Wine & Dine

    My Day of Decadence in Hayes Valley My Day of Decadence in Hayes Valley My Day of Decadence in Hayes Valley My Day of Decadence in Hayes Valley My Day of Decadence in Hayes Valley My Day of Decadence in Hayes Valley

Decadence you might ask– why? Well, I’ll tell you. Have you ever indulged in three of your favorite things in one day? I have, and I did it in Hayes Valley. Fresh organic-made tacos at Papito Hayes, wine and hard cider at Fig and Thistle all topped off with macaroons from Chantal Guillon. Someone please wake me up because my day in Hayes Valley makes me think I somehow died and went to heaven. Not to mention, Hayes Street is lined with beautiful old trees, cute authentic boutiques, happy people, and even a Biergarten! The worst part about this day trip is that I have been living in San Francisco for over a year and hadn’t actually explored the neighborhood before. I’m ashamed of myself.

To share a secret with you I actually went back the weekend after because I loved it so much, and ate lunch at the Boxing Room. A cute Louisiana styled restaurant that has live music and the most amazing bloody mary’s I’ve ever seen. You can get pickled beats, radishes, carrots, quail eggs and more– as just a topping for your bloody! I think that just confirmed that Hayes Valley most certainly is heaven– don’t wake me up I want to stay.

Papito Hayes- Trendy wall art and great organic tacos with some outside seating. Oh and the guacamole is a must-have.

Fig and Thistle– An artistic little wine bar with succulents on the walls and vintage bunkbeds as a bench. To order a glass of wine you unfold a map of California and find a region where you want your wine from. Probably one of the most fun and funky wine bars I’ve been to– definitely go.

Chantal Guillon- An abundance of flavors and great taste. I mean come on– it’s a shop just full of macaroons. YUM.

Boxing Room- Great atmosphere for all ages, love the live bluesy music, good food. Definitely worth the trip over. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera from this separate day so I don’t have pictures to show for it, but check out a picture of my bloody mary on my Instagram 

 

@BubblesAndBay

Speaking of Instagram, if you love Bubbles + Bay now you can see twice as much food and hot spots around San Francisco automatically. Following comes with perks like mouth-watering mid-day surprises, beautiful views and secret finds! Follow me for the whole experience, you might even think you live in SF!

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If you try any restaurants I’ve been to or you go somewhere you think I should test out, take a picture and tag @bubblesandbay in your photo!

 

Cheers,

Aly

 

    Wine-Apps-Oysters: the perfect combo Wine-Apps-Oysters: the perfect combo Wine-Apps-Oysters: the perfect combo Wine-Apps-Oysters: the perfect combo Wine-Apps-Oysters: the perfect combo

I have a new favorite street in the city– well a section of a street at least. A street lined with cable car tracks, wine bars and itty-bitty restaurants just waiting to be discovered. Yes, my favorite streets in the city revolve around food and drinks; what can I say, I’m a hungry girl. Hyde street in Russian Hill has pleasantly surprised me over and over again with some of my favorite places– don’t worry many of those treasures will soon be shared on this blog– so you can only imagine my curiosity when a new wine bar opened up.  As I sat in a window seat of this establishment it was clear to me that I wasn’t the only person in the neighborhood curious about the new open doors. I felt like a fish in a glass bowl as I was looking out at the dozens– upon dozens– of eyes that stared back through the glass just wondering what was inside. I’m excited to let all these curious eyes know, I can solve the mystery about what was inside the windows on Hyde, just keep reading.

The ambiance was cool and urban with a seductive mood in the dim lighting, all of this only enhanced by the open atmosphere. The menu is short yet full of great cheese, meat, wine pairings, appetizers, and small sandwiches. As simple as many of the dishes may look, they offer complex preparation and great flavors. Union Larder may just have to be my new hangout spot. Not to mention, they have a nice upscale grocery section, what more could we ask for? What will my other favorite Hyde street hangouts think when they see me always in here? I encourage you to go with friends or with a handsome date like I did and enjoy the night. Start here, end here, it’s up to you.. just make sure you GO here. Here’s a few must-haves I picked off the menu:

What We Ate:

Oysters- with Fresno-chil mignonette
Best sauce to marinate an oyster with, I couldn’t get enough of it. Matter of fact… I didn’t, I’m going back for more ASAP.

Burrata- cream filled mozzarella, basil oil, acme crustini
Simplistic. Perfect. Delicious. Best part: they are not scarce on the cheese, not that you can have more than you need but you get a lot.

Raclette-melted Rolf Beerler Swiss Raclette cheese, market potatoes, Cornichions, fresh herbs
Cheesy goodness. The pickles offers an exciting zing to your taste buds.

What We Drank:

Brouhaha-Pinot Gris- Paso Robles
Light, crisp, refreshing with subtle citrus flavors.

Poco E Poco- Pinot Noir- Russian River Valley
A deep pinot with a level of boldness, rather than a light fruity pinot. Aka, much better.

