A Bike Ride across the Golden Gate Bridge
First of all, she suggested a great liquid concoction to get us started: hot cider enhanced with Grand Marnier, Amaretto and Frangelico with a dollop of whipped cream. I don’t usually drink much alcohol, but this drink was heavenly. I can see how one could ingest several glasses of this tasty temptation. We enjoyed a beautiful view through the panorama windows across San Francisco Bay. The views in this city are truly spectacular.
Mia Herriman and Mario, the Maitre d’
Of course a bike ride across the Golden Gate Bridge makes you extremely hungry, so we set off on our culinary adventure. I savoured my Heart of Palms Salad, garnished with Serrano ham, Marcona Almonds, living watercress and a sherry vinaigrette and followed it up with Fire Roasted Pepper Aioli Red Crab and Shrimp Cakes. My travel partner Leslie started with a traditional Clam Chowder, and then enjoyed Tilapia with Roasted Pepper and Cajun Cream Sauce. This delicious meal was the perfect highlight of an action-packed day.
My Heart of Palms Salad
Mia provided us with further information about this restaurant that can seat more than 300 people. She explained that this restaurant is part of an Oregon-based chain of 80 seafood restaurants that are now located all across the United States. Mia herself hails from Sweden and we had a good chat about the renowned San Francisco lifestyle. She added that she enjoys the liberal mindset of San Francisco and the cultural differences that coexist peacefully in this tolerant city. She had come to the United States many years ago as a nanny and become successful in the restaurant industry. She added that McCormick and Kuletos values female managers as evidenced by the fact that several of the executive chefs are female.
Mouth-watering crab cakes
We found out that the restaurant is housed in a building that was part of the former Ghirardelli chocolate factory and dates back to the 1850s. Apparently the building has its own ghosts and her executive chef has met some of them. (I am sure the ghost sightings have nothing to do with a certain hot cider drink….) The entire square is said to be haunted.
McCormick & Kuletos
Mia also took me on a tour through the entire facility. The restaurant is very spacious and the entire north side features huge panorama windows. The view includes the northern tip of the Golden Gate Bridge, the town of Sausalito and, straight in front, Alcatraz. Unfortunately it was already dark when we arrived, but the view from these windows must be stunning during the day time.
Every seat is a window seat
The décor of the restaurant is reminiscent of an ocean liner, and curved wooden railings surround an elevated deck-like structure. Mia explained that the restaurant has several levels and each level has a great view out of the huge picture windows. She added that every seat in this restaurant is a window seat. On the east side of the building you actually see the Hyde and Powell Cable Car Turnaround, a location that apparently about 70% of tourists in San Francisco will visit at some point during their trip.
And a fabulous apple pie for dessert
I also had a chance to meet some of her coworkers who have been at McCormick & Kuleto’s for more than 15 years. Karl, the bartender, and Mario, the maitre d’, have both been here for a long time and are well known among hotel concierges in San Francisco. The entire crew including our waiter Geoff (who we kept calling “Gee-off”) was bantering with us and they seemed to have a really good time working here.
The bartenders at McKormick and Kuletos
After a light-hearted evening and an action-packed day we started strolling out into the night to catch the bus back to our Victorian abode, the Queen Anne Hotel, to rest up for another day of discoveries that would include a walking tour of Pacific Heights to explore some of the amazing architectural heritage San Francisco has to offer.