Where to Eat in San Francisco: Washington Post Travel Publishes My First Restaurant Write-Ups

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When I saw the new Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner feature in the Washington Post Travel Section last year, I sensed an opportunity for a writer like me who loves to write about both topics. When I scheduled a trip to San Francisco in January, I pitched the Washington Post travel editor, and when she accepted, I was both elated and TERRIFIED. I had never written about restaurants, and now I had the audacity to start with a major city like San Francisco?

However, I am accustomed to being both filled with and motivated by fear, so I plunged ahead with research for the assignment. How would I narrow a large city filled with some of the country’s finest restaurants down to just three recommendations?

I decided that I would focus on restaurants that were newer and therefore lesser known to Washingtonians, which eliminated longtime favorites like Slanted Door, Kokkari and Gary Danko. Then I did what I always do; I crowd-sourced with my friends and food experts on Facebook.  I further narrowed my list by speaking to food writers and concierges in San Francisco to learn what locals recommend. And then I spent a couple of days running around San Francisco, eating and drinking (and munching on pesto bismol) and talking to servers and managers and concierges about the local food scene.  I also had the chance to speak to Chef Mourad Lahlou of the acclaimed restaurant Mourad in San Francisco and Charles Phan of The Slanted Door about the latest developments and concerns about the food scene in San Francisco, including the high cost of living issue that I briefly touched on in the Post article, which appeared in Sunday Travel on February 11th.

Baked goods at Craftsman and Wolves

Finally and with a fair amount of angst, I selected my favorites, Craftsman and Wolves for Breakfast, Hong Kong Lounge II for lunch, and Rich Table for dinner.

Appetizers at Rich Table

Now, I can’t wait to get back and return to some of my favorite spots and hit the many, many that I missed.

My biggest San Francisco groan among the many, many delights was the overrated “cruffin” at Mr. Holmes Bakehouse, a creme filled muffin that some line up for and for some reason the bakery doesn’t begin serving until 9 a.m.  I found the place somewhat unwelcoming and felt like rolling my eyes at the 3 spare crates they offered customers to perch on while they waited for the cruffins to finally roll out of the kitchen. The day I was there, the cruffin flavor of the day was “oat and ale” which only added to my irritation.

The biggest highlight was seeing my dear nephew, Jared Lux, and meeting his girlfriend, Kate, and having dinner with them at Liho Liho Yacht Club, which is a very festive place — we had some tasty bites there.

I’ll be doing a lot of travel in 2018 and hope to write more B-L-D features for The Washington Post, so stay tuned!

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Aviva Goldfarb
Aviva Goldfarb is a Washington Post contributor, author of 4 cookbooks, and founder of The Six O'Clock Scramble, an online healthy meal planner. She writes about food, cocktails, travel and parenting, is an entrepreneur, and a marketing consultant for food related ventures.

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