A2D on the Go: Four Days in San Francisco
As global concierge professionals, we’re constantly out and about, scouting the best places to eat, the trendiest new hotels, the hottest concerts and events and anything quirky, fun and adventurous.
Our “A2D On The Go” posts feature personal tips and insights from members of the A2D Concierge team. The following post is from A2D CEO and Founder Stig Egard, as he describes an incredible four days of food and fun in San Francisco, on his way to Los Angeles with his wife and daughter.
Stig highlights the best places to indulge your palette while traveling in the Golden City and on the scenic coastal route to the City of Angels.
San Francisco is a city of spectacular vistas. For a fun, active perspective, we rented bikes and pedaled our way to Sausalito. Yes, we know it’s a touristy thing to do…but we were tourists and it was incredibly fun!
After working up a good appetite, we went to one of the Bay Area’s best Japanese restaurants. Sushi Ran has been on my list for a while and I was so excited to finally visit this place I had heard so many good things about. Sushi Ran did not disappoint. We enjoyed plates of imaginative sushi in a modern beachside-bungalow, with attentive staff and an exhaustive supply of sake. For starters, our group nibbled on small shrimp tempura, steamed red crab salad with seaweed, cucumber, and delicious sweet soy dressing. After whetting our appetites, we shared dishes of fresh big-eye tuna and blue prawns. Still wanting more, we ordered and devoured a plate of Santa Barbara uni. While Sushi Ran and Sausalito are not technically in San Francisco, it was worth every minute on the bikes to get there! If you are not into bicycles, you can also take the ferry across the harbor. Whatever you do, don’t miss Sushi Ran.
We spent the rest of the afternoon meandering San Francisco’s famous streets, popping into fun boutiques, while enjoying rare cool breezes and spectacular views. That evening, we walked to Chinatown to check out Mr. Jiu`s, a highly-recommended Chinese restaurant with a great buzz and a stellar kitchen. Our meals reflected Mr. Jiu’s reputation as a high-end Chinese eatery featuring Cantonese classics with a California accent. Every dish was a delight, and we all wished we were hungrier, so we could keep on eating!
Feeling undaunted by our prior day of incredible Japanese and Chinese food adventures, we made a beeline to Mission Chinese on our second day in San Francisco. Ever since my first visit to Mission Chinese in New York, I have been a huge fan of Chef Danny Bowien. While expecting a delicious repeat of my New York Mission Chinese experience, I was surprised to discover that the San Francisco version of Mission Chinese offers a totally different menu with dishes that you will not find anywhere else on the planet. The only drawback is that the restaurant did not have a great wine list. Since everything in Mission Chinese is organic, the list of good wine was lacking. This was the only blemish in an otherwise perfect evening of food bliss.
Day 3: Our Day in Monterrey
Let me first say that we could never have enough time in San Francisco. Two days was not enough, but we needed to make our way along the coast to spend a few days in Los Angeles. We rented a car and ventured down Highway 1, stopping at the Monterrey Hyatt Regency for the evening.
The Hyatt Monterrey was average. What makes this place stand out is the incredible, friendly service. Even average hotels can become good when the service is outstanding. Unfortunately, by the time we arrived, the sports bar was the only place open for dinner. But they had so many gluten free options for us and an incredible beer selection, so we tucked in and sampled so many beers we lost count.
Day 4: En Route to Los Angeles
While the morning sun peaked above the horizon, we began our drive to Carmel for an incredible breakfast at California Market at Pacific’s Edge, which came highly recommended by my daughter, India.
From an expansive deck with glass-panel walls and dramatic views of the Pacific Ocean and the Big Sur coast, we ate to our heart’s content on the freshest organic, locally grown fruits and savory breakfast specialties. Looking back on our stay the night before, I recommend that our clients skip the Monterrey Hyatt and stay instead at the Hyatt Highland Carmel-by-the-Sea.
After breakfast we hiked the Point Lobos State Reserve to amaze ourselves with guaranteed sightings of sea lions, seals, whales surrounded by pristine nature. Hikes range from one hour for busy travellers to full day hikes for hiking and nature enthusiasts. As Highway 1 ended after Big Sur, we headed south on Highway 101 with our sights set on Los Angeles.
For lunch we stopped at a place called River Lodge; an American style campground with a restaurant that I recommend to anyone and everyone. The food was excellent and the service was friendly. While we sat on plastic chairs and dined on plastic tables, we soaked up the scenery and enjoyed hearty food that visitors associate with the West.
These are the joys of American travel.