Monday, October 20, 2008

Land's End Trail Update

In the second edition of "Rick's Tips," Blue Heron's free newsletter of fun things to do in the Bay Area, I wrote about the Coastal Trail at Land's End. This beautiful walk takes you from Sea Cliff and the Legion of Honor to the Pacific Ocean near Cliff House.

If you've not done this walk recently, there are many improvements along the way. Most recently, a large parking lot was opened at the west end of the trail, just above Cliff House. Now there are plenty of spots for cars and buses to park so visitors can enjoy the trail, walk among the ruins of Sutro Bath, or eat at Cliff House or Louis' Restaurant.

The trail is much better signed now, both with directional arrows and waysides that help interpret the area. You'll be able to learn more about the streetcar and train that previously ran along Land's End, the Native Americans that lived here, and the many ships that wrecked outside the Golden Gate.

There are also improved seating areas for walkers to rest and gaze out over the Pacific.

If you haven't visited Land's End, I highly recommend the walk I called "the most beautiful urban walk in America." If you haven't walked the trail recently, it's time for a return visit.

If you would like to take a private, custom tour that includes Land's End, Sea Cliff, and/or the Legion of Honor, please phone me at (866) 326-4237 (toll free) or e-mail me by clicking here.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Best Restaurants in San Francisco - 2008/2009

Over a year ago, I summarized the critics' picks of the best restaurants in San Francisco. With the release of the "2009 Zagat Guide" and the 2009 Michelin guide, I'll update the listings.

According to Zagat, the five most popular restaurants in the Bay Area are Gary Danko, Boulevard, The Slanted Door, The French Laundry (Yountville), and Michael Mina. The restaurants with the best food are The French Laundry (Yountville) and Cyrus (Healdsburg) with 29 points, and Gary Danko, Kaygetsu (Menlo Park), Quince, La Foret (San Jose), The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton, and Sushi Ran (Sausalito) with 28 points.

The San Francisco Chronicle awards its highest rating, four stars, to eight restaurants: Chez Panisse (Berkeley), Coi, Cyrus (Healdsburg), French Laundry (Yountville), La Folie, Manresa (Los Gatos), Michael Mina, and The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton.

"Michelin San Francisco, Bay Area and Wine Country 2009" gives its highest rating of three stars to only one restaurant: The French Laundry in Yountville. The guide awards two stars to six restaurants: Aqua, Coi, Cyrus (Healdsburg), Manresa (Los Gatos), Meadowood (St. Helena), and Michael Mina.

As you can see the critics disagree more than they agree. The only restaurants near the top of all three lists are Cyrus, The French Laundry, and Michael Mina. Having eaten at all three, I wouldn't disagree.

(revised 10/16/2008)