Gastronomic Adventures: Why I Left My Heart in San Francisco


by Lizette Barretto-Gueco, via |

By the Waterfront

I am back in this city where a long time ago, as a young mom with a toddler in tow, I left my heart, just like so many others before me.  Seen for the first time from the eyes of a young and impressionable person just out of school, San Francisco was magical and a place where all my dreams resided.

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The Golden Gate Bridge as seen from Cavallo point Fort Baker
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Traveling on the Golden Gate Bridge

A long time ago, it was enough for me to do the touristy stuff like stroll by the wharf, have an ice cream sundae at Ghirardelli, hop on the cable car, master the Bart, go down the crookedest road and shopping the Esprit warehouse which was at the time, the highlight of my whole trip. This time, I am so ready for level 2 and get to know the city a little bit more intimately and in the eyes of an older, more mature and wiser traveler with a thirst for adventure and a discriminating appetite. L.A. has always been my home outside of the Philippines as most of my family and friends reside there. I know Southern California quite well and now I’m ready to get to know San Fran too.  While I still have energy to burn and some time on my hands, I set out to accomplish this feat. There seems to be so much more reason to leave behind such a vital part of one’s anatomy and I am out to extend my hand and grab what the city and its surrounding towns are very generously offering me; and to understand exactly why my heart so stubbornly wants to stay.

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The View from my balcony

Grasping with both my hands a large cup of freshly made Peet’s coffee, I indulge in my favorite pastime of staring out onto San Francisco bay from the house of my cousin high above a hill, the cold, early morning breeze coming in through the open doors and windows, I see the Bay bridge on one side and Sausalito with all the tiny boats with their sails billowing in the wind, dotting the other side of the horizon. The city skyline vaguely visible through the fog across the bay in the faraway distance looks like a mysterious kingdom from my youngest daughter’s fairy tale book. The only break in the stillness of the scene is the circling of a black hawk (or is that an eagle?) outside my balcony. Surrounded by all this serene beauty, that old familiar feeling of never ever wanting to leave this beautiful city by the bay comes back to me in waves.

Forcing myself to get up from my comfortable perch on the couch by the window and out of my pj’s, I join my sister and cousin and the kids to explore the village below.

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The waterfront
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Main street Tiburon Town

Main Street Tiburon Town

Staying this time in the outskirts of San Francisco, across the Golden Gate Bridge, gives me the chance to travel around and familiarize myself with the surrounding quaint little towns.  Driving through the nearby Tiburon and Belvedere towns and Mill Valley, I watch people walking or biking on a path by the water’s edge with the bay and the mountain and blue skies as a backdrop. The little houses on the way to the town are some of the prettiest I have seen. We park and walk around Tiburon Main street where the shops and restaurants are located.

Finding all sorts of trinkets and overpriced items for sale, my sis Karen and I end up buying something we don’t need. Soon enough our stomachs start to growl and so we choose from among the many interesting restaurants situated by the waterfront to have lunch.

The kids start chanting pizza, pizza, pizza so we opt for the Italian Servino’s Restaurant. Servino’s is one of the better known restaurants in Tiburon frequented by locals as well as tourists alike and rated a conservative 3 ½ stars on Yelp. (I would personally give it a 4 ½ stars) Using only the best of local produce while leaving the smallest of imprints on the environment, their farm to fork approach to dining, entice both foodies and environmentalists to come in and enjoy the food and ambience.  They even have an extensive gluten-free menu to boot.

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Servino’s Restaurant Tiburon

Seated outside at the patio where we are right by the waterfront, we watch as people from all walks of life line up to get on the ferry to Pier 41 on the other side of the bay.

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It is cool and pleasant sitting outside under the shade of a large umbrella while our very gracious server enumerates all the specials of the day. The Burrata and Prosciutto appetizer, Beet salad, beautiful mushroom pizza, highly recommended by our server and another all cheese margherita pizza for the kids, the freshly made pasta and the sausage and poached eggs on a bed of summer broccolini, we finally choose with difficulty (because everything sounds so wonderful). Our orders are exceptionally delicious and we savor the flavors while we take in the view of the bay and Angel island in the distance and the city enshrouded in fog even further away. I have a feeling that we will be coming back here for part 2 really soon to try the other specials.  My niece Tiffany starts to feed the pigeons with leftover pizza and soon a whole flock of birds are upon us.  The server tells us that it is not allowed to feed the birds as they sometimes bring in germs and disease like rodents. Oh well, we’ll just leave the bird feeding for another time and place, maybe in a piazza in Roma on our next adventure.

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After our hunger had been assuaged and satisfied for the time being, we grab some gelato to go and walk about the town a bit more to burn off all that food, build up our appetite and get ourselves ready to meet some friends and party at Off the Grid at Fort Mason for dinner.

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Yay! Food trucks! Been looking forward to this and asked my foodie brother Angelo, a San Francisco local, to meet us there so he could guide us through the food truck phenomenon. Never thought my baby brother would come in handy someday.            `

Watch out for part 2 of my San Francisco Adventure and Gastronomic Chronicles. Food Truck Party @ the Grid.


About the Author

Lizette Barretto-Gueco
Lizette Barretto-Gueco

Lizette Barretto Gueco is a regular columnist at  She writes about her life’s passions which are family, home, food, relationships and how they fit in perfectly in her scheme of things and in the circle of life.

Lizette is now a busy home based mom after working in marketing and the travel industry for some time. She also ventured into jewelry design while she was a partner at a prestigious jewelry store at Greenbelt 5. Aside from juggling family schedules and managing the home, she also finds time to bake and sell her sweet offerings from her home as well as indulge in her other hobbies like jewelry making and arts and crafts.  She is an amateur filmmaker, traveler, foodie, dreamer and lover of life.

Lizette is a graduate of AB Communication arts from the Ateneo de Manila University.  You can email her at