Cadillac Bar and Grill, Market Square, 44 9th St, San Francisco, California, USA

I had not long arrived in San Francisco with friends when we realised we did not know of a good local restaurant to go to for dinner. So, did we google it? No, we are old school, so we asked for a recommendation from our hotel reception. It was a good one. We were recommended to the Mexican restaurant, the Cadillac Bar and Grill, Market Square, 44 9th St, San Francisco, California, USA.

cadillac outside

We arrived a bit early for dinner so atarted the evening with margaritas for the ladies and beers for the guys. We had taco chips and salsa and ordered guacamole too. Lovely!

cadillac inside

Access to the restaurant is easy for those with disabilities, although some of the tables may be too close together to get a wheelchair past. The restrooms were clean and the service was good, although the waiter did pressure us to order dinner earlier than we wanted to. We resisted the pressure.

cadillac waiter in

 

The restaurant filled up quickly so we decided to eat there and were pleased that we did. I had a vegetarian burrito. My husband had a combination platter while our friends shared a sea food sharing platter.

cadillac musicians in

The meal was delicious and very filling. Only my husband made it to desert for a chocolate brownie. We thoroughly enjoyed our meal and the atmosphere of the Cadillac Bar and Grill which included music  minstrels. I recommend it and will certainly be back.

The History

The San Francisco Cadillac Bar Restaurant is a legendary establishment. Its beginnings can be traced back to the original Mexican Cadillac Bar which opened in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico in 1926. Back in the early 80’s, several partners decided to bring this concept to San Francisco where they went to work and converted a warehouse into a restaurant in the South of Market neighborhood.  When they opened the doors in 1982, the partners made sure the restaurant had an authentic Mexican look including many features from the original Cadillac Bar such as the red painted ceilings, the high back bar, white linens on tables, and waiters and bartenders in white coats and bow ties. All these special touches were meant to make you feel like you were south of the border.  The partners ensured that the menu was authentic and house margaritas were always hand shaken. San Franciscans took notice and voted the Cadillac the best Mexican food restaurant in the city for many years. Unfortunately, in 1999 the restaurant was forced to close due to the expansion of the Moscone Convention Center. However, in 2012, one of the original founding partners decided to revive the Cadillac Bar and Grill in San Francisco with the goal of recreating that authentic Mexican restaurant with the same feel and look of its famous predecessor. 

Val Penny

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Seamill House Hotel, 31 Ardrossan Rd, West Kilbride, Ayrshire, Scotland

My husband and I have enjoyed afternoon tea and dinner at the Seamill House Hotel, 31 Ardrossan Rd, West Kilbride, Ayrshire, Scotland and members of our family have stayed at the hotel. This Hotel offers award winning luxury accommodation at its finest. The coastal location of Seamill now boasts one of Ayrshire’s newest boutique hotels. It is certainly a favourite haunt of ours.

Seamill house hotel

The afternoon tea was a social event for our book group. We were accomodated in a large, bright, private room on the ground floor of the hotel which suited our group well. Orders were taken for tea and coffee, but only teapots were left on the table which meant the the coffee drinkers had to ask for additional refreshments. I also noticed that water was only brought to the table upon request and the number of jugs was minimal for a group of 20 people. The jugs had to be refilled several times.

The meal was traditional consisting of a variety of sandwiches, scones with jam and butter or cream and cakes. The sandwiches were fresh and very tasty and the scones were delicious. While the cakes were lovely, I think they were the smallest cakes I have ever seen!

views

The quality of service was mixed. Most of the staff were delightful and attentive but one young waitress seemed to think it was her place to comment diparagingly about the number of vegetarians in our party (3). I did not appreciate that.

All in all, as value for money goes, this was good and, provided the young waitress got the additional training she needed, I would return for afternoon tea to the Seamill House Hotel.

diningroom

When we were hosting friends to dinner, we chose to go to the Seamill House Hotel. There is free parking to the rear of the building and although the restaurant is upstairs, there is a lift for those with mobility issues.

