Claire McEwen, hopeful romantic.

Eating and Drinking in San Francisco – Inspiration for More Than a Rancher

What happens when a chef with a troubled past meets a quirky ballroom dancer? My new book, More Than a Rancher, which officially releases on September 2nd , will answer this important question!

I am so excited for More Than a Rancher to go out into the world. Although it is part of my series of books set in the fictional Eastern Sierra town of Benson, California, it also has many scenes that take place in my beloved San Francisco. And it explores the wonderful food culture that is so integral to that city.

So just in case you have plans to visit the City by the Bay anytime soon, here are a few bars and restaurants that inspired scenes in my book.

The patio at Blue Plate was the inspiration for the patio at Oliva, the fictional restaurant where my heroine learns some of the details of the hero’s wild past. Blue Plate’s garden is actually a few small patios connected by a path, so it feels like your table is in your own little garden. Their website has a photo of the patio, but to truly experience the magic, dine there at night. Just remember to bring a sweater!

The bustling Andalu, once located on the corner of 16th and Guerrero became, somehow, the interior setting for Oliva. The busy environment is what I pictured every time I entered my fictional restaurant. In real life it was a great place to go for small plates, yummy drinks and a lively atmosphere. But sadly, it’s closed, and there is a Chinese restaurant called Chino in its place now. As my hero well-knows, such is the ephemeral world of restaurants.

Mack’s Place is a fictional Scottish bar in my book, but it’s based on a real San Francisco institution, The Edinburgh Castle They don’t have a website but I included their link on Yelp. If you want a delicious selection of single malt scotch and some perfect fish and chips, head on over to the Edinburgh Castle and enjoy. You won’t find Mack behind the bar, but who knows… you might meet some handsome Scottish men with accents that inspire goose bumps! Sadly, I don’t think that Mull of Kintyre (playing in the background during a scene in my book) is still on their jukebox.

My hero and heroine have a nighttime adventure at Aquatic Park, down by Ghirardelli Square. And afterwards they go for Irish coffee at a bar inspired by The Buena Vista Café, located on the corner of Hyde and Beach Streets, right next to Aquatic Park. The owners boast that the first Irish coffee in America was concocted at the Buena Vista. True or not, it’s the perfect spot to warm up on a foggy San Francisco evening. And if you take the cable car there, as my hero and heroine do, you’ll probably find that an Irish coffee is the perfect thing to take away the chill!

It’s difficult to capture the wonder of a big city like San Francisco, but I hope I’ve done it some justice in More Than a Rancher. If you read it, or visit any of these yummy restaurants and bars, please let me know what you think!

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