We returned to California again this year for my end of semester, pre-Christmas vacation. This time it was San Francisco!
I’M IN LOVE!!! Here’s a round-up of where we stayed and ate:
We chose this hotel based on good Tripadvisor reviews and we weren’t disappointed. Very clean, very comfortable, excellent service. Staff very friendly and helpful. We also found it to be excellent value – fully stocked kitchenette is great and there is free tea and coffee upstairs as well. Wifi is included, generally works well but can be spotty. The gym is good for a hotel of this size – two treadmills, elliptical, bike, a few dumbbells and a ‘multi’ weight machine. The spa is small but fun. Beds are very comfortable, turn down service was appreciated. Downsides: tried to use the sauna a few times, but it was never hot – some days it was switched on, some days not; but never hot. The bar is woefully small. We wanted to go for happy hour, but it’s literally two 2-person tables and 6 seats at the bar. We were by the exit deciding on somewhere else to go, when one of the staff mentioned “there’s a seat free at the bar!”. Great, thanks – but we’re two people. We stayed somewhere at the back of the hotel so street noise was not a problem, however there was a fair bit of noise when people in adjacent rooms used the taps/toilet of water flushing through pipes. The ice machine was right outside and quite noisy, but I think it was only used once during our stay. Overall, very good. We would both recommend and return here.
Quite out of the way (but in a very interesting neighbourhood), pretty grotty looking restaurant. The menu is really eclectic which is usually a bad sign… It also spouts quite a lot of rubbish about “a multi dimensional dining experience” and “crystal/precious gemstone essences”. Once you get past all that, the food is good – very good. And very good value. We had the truffle mac and cheese, which was huge and very tasty. The beet burger (I had the swiss/mushroom/onion) was honestly the best veggie burger I’ve had (and I’ve had a lot) – the bread was delicious and the char on the outside fantastic. Note that the portions are massive, and great value. Was sadly too stuffed to try one of the fab looking desserts.
Heard a lot about this restaurant – quite difficult to find on foot on a dark evening. Came on a Saturday night and had the prix fixe. Very nice view from the windows. Service was good; fast and professional. The menu was appealing, but the actual food was a bit inconsistent. Loved the bread and cheese we got at the start. My salad starter was amazing, the best salad I’ve ever had. I had the crepes for my main – the crepes themselves were tasty, but the beans alongside were bland and tasted like they came straight from a can. Richard’s risotto was good but a bit too sweet. We can’t remember his starter at all, so it wasn’t that memorable. Desserts were good but not exceptional. Overall, it was a good meal, expensive (although fairly good value) and quite forgettable.
Excellent fully vegan fine dining experience. Food, wine and atmosphere were all fantastic and worth the price. We ordered a side dish that never appeared with our meals; the server was very apologetic, dealt with it very promptly and removed it from the bill. He also comp’d our after dinner drinks by way of an apology. You will need a reservation.
Some of the best Mexican food, and some of the best vegan food I’ve eaten. We had the tacos and the tamale; fresh and delicious. The apple crumble and ice cream for dessert was great but not particularly special – the ice cream was nice but didn’t really feel like ice cream; the flan, however, was really excellent – I have no idea how that was made. Service was excellent and the restaurant is really nice inside.
We really enjoyed our meal here. It’s small and a bit of a hole in the wall. They do some great vegan spins on (mainly fried) pub and bar classics. I was really looking forward to the fried pickles – delicious, but I would’ve preferred them thin sliced rather than whole pickles. The seitan ‘buffalo wings’ were excellent, as was the tofu fish and chips. Fresh from the fryer, it was great – especially the ‘weird fries’ – but like most fried food, once it started to cool down it got a bit soggy and ‘meh’. So eat quickly. This definitely satisfied my craving for something fatty and fried! One bad point; our mains arrived while we were still finishing our starters. We felt a bit rushed, that we had to cram the last few bits of food into our mouths while our waitress hovered with our meals (no space on the small table for everything). A little bit of spacing between the two courses would have been appreciated – the restaurant was full but there was no line up, no need to rush us.
First Crush Restaurant Wine Bar & Lounge
The menu and wine selection are great. Lots of vegetarian choices. The interior is nice, however it is small and was quite packed when we were there (midweek). That’s fine, but it was very noisy and made conversation somewhat difficult. Not really good for an intimate dinner. It took a while before a waiter came to see us after we were seated. The service was polite; however we ordered a side of fries with our meal. Despite it being listed as a ‘side’ on the menu, the fries were brought a good ten minutes before our meals… They were piping hot and delicious, and because we were so hungry we ploughed through them while waiting for our mains – which slightly dampened our appetites. That said, the food was really excellent; the bread pudding for dessert was probably the best I’ve had.
Have you been to any of these place? What did you think? 🙂