Infrared by POE-Cabernet Sauvignon- Napa
D E L I C I O U S. Big bad red. Can’t get enough.

 

If I haven’t said it enough, I’ll say it again: get over to Union Larder before everyone ends up there. You can say you “discovered” it, like I know you all will– who wouldn’t? If you do one thing, get that Infrared, a few glasses to be safe.

 

Cheers,

Aly

 

For more info here’s an article about Union Larder on Eater SF

    Jane: My New Favorite Lunch Date Jane: My New Favorite Lunch Date Jane: My New Favorite Lunch Date Jane: My New Favorite Lunch Date Jane: My New Favorite Lunch Date

Some of the problems I face in my life present me with mind boggling questions… questions I usually revolve my day around. Six out of seven days of the week it is typically something like, “where in the world do I go for lunch?” Lunch is probably the most important meal of the day because not only five days out of the week does it give you a much needed break from your work desk, but also on the days you don’t know what to do, it is the easiest place-holder activity. Tell me you haven’t sat on a couch with your friends and asked “what should we do today?” and the first answer suggested wasn’t “we could always find somewhere to go for lunch!” Or you haven’t spent your first hour in the office drinking your coffee answering some small emails and then turned to your co-worker and said, “where should we go for lunch today?” If you say you have never done this, I know you’re lying. Drop the act. The next problem I typically face is something like, “where in the world do I find a good salad that’s not from a chain restaurant with mass produced, lack luster, make your taste buds sleep boring salads?”

These questions circle my mind each and every day as I am most certainly sure they do for you as well, whether you want to admit it or not. As you can see my mind was tortured with this complex problem all up to the wonderful day I found a great new spot by the name of Jane. Jane is a cute little cafe with a hipster feel, perfect variety of summer salads of lunch and amazing coffee. Look no further Jane is the solution to lunch problems, well at least one of the solutions. Go there for lunch and coffee and let your tastebuds do the talking.

What we Ate:

The Arugula Salad
(My dish) Awesome salad with baby arugula, chicken, avocado, tomatoes, pine nuts and shaved parmesan. Topped with a light lemon vinaigrette dressing. The lemon offered a special kick to the salad and made my taste buds water.

The Quinoa Salad
Great full spinach salad with quinoa, cherry tomatoes, avocado, chicken (added), and other goodies. Topped with a cherry rice vinegar dressing. In my opinion salads with quinoa already have a leg up on taste and this salad did not disappoint with the robust flavors.

What we Drank:

Mocha
With a big fat marshmallow in it. YUM

Cappuccino
Great coffee, rich flavors, delivered pretty.

Check out Jane on Fillmore for your next lunch destination and see what you think about their salads, I wouldn’t send you their direction if I didn’t think it was worth it. It’s a cool spot in the middle of a happening street with plenty of shopping, drinking, socializing to do surrounding your salad fix.

Cheers,

Aly

    Brunch: San Francisco’s Favorite Pastime Brunch: San Francisco’s Favorite Pastime Brunch: San Francisco’s Favorite Pastime Brunch: San Francisco’s Favorite Pastime Brunch: San Francisco’s Favorite Pastime

Before I moved to San Francisco brunch was for Sunday only, usually included some of my ancestors and was an occasion where you wore your easter best. When brunch met San Francisco it took on a whole new life and has become one of the most talked about activities around town.

Brunch (noun) A meal around 11:00 am where large parties gather and many drinks are had, typically includes bottomless mimosas until 3 pm, bloody mary’s that lead you to the bars and Eggs Benedict galore.

Because brunch is the city’s favorite hobby, the best place to brunch (verb) is somewhat of a game. This is what lead me and a group of friends to venture into Pacific Heights and find  The Grove. Not only did I find one of the best bloody mary’s in a big girl size, but I found a funky little brunch spot with a ton of personality. Because it was a little cold on the day we went, we opted not to sit outside in the cute street side seating under flowers, but instead found some leather couches in front of a fireplace. I know what you’re thinking….. what a cozy place to curl up with a bloody mary and some delicious food right? It sounds too good to be true. But no, this is not a fake out, we really did sit on leather couches and used logs cut from trees as tables. Check out what we ordered off their menu.

What we ate:

Eggs Florentine poached eggs served over Wolferma’s english muffins, with arugula, roma tomatoes and sauce with 18-month Grana Padano. Served with rosemary hash browns.

Huevos Rancheros grilled corn tortillas simmered in housemade roasted dried red chili sauce, topped with two poached eggs, avocado, refried beans.

Ranchero Steak and Eggs our amazing skirt steak seared golden and placed on a bed of enchilada sauce along with two poached eggs and a garnish of cilantro and tortilla chips

What we drank: 

The Grove Signature Bloody Soju Mary

What we liked:

The Atmosphere! This place was fun, hip with a little funk, and wasn’t a complete drinking fest! I loved all the quirky decorations and can’t imagine a better way to eat breakfast than on a leather couch in front of a fireplace with my friends. There was also plentiful outside seating with flowers all around. Overall just a great happy vibe in this place.