We were seated at a table near the window. Ice water was brought to the table and the service was excellent. I chose the mushroom burger and my husband had the fish and chips. The fish was fresh and flaky and the mushroom burger surprisingly delicious. For desert I chose a chocolate brownie and my husband had the sticky toffee pudding. Both were excellent. I would certainly recommend the Seamill House Hotel as a dinner venue.

.rooms

When our family stayed in the hotel, they were delighted by the quality of the rooms, and the lovely views. The hotel was busy as there was a party in the simulated golf room and the bar was busy but our group slept well. They all enjoyed the breakfast which was included in the price and I would certainly recommend a stay in the Seamill House Hotel.

Val Penny

 

Bei Hotel 50 8th St, San Francisco, California 94103, USA

bei hotel outOn a recent visit to SanFrancisco I booked to stay in the Bei Hotel at 50 8th Street, San Francisco, California, at the time of my visit there was a lot of work going on to the b uilding and I would not have booked it had I known, however, the work did not detract greatly from the enjoyment of my stay as it was carried out during the day when I was not there. The hotel will be immensely smart when the work is finished.bei hotel in

Bei Hotel is at 8th Street between Market and Mission is in a central part of the city (and near the terminal for cable cars) but there are many homeless people and drug addicts who congress around there. Going out and about alone can be unnerving.bei hotel pool

Having said that the hotel is extremely comfortable. The rooms are minimalist but spacious and comfortable. The beds are extremely comfortable. There is a pool on the roof, which I did not use. The restaurant serves breakfast, but compared to the local diners and coffee shops that is an expensive choice. The evening meals offered are varied and interesting but there are many bars and restaurants that provide interesting choices. (If you are eating out on a Saturday evening – book in advance!)bei hotel room.jpg

The staff at Bei Hotel are extremely helpful and courteous. Access for those with mobility issues is easy. I enjoyed my stay at Bei Hotel and would stay there again. It is an excellent base for visitng the fascinating city that is San Francisco.

bei hotel bathroom

Val Penny

The Garrison Public House, 99-101 Bermondsey St, London, England

I visited London recently to take part in the Festival of Learning at Eltham Library, Greenwich. In the evening one of my daughters and her partner met up with me and we had dinner at The Garrison Public House, 99-101 99 Bermondsey St, London, England. The establishment is conveniently situated for those travelling into the city through London Bridge Station.

The Garrison Public House

The focus of this chic little restaurant is on fresh British produce with the chefs changing menus frequently to highlight the best seasonal offering, sourced from local Bermondsey suppliers, and predominately from British farms and fishermen. The pride in their food is justified. My daughter and I both chose the spinach and riccotta cheese ravioli and shared a side order of broccolli and asparagus. Her partner went with the viener schnitzel with a side order of fries. As it was a school night, we all chose soft drinks. Our server came back to ask if we wanted other drinks more often than I felt was necessary, and that was a bit intrusive.

the garrison inside

However, the food was delicious and the quantities sufficient for an evening meal. We shared the cheese board afterwards and my daughter had a mint tea while I chose the earl grey tea. The selection of British cheeses was tasty, but the serving of crackers was rather mean.

the garrison foodThe meal I had at The Garrison Public House was very tasty, the service let the restaurant down a little, and the lay-out is not perfect for those with mobility issues. Despite that, I would visit there again and do recommend it.

Val Penny

Sam’s Diner, 1220 Market Street, San Francisco, California,

On a recent visit to California, My husband, my friends and I were staying in a central hotel on Eighth Street. On a couple of occassions we stopped into Sam’s Diner on Market Street, for breakfast. Sam's Diner out

Sam’s Diner was recommended to us by the recption at our hotel and it was a good call. The menu is varied and offers breakfast dishes from fruit or oatmeal to eggs benedict . On our first visit we were seated in the boothe commorating the service of a former Mayor of the city and there s a large TV on the wall to watch the news. It was really rather nice.

Sam's Diner tv

The entrance to the diner is easy for those with mobility problems, but most of the seats were at booths or high seats at the counter so I am not sure that wheelchair access is realistic.

