Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Chinatown and North Beach Restaurants

I frequently get asked for recommendations for dinner in both Chinatown and North Beach. In Chinatown, I have long recommended the R and G Lounge at 631 Kearny Street (between Clay and Sacramento Streets). However, many of my guests and many concierges have praised the Oriental Pearl at 760 Clay Street (between Grant Avenue and Kearny Street). I recently checked it out and will definitely include it among my Chinatown recommendations. Every dish we ordered was quite good, particularly the Peking Duck. Plus the service was friendly and informative. When you are in Chinatown, you will dine well at either the R and G or the Oriental Pearl.

In North Beach, I am harder pressed to name good restaurants. There are some that are good, like Calzones and Caffe DeLucchi on Columbus, but nothing exceptional. Recently some guests and friends recommended Trattoria Contadina on the corner of Mason and Union Streets. This past weekend we gave it a try. All of us enjoyed our meals, which consisted of well prepared typical San Francisco Italian fare. Trattoria Contadina's meals are not as refined as the Italian restaurants I have recently written about. However, the food is good and, if you are in North Beach, you won't go wrong by dining here.

If you would like to take a San Francisco tour that inclcudes visits to North Beach and Chinatown, please call me at (866) 326-4237 or e-mail me by clicking

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Friday Night at the De Young

Looking for something to do on a Friday night? Visit the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. One of the two Fine Arts Museums, the de Young houses art from the United States, the Americas, Africa, and Oceania. (The other Fine Arts Museum, the Legion of Honor, is located in Lincoln Park and is home to collections of European Art.)

On Friday nights, the de Young stays open until 8:45 p.m. After 5:00 p.m., tickets cost just $5/person. While not all galleries are open, there are special music performances and docent-led talks. In addition, the cafe serves dinner until 8:00 p.m. and cocktails are served at a cash bar in the entry court. I was particularly impressed to see that supervised tables were available for young children to draw while their parents visited the museum.

This past Friday, the special exhibitions, "The Quilts of Gee's Bend" and "Chicano" were open. The latter consists of three related exhibitions: "Chicano Visions: American Painters on the Verge," "Chicano Now: American Expressions," and Chicano Now: Local Places and Global Encounters."

The de Young should be applauded for extending its hours so more visitors can enjoy some of the museum's works. The de Young is also open from Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Regular tickets cost $10, $7 for seniors, and $6 for youth (13-17) and college students with identification.