**Guest Post by our Social Media prize winner Pearl Dworkin, local author of beauty blog Glamologie.
Thanks to winning Union Square SF’s Love & Heartbreak Valentine’s Day contest, my fiancé and I had a busy and fun-filled weekend in Union Square. There is no shortage of things to do especially if you like to shop, eat and drink (and who doesn’t?). It was so fun to be a carefree tourist for a day!
We started things off by checking into the historic Westin St Francis and taking the glass elevator up to the 26th floor. It felt like an amusement park ride with one of the best views in the city. We also had an amazing view from our room, which I really didn't want to leave, but we had so much to do so we had to get moving! We stopped to take an obligatory touristy photo in front of one of the hearts in Union Square Park and were finally on our way.
The Westin’s General Manager Mohamed personally took us under his wing for a wonderful tour of the historic hotel. There is a very famous and old antique clock at the St. Francis with photos of old Hollywood icons, including a very young Shirley Temple. Back in the day, "meet me at the clock" was a common phrase, and the hotel itself is one of the few SF buildings that survived the great 1906 Quake. It is rumored that the 13th Floor is haunted, with no hotel rooms on that floor, only administrative offices. Also, the bottom floor was once a Speakeasy in the days of Prohibition - boy if those walls could talk! It's all closed up now except for a few secret doors hidden in the walls leading down, adding an air of mystery. The history of the hotel is truly palpable with little kiosks of memorabilia and artifacts all over the lobby like a museum. It's like a glamorous peek into old San Francisco, just exploring all of these little vignettes. In fact, they’re in the process of printing a coffee table book with old photos that will be given to all guests, complimentary! The other aspect of the hotel that I appreciated was that everyone who works there greets you and is genuinely friendly. It's a big hotel with a super friendly small town guest-centric feel, from check-in, to the shops and restaurants it houses. And then, there’s the surrounding neighborhood!
After our tour, we headed over to Tout Sweet - my favorite place to get my glucose on for shopping fuel. The French Macaroons have to be admired if only for how gorgeous they are, looking like little colorful orbs of edible art that you will want to savor, with flavors like cherry bourbon and peanut butter and jelly. These would make the perfect accompaniment to a Champagne brunch, or as a special gift! My fiancé also had a Guittard chocolate cookie that was the best chocolate chip cookie I've ever tasted.
Once fueled by sugar, we had to do some shopping and made the rounds, including Macy’s, the Ferrari Store, and a consignment store that donates a portion to charity, where I scored a brand new apricot colored Tadashi dress for a quarter of the original price!
I'm a tea drinker so I frequent David's Teas. We strolled over to the Westfield SF Centre for a taste and I had a tea called Midsummer Night's Dream that smelled divine. I have to say that David's has the most unique and wide variety of teas I've ever seen, and I'm pretty much a tea hoarding fanatic with a whole cabinet of tea! If you have any ailment, "there is a tea for that" is my motto! I especially love and recommend red tea, aka rooibos tea. The helpful and patient staff, aka "Tea-Ristas", will hook you up with sample drinks, make recommendations and let you sniff all the teas you like. David’s Tea sells cups of tea as well as in bulk containers.
We worked up quite an appetite with all that shopping, so we headed to the Burritt Room for dinner. This sleek restaurant is tucked away upstairs at the cutest boutique hotel called the Mystic Hotel. The wine chandelier on the stairs leading up to the Burritt Room is gorgeous and sets the mood for the quant space. We started with some artisan cocktails in honor of tax season, and I had a "Tax Man", while Rob had a "March Madness", which were both well-balanced and stress-relieving. They have a fun list of drinks with fresh mottled fruits and a busy bar scene. We had a relaxing, private dinner in a velvet curtain-enclosed room. Note: they do not skimp on portions here. I loved the Parmesan Cheese Risotto, a buttery, garlicky and cheesy risotto, prepared to perfection, while Rob had a huge and delicious pork chop! We were both well-satisfied with our choices.
I'm hoping to plan another day in Union Square soon! You simply can't do everything in one or two days. I also want to go to the elegant Eno Wine Bar with some girlfriends and go to a play at the San Francisco Playhouse. We didn't get a chance to ride a cable car, and although I've done this several times over the years, there's something about them that harkens back to another era and truly makes me feel like I'm just taking it all in and enjoying the journey!
So now, readers, I throw it back to you and the comments section. What are some of your favorite things to do in Union Square? Comment away.