2005 AAO CONVENTION
Savoring San Francisco
If you didn't leave your heart in San Franciscoin 1995, the last time the AAO visited for itsannual meeting, you'll have another chance May20-24. Here is JCO's guide to dining, culture,shopping, and recreation in the City by the Bay.
Bold-faced and linked items are included in the phone directories at the end of the article.
Expect mild days and chilly nights in lateMay. Fog, wind, and rain are always possible,especially near the ocean, so raincoats andsweaters are required equipment. Farther inland,on the other hand, it could be quite warm.High-resolution map of San Francisco (1.5MB)
Low-resolution map of San Francisco (.2MB)
San Francisco International Airport operatesa free, convenient AirTrain monorail thatservices the terminals, parking garages, andrental-car facility. Taxi fares to downtown runabout $37 each way; cabs can be found on thearrival level of each terminal. Shared-ride vanscost about $13-15 one way, $20-24 round trip, tothe downtown hotels, and pick up passengers onthe departure level of each terminal.
The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system,long the butt of jokes in Northern California,is finally connected to the airport (in theInternational Terminal), with a $5 fare to downtown.Beyond downtown San Francisco, BARTextends as far as Berkeley, Oakland, Martinez,and Fremont. The famous cable cars are nowmostly for tourists--and you can visit the historic[url_new=http://www.sfcablecar.com]Cable Car Barn & Powerhouse[/url_new]--but thecars do still operate on three lines within thedowntown area, at $3 each way.
San Francisco is one of the great culinarycapitals of the world, making dinner plans duringthe AAO meeting more a process of eliminationthan a quandary. The hottest table in town is at[url_new=http://www.starwoodhotels.com/westin/search/restaurants_lounges.html?city=&stateProvince=&country=&postalCode=&hotelLocationType=&pOI=&arrivalDate=2005-03-12&departureDate=2005-03-13&lengthOfStay=1&numberOfRooms=1&numberOfAdults=1&amenityType1=&amenityType2=&amenityType3=&nState1=&nState2=&nCity1=&nCity2=&requestedChainCode=WI&requestedAffiliationCode=WI&propertyID=1010&returnURL=&promotionCode=&corporateAccountNumber=&rcdi=&iATANumber=&groupBlockID=&ratePlanName=&starwoodPreferredGuest=&fromSearch=22XX&H=250&W=491/westin]Michael Mina[/url_new] in the Westin St. Francis, wherethe former Aqua chef has now set up shop after astint in Las Vegas. [url_new=http://www.aqua-sf.com/aqua/main.htm]Aqua[/url_new] is still reputed to offerthe city's best seafood under new chef LaurentManrique. At [url_new=http://www.quincerestaurant.com]Quince[/url_new], in Pacific Heights, chefMichael Tusk is wowing patrons with the meticulousattention to freshness he learned at ChezPanisse. Traci Des Jardins applies the same philosophyto a more California-style cuisine at[url_new=http://www.jardiniere.com]Jardinière[/url_new]. [url_new=http://www.frissonsf.com]Frisson[/url_new] offers Daniel Patterson'sAsian-scented creativity. And [url_new=http://www.garydanko.com]Gary Danko,[/url_new]whose eponymous restaurant is on Fisherman'sWharf, is still at or near the top of anyone's listof San Francisco chefs.
Visitors are agog over the spectacularlyrenovated Ferry Building Marketplace, at the endof Market Street. There's a large farmer's marketevery Saturday and smaller markets on Sundays,Tuesdays, and Thursdays. You may want to buyyour own wine at the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchantand take it to one of the many cafes along thewaterfront (paying a corkage fee), or to helpdown oysters at the Hog Island Oyster Co. Formore sophisticated dining, the Ferry Plaza is alsothe new home of the contemporary Vietnamesefavorite, [url_new=http://www.slanteddoor.com]The Slanted Door[/url_new].
Other noteworthy Asian restaurants includethe modern Vietnamese [url_new=http://www.anamandara.com]Ana Mandara[/url_new] (GhirardelliSquare); the seafood-oriented [url_new=http://www.thehse.com]House[/url_new] (NorthBeach); Japanese standouts [url_new=http://www.cafekati.com]Café Kati[/url_new], [url_new=http://www.thechaya.com]ChayaBrasserie[/url_new], and [url_new=http://www.kyo-ya-restaurant.com]Kyo-Ya[/url_new]; Manora's Thai Cuisine (SoMa); and the Chinese dim-sum outpost[url_new=http://www.tonkiang.net]Ton Kiang[/url_new] (Outer Richmond).
