#172 - Stacks Restaurant, San Francisco CA

Last week was my Association of Luxury Suite Directors (ALSD) Conference. It goes to a different city each summer, and this year was in San Francisco. The conference sessions began on Monday afternoon, but I flew in on Sunday.  I go the day before for 2 reasons: first, if I arrive on the day of I'm exhausted by 9pm and can barely keep my eyes open. Second, for places I've never been, it gives me the chance to be touristy.  I've only ever been to San Francsico one other time, 20 years ago, for one day for a job interview. So I had a lot to cover.

I'm all about direct flights, and the only one from OKC left at 6AM. No fun at all. However, it got me into town at 8AM so I had the entire day to explore. I stayed at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis, in the heart of downtown. With a 6AM flight I clearly had no time or desire to eat breakfast at 3:30AM, so by the time I got checked into my hotel I was starving.  I had read good things about Stacks Restaurant, so I headed there.

There's 3 locations in California, as well as 2 sister restaurants that are franchised under separate ownership. The restaurant is only open for breakfast and lunch.

Stacks is about 1 1/2 miles from the hotel, in Hays Valley. San Francisco is very much a walking city, so that's what I did. I figured it was a great way to get some exercise both before and after each meal. I had heard that sometimes there's a really long wait to be seated, but thankfully there was only one couple ahead of me.  The restaurant was packed. At first I sat inside, but after a couple minutes I asked if I could move to one of the outdoor tables.

Stacks is on a street corner, and they definitely know how to pack people in.  The tables are really close together, but it's still comfortable at the same time.  The place seats about 100 inside. The seating is a combination of booths and tables. They don't have an outdoor patio. Instead, there are bar height 2-top tables around 2 sides of the building. There are 2 huge flower planters in the center, and then plants hanging from the valances above the windows. At first I thought it was a little much, but the more I looked, it just added some cool character.

The entire state of California is in the midst of a serious drought.  I even saw these signs all over the place, especially at parks

Most of the restaurants have signs saying they will only give water upon request. After that walk in the heat, I needed as much water as I could get.  Thankfully Stacks includes a pitcher of water with the glass upon request.  By the end of my meal I had drunk 2 pitchers.

I did feel bad about moving from inside to outside, and apologized several times to my inside server.  He said it was okay, and really it was, because as I was walking outside, they sat a couple at the table.  My new waiter was a huge foodie like me, and we talked quite a bit about restaurants in the area.  He gave me some good recommendations too. I knew I wouldn't be able to hit many of them on this trip, but I have them for next time.

My original plan was to just get something small to tide me over until lunch.  But everything looked so good that I re-evaluated. Besides, by this time it was about 10AM and pretty much brunch.  

With the help of my server, I decided on the bacon avocado omelet.  It comes with potatoes and a bagel.  I really didn't need all those carbs at once, so I swapped fruit for the bagel. 

Bacon, avocado, jack cheese, sour cream & chives, with salsa on the side
Everything on my plate was amazing.  I'm not even sure where to start.  The potatoes were thicker cut than normal hash browns, and seasoned really well.  I asked the server, and he said it's actually a frozen, pre-seasoned product. Still, they were amazing. The omelet was made with 3-eggs, and I didn't think there was any way I could finish it, but then I couldn't stop eating because it was so good. The avocados in California are a million times better than anywhere else I've had them. There were chunks of bacon in there, which added great contrast in texture to the eggs and creamy avocado.  I never normally do salsa on my omelet, but one bite of this one completely changed my tune.  One of the best salsas I've ever tasted.  It was so fresh and bursting with flavors. I could taste the deep roasted flavor, and my server said they roast the tomatoes and make the salsa daily. They truly need to bottle and sell the stuff. 

As I was eating, the table next to me got a mimosa. And then I remembered that it was Sunday, and it was brunch. And all I was drinking was coffee and water.  I had to fix that ASAP

Love the presentation!  And it was such a refreshing way to finish my meal.  I ate the fruit last, with the rest of the mimosa. The fruit was delicious and extremely fresh. 

As I was leaving, there was a pretty good line of guests waiting to be seated. So I did good by getting there when I did. 

There's millions of restaurants in San Francisco, but this one is certainly on the list for my next visit. And I've been telling everyone I know that they need to come here and try it out.  I also made sure to tell the manager, who was seating guests, how good my server was.