los Angeles to San Francisco coastal 2011/09/14 23:29:46 (permalink)
Speaking of Gilroy, make sure to at least drive through with your vents/windows open.  The garlic odor is pervasive and intoxicating.  I think it may have been Calvin Trillin who said that in Gilroy you can marinate a steak just by hanging it outside on a clothesline.
#10
mar52
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Re:Pls suggest ROAD and FOOD - Los Angeles to San Francisco coastal 2011/09/15 00:04:43 (permalink)
That is correct about the 17 mile drive.
 
In Pismo Beach, you eat clams.  This is one of the places in Pismo Beach:  http://www.steamerspismobeach.com/
 
You can also go out on to the beach at Pismo Beach and dig your own clams if the season is right.  You get a bucket with a size gauge connected to it.
 
Stay away from I5 unless you want papusas from a truck in Buttonwillow.  Nothing else worth while on I5 so cross papusas off your list.
 
When any of my family flies back in to Los Angeles we always stop at Tito's Tacos on the way home. 
 
It's not your typical Mexican restaurant.  They sell only hard shell tacos, good tostadas, great burritos and awful enchiladas and tamales.  Their salsa although not hot is delicious and what they call guacamole is also good.... but not guacamole!
 
I've been eating at Titos's since I was a kid and I'm old now.  It's one of my favorites.
 
Great way to begin your trip.
 
Tito's Tacos
11222 Washington Pl (Sepulveda Boulevard)
Culver City, CA 90230 
   
Driving through Gilroy reminds me of Thanksgiving.  (I know, I've mentioned that before)
 
Stop at the roadside stands for the best olives and honeys around.  Strawberries if they're still in season near Ventura/Oxnard.
 
McConnell's Ice Cream in Santa Barbara is a good stop at 201 West Mission Street.
 
Driving through Buellton on 101 you can stop for a cup of Anderson's Split Pea Soup.  You don't have to order an entire meal, just a side of a cup so you can eat in other places.
 
A side trip to the Danish town of Solvang a bit east of Buellton is the home of wonderful pastries.
post edited by mar52 - 2011/09/15 00:07:14
#11
dvellice
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Re:Pls suggest ROAD and FOOD - Los Angeles to San Francisco coastal 2011/09/15 20:08:51 (permalink)
Y'all are great - thanks.  Drive is a small part of larger trip: fly from East Coast to LA to visit adult daughters for a few days, fly to and from a wedding in Hawaii, drive from LA to SF, then fly home from SFO.
Car belongs to one daughter, a BMW 3-series convertible.  Pretty perfect wheels for such a ride!  So how does car get home to LA?  Lucky me: other daughter is flying up to SFO for an event, so she'll drive it back to her sister's.
Lots of coincidences - God WANTS me to make this beautiful road trip!!!
 
Doug
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dvellice
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Re:Pls suggest ROAD and FOOD - Los Angeles to San Francisco coastal 2011/09/15 20:10:47 (permalink)
Tito's Tacos - I almost went there for dinner last time I was in the area!  Got sidetracked to Pitfire Pizza instead.  Tito's next time it is!!
Doug
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wanderingjew
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Re:Pls suggest ROAD and FOOD - Los Angeles to San Francisco coastal 2011/09/15 20:18:02 (permalink)
If you're looking for something regional and unique and for something that you will never find in Maryland or probably within a three thousand mile radius anywhere on the east coast- I have two suggestions...
 
The California Roll Factory
 
http://roadfood.com/Restaurant/Overview/6520/california-roll-factory
and 
G's Juice 
 
http://roadfood.com/Restaurant/Overview/6533/gs-juice
 
outside of Southern California unique regional roadfood like this is simply non-existent.
post edited by wanderingjew - 2011/09/15 21:53:54
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dvellice
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Re:Pls suggest ROAD and FOOD - Los Angeles to San Francisco coastal 2011/09/15 20:18:59 (permalink)
When I get to SF I have to try Tony’s Pizza Napoletana
 
I've always made a pilgrimage to Tomasso's when in SF, but this is supposed to be even better.
Doug (raised in New Haven - on pizza)
post edited by dvellice - 2011/10/01 13:43:33
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mar52
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Re:Pls suggest ROAD and FOOD - Los Angeles to San Francisco coastal 2011/09/15 21:50:54 (permalink)
Just have a wonderful time and watch the speed limit.
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BackRhodes
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Re:Pls suggest ROAD and FOOD - Los Angeles to San Francisco coastal 2011/09/19 21:13:44 (permalink)
Take pictures...
 