"Small plates" are all the rage these days,and San Francisco offers various ethnic flavors,most combined with extensive wine-by-the-glassselections: [url_new=http://www.A16SF.com]A 16[/url_new] (southern Italian), [url_new=http://www.bocasf.com]Bocadillos[/url_new]and [url_new=http://www.ilunabasque.com]Iluna Basque[/url_new] (Spanish), [url_new=http://www.cortezrestaurant.com]Cortez[/url_new] (Mediterranean),[url_new=http://www.eossf.com]Eos Restaurant & Wine Bar[/url_new] (Asian),and [url_new=http://www.tartarerestaurant.com]Tartare[/url_new] (Pacific).If you're looking for heartier bistro fare,there are a number of options, including thetrendy new [url_new=http://www.oola-sf.com]Oola[/url_new], as well as [url_new=http://www.bistrochapeau.citysearch.com]Chapeau![/url_new] and Clémentine (Inner Richmond), Chez Spencer (MissionDistrict), and [url_new=http://www.fringalerestaurant.com]Fringale[/url_new] (SoMa). Moresophisticated French cuisine abounds, led byLaurent Gras's [url_new=http://www.hotelpalomar.com/5thFloorDining.html]Fifth Floor[/url_new], Hubert Keller'sAlsatian-style [url_new=http://www.fleurdelyssf.com]Fleur de Lys[/url_new] (Nob Hill), and theelegant, Provençal-inspired [url_new=http://www.camptonplace.com]Campton Place[/url_new].Further options include [url_new=http://www.boulevardrestaurant.com]Boulevard[/url_new], [url_new=http://www.lafolie.com]La Folie[/url_new], [url_new=http://www.lasuitesf.com]LaSuite[/url_new] (Embarcadero), [url_new=http://www.masas.citysearch.com]Masa's[/url_new], and the [url_new=http://www.ritzcarlton.com/hotels/san_francisco/dining/default.asp]Ritz-Carlton Dining Room[/url_new].
Italian food is concentrated among the trattoriasof North Beach, but for a step above in thatneighborhood, try the Ligurian cuisine of RosePistola. Other notable Italian eateries are thevenerable [url_new=http://www.acquerello.com]Acquerello[/url_new] and Russian Hill's [url_new=http://www.frascatiSF.com]Frascati[/url_new].[url_new=http://www.townhallSF.com]Town Hall[/url_new] is gaining a reputation for itsCajun-Californian menu; for Greek fare, try[url_new=http://www.kokkari.com]Kokkari Estiatorio[/url_new], and for Latino food, [url_new=http://www.almacomida.com]Alma[/url_new]in the up-and-coming Mission District.
Many other outstanding establishments canbe found in the Bay Area, but every food lovershould make a pilgrimage to Berkeley's [url_new=http://www.chezpanisse.com]ChezPanisse[/url_new], where Alice Waters fired the first shotsof the American food revolution. You can stilltaste how her innovative incorporation of localingredients changed the way we eat.
Civic and Cultural Attractions
The Go San Francisco Card, available forone-, two-, three-, or five-day periods at $49 orless per day for adults, provides free admission tomore than 30 San Francisco attractions; savingson tours, shops, and restaurants; and a personalguidebook. The CityPass, $42 for adults,includes admission to five of the top attractionsand a San Francisco Bay cruise, plus unlimitedcable-car and municipal public transportation fora week. Both are available online at [url_new=http://www.sfvisitor.org]www.sfvisitor.org[/url_new].
Anyone new to San Francisco should startat [url_new=http://www.fishermanswharf.org]Fisherman's Wharf[/url_new], where you can book baycruises such as a trip to [url_new=http://www.nps.gov/alcatraz]Alcatraz Island[/url_new], the formerfederal prison that is now a national recreationarea. Other highlights in the wharf area arethe [url_new=http://www.aquariumofthebay.com]Aquarium of the Bay[/url_new], the [url_new=http://www.maritime.org]Maritime Museum[/url_new],and the [url_new=http://www.maritime.org]USS Pampanito[/url_new] submarine museum.For a different scenic seafaring experience,catch a [url_new=http://www.goldengateferry.org]Golden Gate Ferry[/url_new] from the FerryBuilding to picturesque Sausalito or Larkspur inMarin County.
