We're No. 1

SF is Travel & Leisure's favorite city, Destino, Teatro ZinZanni

They Love Me, They Love Me Not ...
The September issue of Travel & Leisure features the magazine's World's Best Awards. When readers were asked to name their favorite cities, San Francisco came from behind to take No. 1 overall. New York pulled into the No. 2 spot, while London landed No. 3 -- both for the first time. T&L noted our red-hot restaurant scene and booming economy and singled out the Ritz-Carlton, the Mandarin Oriental, and the W as top hotels; OK, I guess these work. Ana Mandara in Ghirardelli Square was picked as a Table of Choice. Somehow, in my mind, this is up for a huge debate -- but hey, let's keep those happy travelers out of the seats at our local favorites. The Night Out section listed the Mission's Lone Palm. This great little neighborhood drinking spot is a lot of fun, I agree. But next time you're sitting at the bar and someone wearing a name badge comes up and asks you to take a picture of him and his friends, you'll know why.

Destiny's Child
Now that what seems to be our warm weather has finally arrived, take a walk down to Destino at 1815 Market St. You can't miss the 9-foot Colonial-style front door, which opens to a world of Nuevo Latino cuisine and an atmosphere of sensual colors, furnishings, and music. This lively cafe is the inspiration of owner James Schenk, a former manager at Zuni, along with chef Ricardo Cabrera. Since the place opened in late May, Harry has been enjoying items like cebiche a la peruana (lime-infused sea bass, red onion, and aji amarillo), pastel de choclo (beef, chicken, and onion casserole), and aji de gallina (shredded chicken in cream and aji panca sauce). The dessert, after-dinner drink, and wine lists are all very well thought out for this location. But don't all go running through the door at the same time -- this is one of those spaces that need to be savored with friends. Take the time -- it's worth it.

Step Right Up, Folks
Have you driven down the Embarcadero and wondered about the white tent at Pier 27/29? Or are you so busy driving, talking on the phone, and not paying attention in general that you just don't wonder about your surroundings? If so, just forget it. But for the rest of my faithful readers (all two of you), if you recall Harry's mention of Teatro ZinZanni, and have taken in the theatrical production under the antique spiegeltent, it's time for you to return once again. The menu has been redesigned for summer, but the real highlight is the addition of Ann Wilson as the Chanteuse. (Think "Dreamboat Annie" and it all comes rushing back.) Her voice is still spectacular, and the blend of European cabaret, original music, comedy, and theatrical antics, all intertwined with a gourmet dinner and world-class wine list -- well, Harry once again gives it two forks up.

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