 
#17
mar52
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Re:Pls suggest ROAD and FOOD - Los Angeles to San Francisco coastal 2011/09/19 22:00:00 (permalink)
Wait!  Killer Shrimp opened September 1st in Marina del Rey!
 
http://blogs.laweekly.com/squidink/2011/08/new_killer_shrimp_marina_del_rey.php
 
Yes,  I posted this in the seafood forum but Killer Shrimp       re-opened!
 
 
#18
BackRhodes
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Re:Pls suggest ROAD and FOOD - Los Angeles to San Francisco coastal 2011/10/03 18:05:03 (permalink)
That sounds like the title to a Ray Harryhausen monster movie...
 

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smokestack lightning
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Re:Pls suggest ROAD and FOOD - Los Angeles to San Francisco coastal 2011/10/04 00:13:24 (permalink) ☄ Helpful
dvellice

When I get to SF I have to try Tony’s Pizza Napoletana

I've always made a pilgrimage to Tomasso's when in SF, but this is supposed to be even better.
Doug (raised in New Haven - on pizza)

 
Excellent choice. Feel free to ask me for other SF ideas.
 
#20
Suzy Gruyere
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Re:Pls suggest ROAD and FOOD - Los Angeles to San Francisco coastal 2011/10/04 12:25:19 (permalink)
I'll heartily second the endorsements for a tour of Hearst Castle, rolling down the windows (or putting the top down!) on the way through Gilroy, and snack stops at Linn's and at least one Solvang bakery.
 
A stop at a California Mission is worth a slight detour. They're the whole way up and down your route, mostly along the 101. Some are more commercialized than others. If you hit Solvang, Santa Inez is right there. My favorite, probably, is San Miguel Arcangel. Stunning murals inside the chapel, and it's not very touristified.
 
Re: Hitching Post II, we hate to disagree with the Sterns but Far Western Tavern in Guadeloupe is soooo much better. Genuine cowboy atmosphere in an old hotel tavern. Ribeye steak and ranch beans. I wish I had some right now!
 
Or if you pass through the Santa Maria area on a weekend afternoon and the Kiwanis/Lions Club/VFW is grilling tri-tip in a parking lot, THAT is the way to go. No question. Nom nom nom.
 
It might not be the best time of year for a drive through nearby Lompoc but I'm not sure. They grow tons of flower seeds in Lompoc, which means they grow tons of flowers in Lompoc, and at certain times of year the fields are giant stripes of colors for miles. Google their chamber of commerce to see if anything is blooming in the fall.
 
Another excellent steak you'll find along the way is at the Madonna Inn -- yes, the fabulous kitsch hotel in SLO. We often stop there for a filet mignon even when we don't manage to spend the night in one of their crazy rooms.
 
Outside Moss Landing on Rt 1 (PCH) there's a little joint with a red and white paint job that serves excellent fried artichokes. Can't remember the name, probably never knew it. We just naturally gravitate to it, every time.
 
A nice place to stop and stretch your legs is Pfeiffer State Park in Big Sur. I always welcome a moment of quiet communion with those amazing trees, and the hike to Pfeiffer Falls is relatively brief and truly rewarding.
 
I must chime in about Tito's Tacos. In my opinion they are pathetic, awful tacos. Honestly, I think they are completely gross, and they are not authentic in the least. But they are what they are, and they are an institution, so if crossing a landmark off your Roadfood list is your priority, then go stand in line at Tito's, by all means. But if you are more interested in eating good Mexican food, I wouldn't recommend it. You can find that at dozens of other taco stands in LA, and Tamara's Tamales is just down the street from Tito's.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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BackRhodes
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Re:Pls suggest ROAD and FOOD - Los Angeles to San Francisco coastal 2011/10/06 15:20:57 (permalink)
Are there any MEL's drive ins still in San Francisco...???
 
 
 
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mar52
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Re:Pls suggest ROAD and FOOD - Los Angeles to San Francisco coastal 2011/10/06 15:35:45 (permalink)
Chiming back in about Tito's Tacos.  You either love them or hate them.  I eat them for what they are... a reminder of my youth AND I love them.  If there you must also try the burrito.  A lot of people just eat those and leave the tacos to those of us that love them.
 
Authentic?  They are California tacos, hard and crisp.  The same type I had in 1959 in Tijuana, Baja Mexico.
 
Now everything is about the soft taco.  Not necessarily authentic, just different.
 
Suzy, do you have any favorites in El Segundo?  We tried the barbecue place on either Main Street or Grand a couple of months ago and it was pretty good.  There was a lock smith across the street from it and several other choices of eating places on the same street.
 
Any recommendations?
 