You can actually walk across the [url_new=http://www.goldengatebridge.org]GoldenGate Bridge[/url_new] (1.7 miles), but be sure to wearwarm, comfortable clothes. Another great vantagepoint is the historic [url_new=http://www.coittower.org]Coit Tower[/url_new] onTelegraph Hill, just east of North Beach.Near the bridge, the Palace of Fine Arts,built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific exposition,houses the [url_new=http://www.exploratorium.edu]Exploratorium[/url_new], one of the world'smost techno-savvy and kid-friendly museums.It's open Tuesday through Saturday from 10a.m.-5 p.m. and features a "wave organ", sculptedon a jetty over the bay, with pipes that playwith the rise and fall of the surf. Also nearby isthe city's primary fine-arts museum, the [url_new=http://www.famsf.org]Legionof Honor[/url_new], which houses a conventional, built-inSkinner pipe organ, a large collection of Rodin,and a temporary exhibit on "Artwear: Fashionand Anti-Fashion."
Golden Gate Park was begun in 1871 on1,000 acres of open dunes. Now the marvelouslylandscaped park comprises the [url_new=http://www.conservatoryofflowers.org]Conservatory ofFlowers[/url_new], the [url_new=http://www.frp.org]Japanese Tea Garden[/url_new], and [url_new=http://www.strybing.org]StrybingArboretum and Botanical Garden[/url_new]. [url_new=http://www.calacademy.org]MorrisonPlanetarium[/url_new] and [url_new=http://www.calacademy.org]Steinhart Aquarium[/url_new]are no longer in the park, but at the CaliforniaAcademy of Sciences downtown. The [url_new=http://www.sfzoo.org]San FranciscoZoo[/url_new], near Ocean Beach, is Northern California'slargest, now focusing on the conservationand preservation of wildlife. [url_new=http://www.sanfranciscochinatown.com]Chinatown[/url_new],centered on Grant Avenue between Bush Streetand Columbus Avenue, is one of the largest suchcommunities outside China itself.The [url_new=http://www.sfmoma.org]San Francisco Museum of ModernArt[/url_new], open daily except Wednesdays, is worth avisit just to see Mario Botta's unique building.Within a stone's throw of the Convention Center,it currently features a retrospective of the photorealistpainter Robert Bechtle. The [url_new=http://www.jmsf.org]ContemporaryJewish Museum[/url_new] now has an exhibition ofspice boxes called "Scents of Purpose," and the[url_new=http://www.asianart.org]Asian Art Museum[/url_new] offers a comprehensive permanentcollection. The [url_new=http://www.cartoonart.org]Cartoon Art Museum[/url_new] isthe only one of its kind in the United States.
The [url_new=http://www.sfsymphony.org]San Francisco Symphony[/url_new], under itsdynamic music director, Michael Tilson Thomas,presents a program of music by Richard StraussMay 18-22 at Davies Symphony Hall. PianistAndré Watts is showcased in a solo recital ofmusic by Frédéric Chopin and Franz Liszt at 8p.m. Saturday, May 21, in the [url_new=http://www.performances.org]War MemorialPerforming Arts Center[/url_new].
[url_new=http://www.ncco.org]The New Century Chamber Orchestra[/url_new]offers an evening of Strauss and W.A. Mozart at8 p.m. Thursday, May 26, at the Legion ofHonor. Also at the Legion of Honor is a variedconcert for flute, harp, and strings in the [url_new=http://www.avedisconcerts.org]AvedisChamber Music Series[/url_new], at 2 p.m. Sunday, May22. The [url_new=http://www.earplay.org]Earplay Ensemble[/url_new] presents a programof new chamber music, including three worldpremieres, at 8 p.m. Monday, May 23, at theYerba Buena Center for the Arts. A free organrecital will be performed at the majestic [url_new=http://www.gracecathedral.org]GraceCathedral[/url_new] by its director of music, JeffreySmith, at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 22. Modern dance aficionados should not missthe Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company,May 19-22 at the [url_new=http://www.performances.org]Yerba Buena Center for theArts[/url_new].
The [url_new=http://www.act-sf.org]American Conservatory Theater[/url_new]presents Eugene O'Neill's A Moon for the Misbegotten through May 29. The [url_new=http://www.magictheatre.org]Magic Theatre[/url_new]offers three world premieres in rotating repertory:John Belluso's The Rules of Charity (throughMay 19), Betty Shamieh's The Black Eyed(through June 19), and Victor Lodato's 3F 4F(through June 19). The [url_new=http://www.theatreofyugen.org]Theatre of Yugen[/url_new], basedon classic Japanese dramatic forms, has adaptedErnest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea,through May 21 at Noh Space. [url_new=http://www.atjt.com]A Traveling JewishTheatre[/url_new] offers a provocative new play, DavidGow's Cherry Docs, through June 19.
