Update: March 9, 2009.
This business trip was canceled (I got laid off two weeks before it!), but these are still some of my favorite restaurants in San Francisco, so I'll leave the post up anyway.
I've been thinking long and hard about where I want to eat the next time I'm in San Francisco, which will be March.
From 2002 to 2007, I lived in San Francisco or thereabout. And once or twice a year, I get to go back for work because, when I left the area, I took my job with me. I consider myself very lucky to be able to work from home (it took a little getting used to, but I love it now and am so much more productive than I was when I spent the day in an over-air conditioned office building) and have an excuse to go back to San Francisco once or twice a year.
The tradeoff is that when I travel for business, I try to keep my expenses low, so I stay with friends rather than at the pricey hotels downtown. On the other hand, because I stay out in my old neighborhoods rather than downtown, I get to visit some of the little local spots that are off the beaten path, like Sheng Kee Bakery in the Outer Sunset, Arizmendi in the Inner Sunset, and Boulange de Cole Valley, my favorite place to have coffee and a pastry on the weekends.
Here are some other places I'm hoping to return to, or in some cases try for the first time.
Foreign Cinema Cafe -- oh! My new favorite movie, Man on Wire, will be playing there when I'll be in town!
Old Favorites and Cheap Eats
Boulange Cole Valley
Little Star, Western Addition (it's not NY pizza, but it's something magical all its own)
India Clay Oven
Wing Lee dim sum
Sheng Kee Bakery
Little Vietnam Cafe
Kara's Cupcakes (hands down: best cupcake of my life, and I didn't want to like it so much because the place is very chi-chi, but hot damn, it's good)
Dottie's True Blue Cafe
Boxed Foods Company, for lunch not far from the office
Haven't Been Yet and Might Go
Fleur de Lys
Gary Danko, I'd love to do the tasting menu