Service was courteous and our orders were taken quickly. I had a spinach and cheese omelette while my husband had a full breakfast of eggs, sausage, bacon and potatoes. One of our friends had eggs benedict while the other had a scambled eggs with vegetables through it. We all enjoyed our meals, although I could not finish mine, it was just too much food. The friend who had the eggs benedict would have preferred more hollandaise sauce. Sam's Diner booth

One thing that we all agreed on was that the blend of coffee served at Sam’s Diner was a very strong blend and not entirely to our taste. This was so much so that on our second visit, I took tea instead.Sam's diner in

Sam’s Diner was a great find during our visit to San Francisco and I would certainly recommend it, especially if you like very strong coffee.

Val Penny

City Centre Bath Street Suite 2/6, 289 Bath Street, Glasgow, Scotland, UK.

My husband and I had booked theatre tickets in Glasgow. We live a train journey away and so we booked an apartment at City Centre Bath Street in Glasgoe for the one night. The cost was half of that for a reasonable hotel in the city centre. We had not realised that the building was quite so far from Central Station or we would probably have taken a cab rather tha walked. However, it was directly across the road from the King’s Theatre, so getiing back after the show was very quick.

The apartment was clean, with the exception of a glob of chewimg gum stuck to the waste bin. My feeling was, if that had been overlooked, what else had? So I washed cups and glasses before we used them. There was also a small rug over the vinyl leading into the kitchen area. The floor under this required repair.

City centre kitchen 2

The accomodation comprised a hall, livingroom/kitchen, double bedroom and bathroom. The apartment was only booked for the two of us, but the sofas in the livingroom had been made up into beds, although there was a double bedroom. Clean towels, hand towels and bath towels were out for each of the possible guests and there was a little tray of teas, coffees milks and sugars. The bathroom was clean and bright. The kitchen was well appointed but the surfaces were so clear, it was obvious this was not a home.

In the bedroom, unfortunately, the bulbs in one of the bedside lights did not have a bulb in it and the bed was a tight double bed. However, the bedding was clean and the bed was comfortable. city centre bedroom

There were dvds and books on the wndow sill near the television set. My guess is those had been left by previous occupants, but it was a nice gesture and we would probably have watched a couple of the movies if we had been there for longer.

We were not sure where the King’s Theatre was in relation to the apartment block, but when my husband looked out of the window, there it was! We went out for dinner and had breakfast in Central station before we got the train home. Even the show we went to see was excellent. City centre bed 2 living area.jpg

Despite my reservations, I would use this apartment again if I were going to a show at The Kings Theatre, because it is so conveniently situated.

Val Penny

 

DiCicco’s 6701 Tower Rd, Denver, Colorado, USA

DiCicco's foodMy husband and I had just arrived back in Denver. It is always good to be back in the mile high city. We were met at the airport by three close friends and there was no time like the present to go out to dinner and have a good old catch-up.

Our friends are local and they decided on DiCicco’s Italian Resturant near Denver International Airport. What a good choice! DiCicco’s has been Family owned and operated since 1956. They serve classic and contemporary Italian dishes of which many are handed down from generation to generation within the family.

DiCicco’s has traditionally decorated murals around the walls and a large screen showing scenes while relaxing music plays in the background. The serving staff are polite and attentive. If anything, slightly too attentive: two of the waiters had an argument in front of us about who was going to be our server. I did think that could have been better handled in private.Dicicco's inside 5

However, the food we ordered was excellent. The salads were fresh and the mains tasty and satisfying. We chose not to have alcohol: we were jet lagged and our friends were driving but we did check out the wine list and DiCicco’s seems to keep a good cellar. I had a vegetarian pasta as did one of our friends. My husband and another of our friends had a combination dish of spaghetti and meatballs, canneloni and ravioli and the last member of the group tucked into an egg plant (aubergine) parmasan. Dicicco's food 2

Unfortunately none of us had room for a dessert because the cakes and puddings sounded fabulous. I was surprised that the bill was acceptably modest at just over $20.00 a head. DiCicco’s has easy access for those with mobility issues. I highly recommed this restaurant and will certainly visit here again.

Val Penny