The Fisherman's Wharf area provides anumber of shops and arcades, including [url_new=http://www.anchoratthewharf.com]TheAnchorage[/url_new], [url_new=http://www.thecannery.com]The Cannery[/url_new], [url_new=http://www.ghirardellisq.com]Ghirardelli Square[/url_new],and [url_new=http://www.pier39.com]Pier 39[/url_new]. For upscale shopping, visit UnionSquare at Geary and Stockton streets, Post Street between Kearny and Powell streets (includingthe renowned [url_new=http://www.gumps.com]Gump's[/url_new] department store), or the[url_new=http://www.embarcaderocenter.com]Embarcadero Center[/url_new] on Sacramento Street betweenBattery and Drumm streets.
The younger set may want to check out thetrendy shops in North Beach (on upper GrantAvenue) or on Hayes Street between LagunaStreet and the Civic Center.
Prominent San Francisco art galleries includethe [url_new=http://www.meyerovich.com]Meyerovich[/url_new], [url_new=http://www.hackettfreedman.com]Hackett-Freedman[/url_new],[url_new=http://www.johnpence.com]John Pence[/url_new], and [url_new=http://www.wirtzgallery.com]Stephen Wirtz[/url_new] galleries, allspecializing in contemporary and modern Americanart; the [url_new=http://www.takadagallery.com]Takada Gallery[/url_new], featuring minimalistand abstract art from Japan and the WestCoast; and [url_new=http://www.111minnagallery.com]111 Minna[/url_new], a SoMa gallery-cum-nightclub.
Sports and Recreation
The [url_new=http://www.sfgiants.com]San Francisco Giants[/url_new] are at home inthe beautiful new SBC Park against their crosstowninterleague rivals, the Oakland A's, May21-23, and against their longtime adversaries, theLos Angeles Dodgers, May 25-27.
The most notable public golf course withinthe city of San Francisco is the [url_new=http://www.presidiogolf.com]Presidio GolfCourse[/url_new] on the former Army post. True believers,of course, will flock to [url_new=http://www.pebblebeach.com/page.asp?id=704]Pebble Beach[/url_new], the mosthallowed name in American golf. It's open to thepublic, but the greens fee will set you back about$350 unless you are staying at the resort. Forabout $100 less, you can play the nearby RobertTrent Jones Sr. course, [url_new=http://www.pebblebeach.com/page.asp?id=709]Spyglass Hill[/url_new], which isalmost as highly rated. The other legendary publiclayouts along the 17-Mile Drive are [url_new=http://www.poppyhillsgolf.com]PoppyHills[/url_new] and [url_new=http://www.pebblebeach.com/page.asp?id=706]Spanish Bay[/url_new].
If you are attending the preconference programin Carmel, one of the best restaurants in thearea is right at the headquarters hotel: [url_new=http://www.highlandsinn.hyatt.com]Pacific'sEdge[/url_new] in the Park Hyatt Highlands Inn. Othernotable Carmel dining spots are [url_new=http://www.gomonterey.com/cgi-bin/new_mont_frame.cgi?return=www.monterey.winecountry.com/thingstodo/dining/carmellistings.html&target=www.carmelsbest.com/antonmichel/]Anton &Michel[/url_new], Bouchée, Flying Fish Grill, the [url_new=http://www.carmelsbest.com/thegrill/index.html]Grillon Ocean Avenue[/url_new], and [url_new=http://www.bernardus.com]Marinus[/url_new], at the charmingBernardus Winery.
The 17-Mile Drive, circumnavigating theMonterey Peninsula from the intersection of U.S.highways 1 and 68, is worth taking for the spectacularscenery, even if you don't play golf. Mayis the beginning of whale-watching season, andexpeditions are available from [url_new=http://www.montereybaywhalewatch.com]Monterey BayWhale Watch[/url_new]. While you're in the wharf area,the [url_new=http://www.montereybayaquarium.org]Monterey Bay Aquarium[/url_new] is one of theworld's finest, featuring the only white shark ondisplay today. The aquarium hosts a culinaryevent on sustainable seafood, "Cooking for Solutions,"May 19-21.
