Destination: San Francisco

Although a weekend may not seem like enough elsewhere, it’s plenty of time to explore the highlights of San Francisco and come away with a taste of the many culinary adventures, recreational activities and cultural attractions that abound.

At about six miles square, it’s easy to traverse the city in a day (see sidebar for some of the top stops for first-time visitors). Because my husband’s family hails from the Bay area, we’ve enjoyed sojourns into the city on a somewhat regular basis over thepast several years. As such, we’ve already done the “tourist thing,” so this trip, we decided to make our visit more of a relaxing stay highlighted by an amazing gourmet (and historical) experience at the Presidio Social Club (www.presidiosocialclub.com).

Housed in a converted infantry barracks on the prestigious (former) U.S. Army base of the same name, the iconic The Presidio Social Club resides amidst abundant eucalyptus trees and expansive lawns, making it arguably one of the most pastoral spots in the city.

But the food is what we came for and the recommended Sunday brunch more than delivered – so much so, in fact, that we were still talking about the individual dishes and the spectacular service (including the restaurant’s general manager, Maureen, who personally stopped by each table to ensure that everything was to her guests’ liking) days later.

Serving up a classic Northern California vibe and a menu characterized by a locally sourced, seasonal menu, my husband and I found it challenging to decide which appetizers and entrees to indulge in. The couple who accompanied us experienced no such dilemma. As fans of traditional French cuisine, our friends went right for the foiegras (because the Presidio remained federal property even after being decommissioned by the Army, the Presidio Social Club doesn’t have to abide by the State ban on the delectable (they claim) duck liver that has been at the center of considerable controversy in recent months).

In the end, we opted for a little of everything, pairing our fruity Bellinis and bloody marys with decadent brioche beignets served with Mexican hot cocoa, gruyere cheese toasts with tomato dip, poached eggs and ham served with sliced tomato, hollandaise and brioche and the exceptionally flavorful “Mission-style chilaquiles (scrambled eggs, tomatillo, cotija cheese and house roasted pork belly).

Where to Stay
We really lucked out in finding this private residence for rent. Because we have family friends who live in the area, we’ve been blessed to be able to visit the region fairly frequently, generally staying with our friends or in one of the nearby hotel properties.

But this year, because we were traveling with three adults and two young children, we decided a rental home would be a much more comfortable and convenient option.

And the place we found couldn’t have been more perfect (www.611JonesSF.com).

Whether you’re a couple looking for a romantic retreat, a family with kids or two families traveling together or a large group of friends, this vacation/ rental house in the heart of downtown/Union Square, was convenient to everything and bears the distinction of being the only single-family home in the area.

The 3 bedroom, 2 bath home provided the ideal layout to give everyone plenty of privacy. The cozy living room complete with fireplace and flat screen TV, free Wi-Fi and cable television was definitely the most popular room in the house for the kids.

The fully outfitted gourmet kitchen and dining room made mealtime so easy. There was an outdoor area with seating, garage parking for a small car (since we had a larger vehicle, we parked in the space right in front of the garage), which is virtually unheard of in the city, where you pay a premium for parking.

The owner, Taso, was incredible to work with. He was hyper-responsive to email inquiries and followed up with us after our stay to make sure it was everything we expected.

We can unequivocally say that we’ve been spoiled. After staying at this amazing property, we’ll be hard pressed to settle for anything less the next time we head to San Francisco. Aside from the amenity, convenience of location and all the money we saved from eating in as opposed to dining out for every meal (as we end up doing when we stay at a hotel), renting this private home ended up being a more affordable option since we would have had to book at least two rooms to accommodate our group.

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