Friday, March 29, 2013

San Francisco, Where to Go and What to Do - From a Local Perspective

Have you ever caught a glimpse of a photograph, a painting or read a poem and immediately identified with the artist? Me too. I knew I’d like Tina Case the first time I viewed one of her pictures on the Internet. (Similar to her breathtaking shot of the Golden Gate Bridge you see above this article.) Tina, a talented professional photographer based in San Francisco posts some of her photos to Facebook.

Yes, we have a Facebook friendship. I’ve never met Tina in person. So when San Francisco was announced as the site of the International Association of Professional's (IACP) 2013 conference, I was one of the first to sign up. I am excited about the educational offerings, but am equally ready to see the city through a fun and interesting local who can steer me to the not-to-miss-places, both gustatory and visual.

You may not be as lucky as I am – and be striking out in the city on your own. As cooking teachers and school owners, I know we’re all interested in the best experiences in our conference city.  Here are some of Tina’s suggestions for things to do, see and eat in San Francisco!

What’s your favorite restaurant in SFO? Why?
There are two great restaurants I love in SF, they are Lulus ( and the other is the Slanted Door (

You can smell the wonderful flavors as you walk up the door to Lulus of roasted chicken, garlic Brussels sprouts (never liked them until I tried theirs) and roaring wood burning stove. Their food is rustic and amazing.

Slanted Door is Vietnamese with an urban flair, some of the dishes like Shaking Beef leave you wanting more. The dish is addicting!

What’s your favorite hole-in-the-wall that tourists don’t frequent?
I don't think I have one I can name. I like to try random restaurants in Chinatown for dim sum (sometimes called yum cha). I'll look in the window to see if locals are eating there and then try it out.

Beach Blanket Babylon
Favorite Restaurant off the beaten path?
We also love to go to Little Italy or North Beach and sit outside people watching. Go to "Beach Blanket Babylon" and have a meal in North Beach afterwards.

What’s your favorite grocery store or market? What do you always buy there?
I love to shop at the Ferry Building to get bread, cheese, meat. It's got a European feeling to me of small food stores. I actually shop a lot at Whole Foods.
The Fun at Buena Vista!

As a Photographer, what are your favorite three places to capture the essence of San Francisco in a photo?
Bakers Beach or Chrissy Fields, Fisherman's Wharf/Ghiradelli Square (we love to get an Irish Coffee at Buena Vista We've seen Governor Jerry Brown there plus it's near a cable car spot.

I also love going to Sausalito, which you can get to by ferry or car and see the city across the bay.

What dish best describes San Francisco? Where do you go to eat it?

Gosh if I were to answer that off the bat I would have to say my first memory of San Francisco as a tourist before I moved here was going to Fisherman's Wharf and having a bowl of clam chowder in a sour dough bread bowl. That or lobster bisque are still my favorites to get when we bring visitors. So when I think of SF and eating, I have to say soup in a sour dough bread bowl by Fisherman's Wharf. Now it is a tradition and whenever we have time to meet friends from out of town we try to fit that experience in.

After reading Tina’s answers I am ready to go! Can’t wait to start the day at the BV (Buena Vista) with an Irish coffee and a big fluffy omelet. I haven’t seen Beach Blanket Babylon yet, so it’s high on my list and I am ready for the juicy chicken and roasted brussels sprouts at Lulus. I’ve read so much about the Slanted Door in national food publications, its great to know that it is as good as its press. The Ferry Building is right by our hotel, so it will be easy to nip over and pick up a healthy snack and gaze longingly at all the beautiful produce and food.

One of the most-dos on my long conference list is to meet Tina and her family in person. I feel like I know them already! Tina’s daughter Allie is a chef, so I know that we will all share lots of good food and laughter. San Francisco, here I come!

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