The [url_new=http://www.montereyart.org]Monterey Museum of Art[/url_new], focusingon Californian and Asian artists, has two facilities:[url_new=http://www.montereyart.org]Pacific Street[/url_new], in the Civic Center, and [url_new=http://www.montereyart.org]LaMirada[/url_new], in an old, elegant mansion. The new[url_new=http://www.steinbeck.org]National Steinbeck Center[/url_new], filled with exhibitsand educational material, is in Historic Old Townin nearby Salinas. [url_new=http://www.carmel-california.com/carmel_mission.html]San Carlos Borromeo deCarmelo[/url_new], known as the Carmel Mission, hasbeen authentically restored and is now consideredone of the most lovely missions in the state.For horse lovers, the [url_new=http://www.ridepebblebeach.com]Pebble Beach EquestrianChallenge[/url_new] runs May 18-22.
Those who travel to the Napa Valley for thepost-conference program will find the food nearlyas memorable as the wine. Yountville's[url_new=http://www.bouchonbistro.com/tfl/frenchlaundry.htm]French Laundry[/url_new] is a once-in-a-lifetime diningexperience; if you haven't made a reservationtwo months ahead of your target date, try callingexactly one month ahead to see if there have beenany cancellations. Chef Thomas Keller also operatesthe nearby bistro [url_new=http://www.bouchonbistro.com/bouchon/bouchon.htm]Bouchon[/url_new], and other reliableYountville choices include [url_new=http://www.bistrojeanty.com]Bistro Jeanty[/url_new],[url_new=http://www.brix.com]Brix[/url_new], and [url_new=http://www.mustardsgrill.com]Mustards Grill[/url_new]. Farther north onHighway 29, you'll find [url_new=http://www.latoque.com]La Toque[/url_new] in Rutherfordand [url_new=http://www.martinihouse.com]Martini House[/url_new], [url_new=http://www.terrarestaurant.com]Terra[/url_new], and [url_new=http://www.travigne.com]Tra Vigne[/url_new] in St.Helena. Farther south, in the city of Napa, are[url_new=http://www.bistrodongiovanni.com]Bistro Don Giovanni[/url_new] and [url_new=http://www.copia.org/pages/visitjuliaskitchen.asp]Julia's Kitchen[/url_new]; thelatter, named for Julia Child, anchors the fascinating[url_new=http://www.copia.org]Copia: American Center for Wine, Food, and the Arts[/url_new] (closed Tuesdays), which isworth a trip in itself.
Winery visits are mandatory, whether youare a novice or a connoisseur. You will find manyhospitable and informative tasting rooms simplyby driving up and down Highway 29 and theSilverado Trail between Yountville and St.Helena. If you're looking for a tour or a morepersonalized guide to a particular winery, it's agood idea to call at least a day in advance. Youmight also learn about special tastings or openhouses, which are common in May--a relativelyslow month for vineyard managers. Many tastingrooms charge a small fee to sample their wines,but they'll usually waive it (and often bring outtheir more exclusive bottlings for you to try) ifyou make a purchase. In fact, etiquette dictatesthat if you like the wine, you should buy a bottleor two to take with you, or have some shippedhome if your state law allows. In California, it'spermissible to bring your own bottle into a restaurant,but you should call ahead to let the establishmentknow and to determine its corkage fee.
Large, well-known wineries with extensivetasting rooms and gift shops include [url_new=http://www.robertmondaviwinery.com]RobertMondavi[/url_new], [url_new=http://www.niebaum-coppola.com]Niebaum-Coppola[/url_new], and [url_new=http://www.chandon.com]DomaineChandon[/url_new]; the latter features a good introductionto sparkling-winemaking and an excellent restaurantfor lunch or dinner. Smaller wineries withfriendly staffs and outstanding products include[url_new=http://www.caymus.com]Caymus[/url_new], [url_new=http://www.heitzcellar.com]Heitz[/url_new], [url_new=http://www.merryvale.com]Merryvale[/url_new], [url_new=http://www.minerwines.com]Miner Family[/url_new], and[url_new=http://www.whitehalllane.com]Whitehall Lane[/url_new]. For both good wine and stunningviews, it's worth a little longer drive to the[url_new=http://www.hesscollection.com]Hess Collection[/url_new] (with its intriguing modern-artmuseum), [url_new=http://www.jpvwines.com]Joseph Phelps[/url_new], or [url_new=http://www.reveriewine.com]Reverie[/url_new].
Phone directory of San Francisco restaurants
Phone directory of San Francisco attractions, performances, and shopping
Phone directory of sports and recreation, Monterey-area and Napa Valley-area restaurants and activities