I figured the best way to recap my trip to San Francisco without going overboard was to share with you the best meals and fun things I did (outside of the Mariani Walnut Harvest Tour which was awesome) so here we go!
1. Dinner at Nopalito on Friday night.
It included the best ceviche I’ve ever had in my life, hands down.
Ceviche Verde de Pescado y Calamari aka marinated fish and calamari in lime, tomatillo, jalapeno, cilantro, and avocado with house made tortilla chips. Seriously, heaven on a plate. I’d never had tomatillo ceviche before and it added a tang that really just took it to a new level.
And then, the Quesadilla Roja con Chicharron
Which was a mulato chile-corn tortilla with crispy pork belly, chile cascabel, jack cheese, queso fresco, onion, and cilantro. Unreal, I tell you. I mean I’m not sure how pork belly and cheese on a house made corn tortilla could be anything short of incredible, so I doubt it’ll take much convincing. And, healthy choice, I know.
Friday night’s dinner was actually sponsored by Foodbuzz. They gave all the attendees who checked in on Friday $50 cash for dinner anywhere in the city. Pretty awesome, huh?
2.) Getting all dressed up for the Saturday Night Gala.
The event was held at the California Academy of Sciences, and it was so awesome to have full access to the aquarium while sipping on prosecco and eating copious amounts of cheese.
Though my date was excellent company, the food itself was nothing to write home about, which was surprising for a food blogger conference.
They missed a lot of the little details, like having knives available to cut the food with, or you know, plates or utensils for the desserts. At least there was an open bar! Plus, getting dressed up was fun and the venue was awesome, so those count for something…
3.) Wine tasting in Napa Valley.
Can you believe that I had never in my life been wine tasting before? I mean, I’ve tasted PLENTY of wine, but not at a vineyard even though there are plenty very close to DC. But I guess tasting wine in Napa for your first time is a great way to kick off the hobby.
The drive itself was GORGEOUS. I could not believe how pretty and surreal it was!
It honestly would have been worth it just to drive through wine country without tasting any wine – but that wasn’t really even a slight possibility with this pair.
We stopped at two different vineyards and tried 10 different wines each!
The first place – The Hess Collection – had 4 wines for $10. I had a Verdelho, then 3 reds – Charbono, Petite Sirah, and a big Cavernet Sauvignon. I don’t know much about wine (besides the basics), but they were all delicious. I almost got a bottle of the Charbono and the Petite Sirah, but shipping was $19 for the first bottle – yikes!
At the second place, the guy who poured our wine is actually from a town right next to where I grew up in Connecticut. It was funny to talk about our tiny towns and nice when he gave us 2 extra wines because of the CT connection.
4.) Dinner at Nojo on Sunday night.
This was my last dinner in San Francisco so it was best to go out with a bang! This place divides there menu into “On a Stick” and “Not on a Stick” and are known for their various meats… on a stick. They had all sorts of different parts of animals, like chicken skin, liver, heart, etc., and literally every small plate we ordered was delicious.
The highlights for me were the Albacore Tuna Tartare.
Which was flavored with chives and pink peppercorns, and then served with lightly fried nori chips for scooping and was seriously of this world. The tuna was so fresh it melted in our mouths and was so nice against the crunchy nori. I’d never seen or heard of nori in chip form, and they were incredible.
Also, the Tsukune, which is Japanese chicken meatball in sausage form, with egg yolk sauce for dipping.
Our waiter instructed us to break the yolk and stir it into the soy glaze sauce below it, and then dip the cut up chicken sausage in there. The sauce underneath was slightly warm and the yolk stirred and dissolved it into a creamy, delicious sauce that perfectly complimented the chicken. I thought the presentation was SO COOL and loved being able to do the honors of breaking and stirring the yolk.
And last, and also probably my single favorite of the night, was the pork and wheatberry rice ball.
It was crunchy on the outside and filled with a small amount of pork and wheatberries, with a mustard miso sauce on the plate. I loved how the crust on the outside of the rice ball contrasted with the warm, sticky rice and the slightly sweet pork inside. It was so amazing, even if I did feel like a rice ball myself at the end of that meal, and the end of the 5 day eating frenzy that was my trip to San Francisco.
5.) Ending my last morning in San Francisco with a skim latte from Blue Bottle Coffee.
I looooove coffee, and it wasn’t until my first trip to San Francisco this time last year that I realized what I’d been missing out on. Blue Bottle Coffee is seriously the best I’ve ever tasted, and they make each cup so artfully. When you get drip coffee there, they even brew each cup to order. Last time I was there, I had the steel cut oatmeal that had whipped BUTTER and brown sugar and it was out of this world. This time though, I woke up feeling like I needed to get it together and had Greek yogurt for breakfast instead, and then treated myself to this latte as a last taste of San Francisco!