The Bloodys! It’s not just the size of this bloody that I loved but it was the perfect spicy versus tomato combination. There is definitely a reason why they are known for their bloody’s, someone knows what they are doing.

The Food! Once the food was delivered there was barely a peep from anyone, and if that’s not the tell tale sign of  good food then I don’t know what is. They make their own sauces which really adds a special twist to all the food because it’s definitely something you have never had before. I would recommend all three dishes, because you better believe I asked for a bite from everyone’s plate of food. I’m a foodie, I can’t help it!

Go to The Grove you will love it, and after a little research I realized they actually have a few locations in the city which makes it easier for you! The have spots in Fillmore (Pac Heights), Yerba Buena, and Hayes.

    Getting Spoiled at the Waterfront Getting Spoiled at the Waterfront Getting Spoiled at the Waterfront Getting Spoiled at the Waterfront Getting Spoiled at the Waterfront Getting Spoiled at the Waterfront

Anyone who has ever been to San Francisco knows this city will steal all the money in your wallet before you even blink an eye. Well imagine living here… I’m not sure I’ve seen a dollar in my wallet this entire time. So because of this unfortunate situation, of being a broke 23 year old living in San Francisco, I had to pick up a side job. That job is to be a sales person. My client base you might ask? The two biggest suckers I know: my mother and father. It’s really all about the delivery of the pitch in my opinion, and this is how I ended up at the beautiful Waterfront Restaurant. Being that my mother is the reason I am a foodie, she loves pretending she’s 23 and living in San Francisco, and she is ecstatic about my new love for blogging; I knew exactly what to say. To link this back to my financial struggles, having this blog doesn’t come too easy… it requires funds to permit me to eat, drink and play! The cure to this problem I decided is that I need investors! And who would be a better investor than the woman who wants me to have this blog maybe more than I do? No one. Looks like I may need to change careers and think about sales because I landed my first investor as easy as pie.

What we Ate:

Ahi Tuna Tartare
Soy Plum Marinate, Avocado, Wonton, Daikon Sprouts

Dungeness Crab Cakes
Meyer Lemon Aioli

Dungeness Crab Salad
Avocado, Beets, Lime Vinaigrette

Waterfront Cioppino
Dungeness Crab, Manila Clams, Prawns, White Fish, Rich Tomato Broth

Pan Roasted Sea Bass
Caramelized Root Vegetables, Arugula, Meyer Lemon Aioli

What we Drank

Wente Riva Ranch Chardonnay
My favorite Chardonnay out there

What we Like:

Well to start…. we liked everything

The Views! The Waterfront has an outside patio that is covered so it provides a weather shield if you will, and a second lined by windows. We were lucky enough to sit in a window seat on the second tory looking out over the water, with a view of the Bay Bridge. If looking out over my favorite Bay isn’t the best view ever, I don’t know what is.

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The Cioppino! There isn’t anything much better than Cioppino in my opinion so you will find that I order just about any time I see it on the menu. This Cioppino was a little different than any I have had before and I loved the new twist. The tomato broth had a special zing of spice to it which made you just want more and more after each bite. It wasn’t an overwhelming spicy but it definitely added another dimension and in my opinion it was awesome. Get this, you won’t regret it.

The Ahi Tuna Tartare! This was a perfect appetizer. I hate appetizers that come out and make you too full to eat your meal. This was a perfect two-bite size appetizer that tasted fabulous. Not to mention… have you seen the pictures? It looks like it was created in heaven!

Both Dungeness Crab plates! The Dungeness crab at the Waterfront was perfectly fresh and tasteful in both the Crab Cakes and the Crab Salad. The Crab Cakes were light and addicting… I could have ordered plate after plate. the Crab Salad came with a  colorful and beautiful arrangement of beets and avocado and a healthy amount of crab. If you like crab, beets and avocado there is no way you won’t love this salad. I’m not usually the hugest beet fan and I think this salad made me rethink my position.

The Pan Roasted Sea Bass! Last but not least. This plate was not my own but you would have thought it was during the meal. The caramelized and aioli sauce with the fresh Sea Bass added an amazing extra flavor kick that made your taste buds tingle. I would say my mother out-ordered me but I’m not sure anything can out order Cioppino.

The Wente Rive Ranch Chardonnay! For those of you who don’t know me, you will soon learn that this is my favorite white wine and it will likely be showing up in many other blog posts. It’s the perfect California Chardonnay with a perfect buttery finish that is not overwhelming but complimentary to the pallet. Riva and I are great friends.

To say the least I had great views, great company, great food and great wine. I would recommend the Waterfront as a great lunch, diner with friends or family, or a great date spot. Try it out and don’t say I didn’t tell you what you should order, though by the taste of it… I’d say you’re safe with anything on the menu!

Cheers,
Aly

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