Hardly the roadies to follow their team on a six hour flight cross country, it was just the excuse we needed to book a weekend trip to the city of oysterly love. With our Giants taking on the 49ers on Sunday, a Thursday evening arrival would ensure two full days of regional wines, farm to table cuisine, and an abundance of West Coast oysters. Our 48 hour tailgate in San Francisco.
The prospect of spending a few days on the side of the country that produces our favorite bivalves called for some serious research. No oyster bar could be overlooked, and no oyster unslurped. After consulting with some of our fellow aficionados, and a little background reading, our shuck and slurp itinerary was all set. Recommendations of local favorite restaurants determined our plans for where we would experience the flavors of this city, and our love for Russian River Pinots marked Sonoma as our wine country trail.
Still on East Coast time, it was an easy early rise on Friday, getting us on the road for the scenic drive across the Gold Gate Bridge to the Wine Country on the other side. Making our way directly to Westroad drive, we stopped at a few small wineries along the dirt road path. After some tastings at Porter Creek, Thomas George, and Arista, it was onto Headelsburg for lunch at Willi’s Seafood and Bar. Taking a break from the earlier explored Pinot Noirs, we ordered two glasses of the local Rose instead, a perfect suitor for our oyster lunch. The raw bar menu that day included Kusshi, Komomotos, Elkorns and Drake Bays. One slurp and we were in love. After a palate electrifying lunch of kobe beer crudo and butter fish, we were ready to head north for the more robust Zins and Petite Syrahs at Preston Family Vineyard. Top down, and the sun blazing, we headed back to San Francisco to meet our friend at the current hot spot, A16. Listed on the recently updated Eater Heatmap, everything we tasted fulfilled the affiliated hype and justified the inescapable hour long wait for a table.
An action packed day, Saturday began at the famous Ferry Building Farmers Market. Breakfast with a view, we savored our egg scrambles on the pier over a perfectly brewed cup of Blue Bottle Coffee. After flirting with some fruit and pastry samples, we made our way inside, stopping at the San Francisco Seafood company for a few shucked-on-the-spot oysters. Served right there in the market corridor at $2 a pop, the the day’s selection included plump and sweet California Kumos and delightfully briny Elkorns from Willapa Bay. Although we could have stood there all day, we knew there was much more to come, and so we continued our journey, arriving at two seats at the Hog Island Oyster Bar. Six Sweet Waters, six Blue Pools, and two glasses of Sauvignon Blanc, the day had officially begun. After some shopping, we made our way up north to the much anticipated Swan Oyster Depot. With only 19 seats at the bar, there is no bypassing the line of slurp eager patrons outside. But not to worry, the friendly staff inside will give you a beer or wine as you make it closer to the door. Or maybe they were just toasting to our beaming faces as we took notice of all the crustacean goodness displayed in their window. After an hour wait, and a few new friends, we had arrived at what would go down as some of the best oysters we’ve slurped to date. Perhaps it was the aphrodisiac character of the oysters, or the contagious energy of this family owned and operated establishment, but we were as deep in love as the Steamboats on our bed of ice. Creamy, sweet and perfect, we had to cut ourselves off after four rounds, saving room for the other specialities. Everything is made in house, including the cured salmon, smoked pate, and the sweetest crab right out of the shell. If a visit to San Fran should land a seat at this diamond in the rough, try everything!!
A hilly walk back to the hotel, and a short oyster induced nap later, we were ready for our farm to table dinner at the new hotspot Nopa. Faced with the dilemma of our limiting two person party and a menu from which we wanted to try absolutely everything, we took to our server in helping us narrow down our choices to their famous burger, pork chop, charred squid, and poached egg over butternut squash and kale. Everything came out of the open kitchen and every single bite of every single dish blew us away. This place is not going anywhere, and neither is their long wait for a table, so book a flight and make that reservation. This restaurant is not to be missed
Sunday-Game Day. After an early morning run to the Gold Gate Bridge, we were pumped and ready to watch the New York Giants take on the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick park. Perfect weather, and a Giants victory, we were now left to complete our culinary adventure with one last great meal. By recommendation, we settled on Blowfish Sushi in the Mission District. Palate pleasing freshness, and eye entertaining presentation, it was the perfect last bite before our send off back to New York City.
2 Responses to “One City, So Many Oysters….San Francisco”
Leave a Reply