I live within a mile from Tamara's Tamales.  I've yet to try them.  Maybe they should be next on my list.
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dvellice
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Re:Pls suggest ROAD and FOOD - Los Angeles to San Francisco coastal 2011/10/15 20:08:05 (permalink)
Smokestack Lightning:  I need 2 more dinners - one with 30-something kids, and one just my wife and I on the last night in SFO.  I'm not proud of it, but we'll be lodging near Fisherman's Wharf, to help give some geographic focus to our restaurant search.
Doug
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BackRhodes
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Re:Pls suggest ROAD and FOOD - Los Angeles to San Francisco coastal 2011/10/17 01:46:40 (permalink)
Try Scoma's (sp?) aor Allito's at Fisherman's Wharf...there is also a largish restaurant on Peir 39 that can handle large groups, but can't remember the name...
 
IF you make it across the bay to the north end of Hayward try Banchero's on Mission Blvd. 
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Re:Pls suggest ROAD and FOOD - Los Angeles to San Francisco coastal 2011/10/17 02:04:06 (permalink)
mar52     Authentic?  They are California tacos, hard and crisp.  The same type I had in 1959 in Tijuana, Baja Mexico.     

 
I never saw a crisp hardshell taco eaten by a Campesino (Mexican farm worker)...always a soft taco, no cheese, no lettuce, and certainly no sour cream...and I've eaten many a taco & tamale in the vineyards...
 
Yet the hard shell taco seems common in places that catered to Gringo's in the old days (like Taco Belch)
 
Which came first...the soft shell of the hard shell...???
 
Which is more authentic...???
 
My personal opinion is that the soft taco is more authentic...YMMV
 
So now I'm curious as to what a taco would've looked like 100 years ago if I was having lunch further south than TJ...maybe in Durango or Manzanillo...??? And also how other dishes have changed...
 
A TV show y'all might like is a PBS-TV show called The Desert Speaks...it's about travel, culture, and local foods...and at leat 90% of the real food of Mexico is still unknown to me...we have the Gringo version(s) here in California, but theres so many regional foods in Mexico I have yet to discover...
 
I hope DVELLICE takes lots of pictures and a log/report of places eaten at...
 
I'm thinking a food roadtrip from Seattle to San Diego along US Hwy 101 would be a success...YUM...!!!

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Re:Pls suggest ROAD and FOOD - Los Angeles to San Francisco coastal 2011/10/17 23:37:22 (permalink)
dvellice

Smokestack Lightning:  I need 2 more dinners - one with 30-something kids, and one just my wife and I on the last night in SFO.  I'm not proud of it, but we'll be lodging near Fisherman's Wharf, to help give some geographic focus to our restaurant search.
Doug

 
 
Hi. Glad to help. You can PM me and we can talk or give me more info here so I can make recommendations. I would avoid Fisherman's wharf and scomas and aliotos like the plague. Bad touristy restaurants. Maybe Park Tavern in North Beach or Marlowe or Nopa or Nopalito depending on everyones preferences. 
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Re:Pls suggest ROAD and FOOD - Los Angeles to San Francisco coastal 2011/10/18 17:50:08 (permalink)
dvellice

Smokestack Lightning:  I need 2 more dinners - one with 30-something kids, and one just my wife and I on the last night in SFO.  I'm not proud of it, but we'll be lodging near Fisherman's Wharf, to help give some geographic focus to our restaurant search.
Doug

You might go to "Top of the Mark" the Mark Hopkins Hotel, for a drink or drinks and dinner. Postrio, a Wolfgang Puck restaurant downtown is vary good IMHO!

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smokestack lightning
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Re:Pls suggest ROAD and FOOD - Los Angeles to San Francisco coastal 2011/10/18 20:46:59 (permalink)
chewingthefat

dvellice

Smokestack Lightning:  I need 2 more dinners - one with 30-something kids, and one just my wife and I on the last night in SFO.  I'm not proud of it, but we'll be lodging near Fisherman's Wharf, to help give some geographic focus to our restaurant search.
Doug

You might go to "Top of the Mark" the Mark Hopkins Hotel, for a drink or drinks and dinner. Postrio, a Wolfgang Puck restaurant downtown is vary good IMHO!

 
 
The Top of the Mark is a good place for drinks. less so for food these days.
 
Post Trio was a great restaurant but its closed. Only a bar and cafe left. Way better choices exist. 
 
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mar52
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Re:Pls suggest ROAD and FOOD - Los Angeles to San Francisco coastal 2011/10/18 22:44:24 (permalink)
You and your wife....  Tadich Grill!  It's wonderful.
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