If San Francisco is good enough for Journey to dedicate an entire song to (“Lights” is oh-so-classic), then it’s got to be good enough for us Angelinos. A recent weekend excursion to the Bay Area cleared all of the fog surrounding its designation as a food-obsessed city. A gastronomic extravaganza is only a hop, skip and a one-hour plane ride away. “I want to get back to my city by the bay” … and eat!



The enormous Rincon Center at 101 Spear Street is home to one of the most coveted dim sum restaurants in the West Coast. Yank Sing serves over 60 different options daily in its elegant banquet room, and is no ordinary dim sum restaurant. Sure, the carts whirl by, taunting diners with every glistening dumpling and shimmering bun. But the restaurantoffers truly innovative dishes that you will not find at any other establishment.|



Slices of crispy Peking duck are served with seashell buns, scallions and that simultaneously sweet and salty Hoisin sauce. Sesame balls with yellow bean puree are addictive. Taro cake is rich and smooth. Chicken-wrapped asparagus is lightly fried, offering a tender, yet crunchy bite that will elicit “ooohs” and “ahhhs”from everyone around you.



Even the serious business-people trying to wheel and deal will be silenced by the fresh, new tastes that Yank Sing is known for. One never leaves Yank Sing hungry, and the hustle and bustle of the Rincon Center just might take your mind off of how much you ate. Thankfully, SF is a walking city.



If you have room for dinner (you better!), head to an outrageously fun spot, AsiaSF. The food at this Ninth Street destination happens to be great, but everyone really comes for the shows. AsiaSF features “gender illusionists” who keep the party going all night long. Were they men? Are they women? Who knows! But the “girls” definitely perform their hearts out hourly on top of the runway bar to dance-worthy music.



AsiaSFis ideal for bachelorette and birthday parties, as the drink list is endless and everything on the prix fixe menu is great. Blackened tuna sashimi, orange lamb with jasmine rice and miniature ice cream cones comprise a fabulous meal.



You can even get your menu personalized for any big event. As the host at AsiaSF, San Francisco is the city that never sleeps … alone. Try and tear yourself away from the incredible action on the bar and head downstairs to the club to dance the night away.



Once you have recovered from a night of debauchery (you still have no idea if that was a man or woman who flashed you), spend the day at the Ferry Building Marketplace under the Bay Bridge. If you are into food, then this is the place for you.



The Ferry Building contains a jaw-dropping assortment of specialty shops and eateries. The outdoor farmer’s market on Saturday runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and features local produce, cheese, and baked goods. Occasional demonstrations and educational programs are not to be missed.



Popular stop-offs in the permanent marketplace are Cowgirl Creamery’s Artisan Cheese Shop, LuLu Petite, Scharffen Berger Chocolates and Ciao Bella Gelato. In addition to the enticing shops, the beloved restaurant by chef Charles Phan, the Slanted Door, is dazzling.



Light, fresh Vietnamese fare is served in a stunningly bright space overlooking the water. Tables are slabs of thick wood, glass and steel light fixtures adorn the walls and ceiling, and unobtrusive techno music sets the mood. All produce and meat served at the restaurant are from local farms in the area.

The lunch menu is unparalleled. Grilled lemongrass pork is served over rice noodles, accompanied by cucumber and mint. Simply prepared organic broccolini marinates in garlic and rice wine. The vegetarian Vietnamese crepe is a psychedelic yellow concoction of tofu, cabbage, and tree ear mushrooms. “Shaking beef” is one of the most memorable items on the menu: cubed filet mignon with garlic and red onions in a lime dressing.



Tea connoisseurs will marvel at the herbal selection at the Slanted Door. Art tea contains jasmine and lychee flowers. Another green tea, Drum Mountain, grows organically in China’s Cloud and Mist Mountains. The restaurant’s architectural motif is breathtaking, while the experience is relaxed and enjoyable. Make a reservation right now!



Spend Sunday exploring nearby Berkeley in all its glory. Telegraph Avenue is the Bay Area’s version of Venice Beach, and boasts jewelry vendors, great walking and fun little dining spots. Café Intermezzo at Telegraph and Haste Street has a line that snakes out of the door, but don’t worry, it moves quickly.

Place your order with the sandwich/salad-maker behind the bar, and it will be ready before your stomach can growl. The huge salads and sandwiches can be taken to a nearby park, or you can relax surrounded by a painted panorama of the countryside.



Although sandwiches come on foccacia, artichoke-rosemary or a French roll, the honey-whole wheat bread is legendary. The thick slices of sweet goodness sandwich all traditional ingredients: turkey breast, chicken salad, ham, pastrami and roast beef.



Favorites include the Berkeley Special ($5.35), a mountain of hummus, onions, tomato, cucumber and sprouts. Get the best of both worlds with the salad/sandwich combo. The poppy-seed dressing is tart and refreshing. Bring a book and settle in with all of the co-eds that consider Café Intermezzo a steal a damn good meal.



Nighttime in Berkeley maintains the casual vibe, and first-rate fun is absolutely guaranteed. No L.A. attitude here. Jupiter on Shattuck Avenue is the place for chill, live music in an expansive outdoor patio. Stay warm under heating lamps while sipping one of the 34 brews on tap or reasonably priced wines.

Free jazz performances Thursday through Saturday lure local college students and Berkeley residents, and a menu of gourmet sandwiches and pizzas doesn’t hurt either. A BART Subway station is located right across from the brewery. Trust us, you won’t miss driving one bit.



There you have it. A guide to some great eats in that city by the bay. Not only is San Francisco easy to navigate (all hail reliable public transportation), but also at every corner, intimate cafes and restaurants are awaiting your arrival. Take a break from the two-hour traffic jam, book a Southwest flight, and enjoy an energizing culinary weekend. You deserve it.

Locations and Information:

Yank Sing: One Rincon Center, 101 Spear St., San Francisco (415) 957-9300

AsiaSF: Ninth St. @ Howard, San Francisco (415) 255-2742

The Slanted Door: 1 Ferry Building, #3, San Francisco (415) 861-8032

Café Intermezzo: 2442 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley (510) 849-4592

Jupiter: 2181 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley (510) 843-8277