NFT Travel Guides: Laughter & Good Eats in San Francisco

Ed Forteau's picture

One of our travel guides partners, Not For Tourists, has several unique offerings for travelers on their website this week. Check out the following highlights from their San Francisco correspondents this week...  



Wine, Bling, and Funghi By:  Jennifer Anthony

Firenze by Night

I love the hustle and bustle of Columbus Street more than most, but sometimes everyone needs to venture into North Beach's cement tributaries. Firenze by Night is the sort of modest establishment that somehow assures you within moments of stepping inside that your stomach is going to leave happy. First stop, the bar with a bartender who was heavy with knowledge and light on pressure when my friends and I were perhaps not inclined to drink the most expensive wine. Next stop, the table, for bruschetta, Ravioli della Mamma (pasta stuffed with spinach and ricotta in a meat sauce), Pollo con funghi (roasted chicken with mushrooms, garlic, rosemary, and white wine), and a bit more wine. I don't remember the decor (although people make mention of a mural of the restaurant's namesake), but was captivated by our waiter's shiny bling. And before you blame that on the wine, I do indeed remember the reasonable prices, the tasty food, the conversation, and the experience. Which of course is the mark of a true Italian restaurant.




Welcome Addition By:  Valerie Ng


If there's one complaint I have about SOMA, it's that the Mission isn't closer. Without La Taqueria nearby, one has to settle for Chipotle, Andale, or Maya. Not necessarily poor choices, but they just don't provide the taste--or the price--of the Mission. But that was before Tropisueno arrived, tucked between St. Patrick's Church and the Four Seasons Hotel. At first glance, it wouldn’t look like a contender--a little too chic to be producing Mission-style burritos--but my first bite of a pollo asado burrito easily dispelled any doubts. Another place to add to my list, and one that's also classy enough for dinner and drinks after work to boot. Welcome, Tropisueno!

Oasis By:  Valerie Ng

Casa Latina

Living in Berkeley, there are certainly some big-city things we lack. Like a neighborhood panaderia and taqueria, for instance. Don't get me wrong, I generally like the burritos and pastries I can get here. They just don't quite live up to the pollo asado or pan dulce you could get at your typical Mission joint. So after passing by Casa Latina so many times on the bus, I knew I had to give the place some attention. As soon as I walked in, the sight of pan dulce, biscuits, and croissants, not to mention the flan and fresh fruit cups, almost made me do a double-take to make sure I wasn't on Valencia. Then there were the burritos that, while not cheap, are stuffed generously and definitely give you bang for your buck. So if I'm stuck in the East Bay for the weekend and am craving a Mission burrito or taco, I'll stop by again.



Slump Stay By:  Jennifer Anthony

San Remo Hotel

I'm not sure why the word "staycation" irks me, but then I suppose everyone has words that annoy them (the word "moist" also ranks high on my list). There are those whose idea of a holiday means getting the hell out of dodge, and those who don't mind spending a few days of vacation exploring what the local area has to offer. For the latter set, consider The San Remo, a pension-style hotel with heaps of character in North Beach. Guests can choose a room with or without a sink, and baths and showers are a short jaunt down the hall from the bedrooms. Room rates start at $75 a night, plus $4 on weekends. Guests should plan on bringing a book and their cell phones since televisions and in-room telephones are not a feature. For a perfect little getaway, spend the evening at Cobb's Comedy Club (just around the corner), relax those laughing muscles on one of the hotel's massage chairs, and collapse into bed. Perhaps not quite as good as a full-fledged holiday in another country, but pretty damn fun.




Funny Ha Ha By:  Jennifer Anthony

Cobb's Comedy Club

Few activities promote psychological health like a night out at a comedy club. In 2009, Cobb's Comedy Club in North Beach is celebrating its 25th year doing its part to make people happy and mentally fit. In January, Cobb's is also participating in the Eighth Annual SF Sketchfest, a month-long festival held at various venues throughout the City. My friends and I were lucky enough to catch a staged reading of the MTV show The Hills, with such comedic greats as Janeane Garofalo, Rob Huebel, Rob Riggle, Rachael Harris, Mike Phirman, Tom Kenny (the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants), Dannah Feinglass, Danielle Schneider and Robin Shorr. The crowd was fun. The drinks were strong. The performance was zany and funny. After a stressful workweek, the comedic timing and spirit lifting came just in time to lift our spirits. 




Check out their website - they have free downloadable guides, maps, gear, and of course, the travel guide books. Not to mention, they are pretty funny people. I am always laughing when I visit their site, or read their newsletter.

Not For Tourists has offered a coupon for Wandering Educators - please use the coupon code: WE for a 10% discount.


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