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1. Mystic Hotel
Master chef Charlie Palmer's Burritt Room and Tavern, located in Mystic Hotel in the Union District of San Francisco, does not disappoint. Start your evening off in the Burritt Room, an exciting and bustling craft cocktail bar, sipping one of the many delicious house-made cocktail creations.
Then step into the adjoining Burritt Tavern and enjoy classic food, such as steaks, burgers, fish and homemade pasta. Executive chef Ashley Weaver does a great job of incorporating the Bay Area's local seasonal produce in all of her dishes.
Located a short Bay Area Rapid Transit ride away from downtown San Fran, Oakland, California, is a true foodie destination. Start the day off at Blue Bottle Coffee on Webster Street -- a coffee lover's dream. Blue Bottle Coffee uses organic, pesticide-free and shade-grown beans and roasts them right in Oakland. What makes the coffee so great is that it's in your cup less than 48 hours after being roasted.
Once your caffeine buzz wears off, head over to B-Side BBQ for a delicious lunch featuring local, sustainable and organic ingredients. Chef Tanya Holland knows how to do barbecue.
Whether you're in the mood for a pulled pork sandwich, ribs, chicken or beef, you'll be rubbing your belly in deep satisfaction. You don't have to be a meat lover to enjoy B-Side BBQ though. The restaurant also serves up a mean BBQ Braised Tofu Nugget dish for the vegetarians in your group.
Finish your day off in Oakland with a trip to The Trappist, a bar that specializes in artisan beers. There are 28 rotating taps featuring local microbrews from California and elsewhere in the United States. It's a fun atmosphere with plenty of choice that will have you sampling some delicious artisan beers.
West Marin, California
3. Cowgirl Creamery
Started in 1997 by former restaurateurs Sue Conley and Peggy Smith, Cowgirl Creamery produces some of the area's best-loved cheeses. Visit the original creamery in the Tomales Bay Foods store in the town of Point Reyes Station where you can pick up a few of Cowgirl Creamery's cheeses (we highly recommend the Red Hawk), a loaf of fresh bread and some sweet treats, and enjoy them in the adjacent picnic area.
4. Hog Island Oyster Farm
Though Hog Island oysters can be easily found in San Francisco and Napa, the Hog Island Oyster Farm in Tomales Bay is a must-visit destination. Hog Island Oyster Co. leases 160 acres in Tomales Bay and raises over three million Pacific, Kumamoto and Atlantic oysters yearly. Visit the farm for a $10 tour and learn about oyster history, watershed ecology and Hog Island's sustainable farming techniques.
You can also book a shuck-your-own picnic table, where you can shuck and grill fresh oysters from the farm (tools are provided). Be sure to also visit The Boat, the farm's on-site oyster bar, for some grilled oysters smothered in a delicious chipotle bourbon butter sauce. These suckers are highly addictive!
For a luxurious dining experience, head to Santé, the Michelin Star restaurant located at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa. Santé cooks up delectable meals featuring local produce. We suggest splurging on the Chef's Tasting Menu, a seven-course dinner, with the wine pairing. Santé is a destination for true wine lovers as the restaurant boasts a wine list featuring over 500 Sonoma and Napa wines.
Where to stay
In San Francisco
Mystic Hotel is a great option with moderate rates. Located close to Union Square, Chinatown, Nob Hill and the financial district, Charlie Palmer's hotel is a trendy choice in the heart of the city. Plus, you'll be mighty close to the hotel's Burritt Room and Tavern, meaning you can enjoy a fabulous post-dinner cocktail and then fall right into bed.
For a romantic getaway: Kenwood Inn and Spa is a perfect destination for a romantic getaway for a pair of wine lovers. One of the many perks of staying at Kenwood is enjoying the fabulous meals created in its private restaurant.
A budget-friendly favourite: Flamingo Conference Resort and Spa is located centrally in Sonoma County. With a health club, spa, swimming pool and tennis courts, there's plenty to keep busy with on the resort's grounds. Plus, given its convenient location, it's a perfect home base if you're set on exploring California's fabulous Wine Country.
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