Saturday, March 01, 2008

Pied-a-Terre San Francisco - Day One

Every time we talk about what we would do if we won the big bucks state lottery I say I would love to have a place in San Francisco to enjoy on the weekend. We live in the suburbs of the city and don’t go there often enough. I did some research and realized that even a small studio in a downtown neighborhood would run towards two G. It’s not going to happen unless the lotto comes in. We accomplish our desire of city life by taking day trips into town as often as possible. My header talks about a shoestring budget as a premise for travel. In that regard we look for ways to save money so we can indulge in our passion more often. We purchase commuter books of tickets for the ferry and take a picnic along. If we do buy meals we try less expensive options and eat like the locals.

This weekend we did more than a day trip. We wanted to stay a couple of nights so we could rest in between adventures. I got over my fear of the unknown and tried I crossed my fingers, put in my credit information and hoped for the best. We scored a room at the Hilton Financial District on Kearny for $89. This is less than half the going rate for a hotel room in this area. After a quick ferry ride and an appetite-producing hike to the hotel, we checked into a lovely king room. There was wine and food available at the hotel but we took another route by bringing along our own bottle of wine and requisite corkscrew. My little plastic flask of brandy for nightcaps and fifty cent bottled water from home (instead of the $4.50 bottles in room) completed my makeshift bar. By having cocktails in room you can save a little on meal costs.

Holding hunger in check, we scoped out dinner options within a few blocks of the hotel. Chinatown and North beach are adjacent and choices are many. The first place we looked at was Alfred’s Steakhouse in an alley next door. Remarkably they had some reasonable prices on smaller cuts of steaks. Still in search of a more casual choice we looked at Pickles on Columbus. It used to be Clown Alley and some of that logo still appears. They had some good looking third pound burgers for $5.75 but we still wanted to look more. Finally we checked out Macaroni Sciue Sciue on Columbus. As we looked at the menu out front an affable Italian waiter beckoned us in. We were hooked. A cute exciting cafĂ©, filled with smiling beautiful people, fun waiters and great food. I had the finocchio e arancia (fennel and orange salad with endive and lemon vinaigrette). April had the insalata cesare ( an excellent version of the classic Caesar). We split the daily special pizza which had julienne Mortadella and arugula scattered on top an excellent cheese topped crust. If I had followed my own advice on wine the check would have been about $25. The sangiovese went down easy and added a bit to the bottom line but certainly a great value still. It was back to the hotel for some TV and nightcap. What’s for breakfast? Goodnight!
Macaroni Sciue Sciue

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