Hubby and I recently found ourselves driving north along Highway 1, winding our way from Los Angeles towards the iconic city of San Francisco to spend a couple of nights doing what I love to do the most, namely eating and celebrating my birthday. Hubby likes to joke that the birthDAY experience has recently turned into a birthWEEK, or even a birthMONTH. I don’t have to heart to tell him that when we celebrate the big 5-0, it will be a birthYEAR…ignorance is bliss in that case.
San Francisco seemed a logical choice for us, as the city has been the backdrop for many a big birthday celebration in my family. I was first introduced to San Francisco when my mother turned 50 and had a large bash for all of her friends at the renowned SF institution, Ernie’s (closed in 1995), which according to the culinary critic Roy Adries de Groot was the “most elegant, famous, finest, and luxurious restaurant in San Francisco”. Thereafter, she enjoyed returning to the City By The Bay to celebrate her other milestone birthdays…70, 75 and 80, to name the most recent. A year after Mom passed away, we spent a couple of nights in SF on our way to Napa Valley. Maybe it was too emotional for me to be there nearly a year to the day of her death, but halfway through the five-course tasting menu at Gary Danko’s, I turned to Hubby and said I just had to get out of there. I couldn’t see or hear…I think I may have been having an anxiety attack (never having had one, I still have no clue, I was just too choked up and had to leave asap). This was our first time back since then, and I was in a good place to take that trip down memory lane and relive some of our happy times with Mom and Dad.
The absolute must-do was to have birthday lunch at Tadich Grill on California Street. Not only was it one of my parents’ favorite spots, but I also credit Tadich Grill with having been the place where I had my “a-ha moment” with Dungeness crab (they truly have the best Dungeness crab cakes ever). My mom and I had a lot of fun over the years trying to re-create them, and perhaps it was the accompanying rosé that made them taste so good, but I feel we came pretty close. Tadich Grill has been serving seafood in the bay area for over 160 years, and since 1967, has been at this location in the financial district. They do not take reservations, but I find that part of the fun…to put our name in and wait with growling stomachs while sipping on Bloody Marys. Then we sit down with a bottle of vino blanco and tear through at least two loafs of sourdough loaf while waiting for our dishes. This year it was just the two of us, a much needed break from kids and work, but I had to dig through some old pics and compare it to the fall of 2008 and the celebration for Mom’s 80th.
|Tadich Grill on 240 California St|
|Dungeness crab cake appetizer|
|Kampachi over Japanese noodles|
|Mom (on her 80th) and Mickey Mouse shared a birthday|
|This is one of my favorites as she loved to talk with her hands|
|So check this out…|
|…do these two look familiar?|
|Next time I need to remember to wear my tiara|
Stayed tuned for more posts on our trip to SF, specifically a once-in-a-lifetime meal at Saison, plus some posts from our road trip: Grand Central Market in LA, Hearst Castle, and Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur.
240 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111
All photos and opinions by Marci Symington for texaztaste.blogspot.com, with the exception of those taken of my mother, which were taken by my fabulous sister, Liza B Lewis.