Upon sitting down to write about my trip to California – most specifically Napa Wine Country and San Francisco – I realized that I had eaten at far too many restaurants and had drinken/drunk at even more bars than restaurants, and therefore, for reasons of not coming across as gluttonous, I have decided to share only but a day in San Fran. For those interested in a list of the bars, restaurants, and hotspots I hit up during the 6 days and seven nights away from home, you can view my trip created with Gowalla here.
Having been in Napa for 3 days already, the quiet hills, tranquil vineyards, afternoon vino tastings, and piercing sunlight had begun to take their toll on me. I was ready for San Francisco – the “Manhattan of the West Coast”, I was once told by a woman 15 years my senior. It had been many years of not knowing what San Francisco was really like…was Silicon Valley a large valley populated with little geeks, gadgets, and high tech/security buildings? (You have no idea what this picture has looked like to me all these years). Was the golden gate bridge really a fluorescent purple tint – like the photos I had seen taken at nighttime? (the answer is no, it’s a rusty red color) Were there non-heterosexual men walking the streets with their midriffs showing and their hair dyed orange? (The answer to that is yes, possibly).
Upon dropping our bags at the W Hotel, my boyfriend and I took off on foot to venture around the city of San Fran. By venture, I do literally mean venture.
We scoured the entire city and I do believe we would have gotten the award for Best Tourist if it existed. Our first stop was a little coffee shop nestled in the back of a deserted alley. We were soon to find that we had not actually “discovered” this oddly unique coffee hub, but it was actually an S-Bux on-the-way chain!
Blue Bottle Coffee features one size cup and one type of coffee. Sounds strange, but the coffee is surprisingly potent and it is created by their very own “drip” invention.
Quick to not lose any time, we hurried over to a little restaurant called Mocha Cafe that served customers outside in the middle of a now-unfunctional street, under St. Tropez-esque tables (if you know what I mean). It was extremely quaint, yet ridiculously cool, and in order to have lunch you first had to wait in the line that opened up into the street until you were able to enter the tight confines of the restaurant that had obviously been around the block for some time. The Italian servers behind the counter had most definitely clocked their hours there for many years and the prepared food inside of the glass cases looked unbelievably fresh. The bathroom was inside of the kitchen and I awkwardly had to slip behind the man working the register, and stretch high so that I could squeeze by the larger chef. The expense that would be incurred to add a legitimate bathroom much outweighs the issue of awkward customers slipping behind the cashier to access el bano…
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Off to the Ferry Building! Around since 1898, this large steel structure was the focal point for people arriving by train and today it has been renovated to serve as “The People’s” marketplace. This building was truly a dream come true for me – the type of place you could browse the aisles of all day. Small and large restaurants and local artisans come together to offer an array of fresh foods, snacks, and desserts. Instead of choosing heart healthily, I chose wisely…
Stepping onto the street, we proceeded to walk the longest street ever, to Pier 39, where there would be many hoodlum-type festivities going on. Along the way, I stopped to take in the beautiful water view, but then was quickly startled to see an island of live crabs sitting on the sidewalk. There was no one around, it seemed doubtful that 7 large crabs could have climbed the sea wall, risking their lives for fresh air on the sidewalk.
Just as I was about to throw them back in, a young man came running from out of nowhere with a large net screaming “better not touch those unless you got $2 per crab miss!” Being an animal lover, I actually contemplated the cost, but then he went on to tell me how it was illegal for him to catch them and he would probably sell them on the black market to local restaurants so that he could afford his rent this month…hmmm…to top the cherry on the cupcake, he then took a seat on the bench and pulled out a “doobie” – yes, a marijuana-rolled blunt – and smoked it with no care in the world. I only realized a few days ago that it is legal in San Francisco to have a “medical condition” requiring marijuana inhalation. Note: there is no pic of the young fellow smoking a joint – Sorry, couldn’t risk it!
Upon arriving at Pier 39, I quickly made up my mind that it was just too rowdy for me and after my scrumptalicious El Porteno cookie, I had absolutely no desire for cotton candy, oversized lollipops, brown sugar covered peanuts, or root beer floats…no. I was ready to see Ghiradelli Square – an attraction that came highly recommended from fellow twitter friend and personal wardrobe stylist, Beeta Hashempour (check out her blog: www.MissSophisticate.com). I hopped the trolley, got off to see Crooked Street, and then somehow landed smack in the middle of Ghiradelli Square (sort of).
Ghirardelli marked the last attraction that I would do on foot. Completely worn out, yet proud of my tourist accomplishments, we hopped a taxi and headed back to the W for a quick outfit change. After an ice bar and lemon-twisted martini, we headed out to the hippest taco restaurant I’ve ever been to – believe me, when it comes to tacos you can take my advice. My boyfriend has a Mexican cook and a family who craves tacos everyday for every meal. I do not like tacos, but I am forced into it by relationship status.
That aside, Tacolicious had a very long wait – as I said, it was the “hippest taco restaurant” – and so while we waited for a spot at the bar, we crammed in a dark wood-wall corner and proceeded to drink a large a** mug of Michelada. This is a drink you should ALWAYS have at a Mexican restaurant. Mexican beer of your choice (I chose Tecate) mixed with a spicy red concoction consisting of Worcestershire Sauce, Tabasco, black and red pepper, spices, soy sauce, lemon, WOW! By the time I finished this large mug we were seated and proceeded to order the entire menu. Note to self – And I have to Remember This – Do not allow your eyes to be larger than your stomach! We ordered an 8 taco platter with various assortments of shredded beef, zucchinis, and carne asada. We also had a full head-size bowl of guacomole and tortilla chips, ensalada…shots of Te-Kill-Ya, Sangria…A recipe for DISASTER!
Fortunately, the following day was marked by pure relaxation and sunshine in Sausalito – a short drive across the Golden Gate Bridge.