We crossed the Golden Gate bridge into downtown San Francisco just after dusk, ready to take the city by storm. It was Sunday night over Labor Day weekend, and the city felt sleepy. The moon was dark and the streets empty, and every other restaurant had their lights off and the door closed.
Not that this stopped us from diving into the San Francisco food scene head first. First things first, we went out for dinner and drinks. After a week eating dust in Black Rock City, we were in heaven. And thus began 10 days of culinary adventure that rivals anything Anthony Bourdain could put together
We covered the entire spectrum of dining possibilities, from gastro pub to sushi counter to beer garden, home smoked ribs to Chinese hot pot to pizza, savory brunch to delectable pastries and liquid nitrogen cooled ice cream. I feel heavier just remembering it
Thankfully we have the best friends on the planet, which made each meal that much more enjoyable and memorable.
Between meals, we managed to entertain ourselves exploring the city. We’ve both been to the Bay Area numerous times in the past, so this was an opportunity to branch out to new (to us) neighborhoods and city highlights.
San Francisco is such a beautifully diverse city, with incredible architecture. We spent an afternoon in the Mission District and felt like we were truly back in Mexico. Then we stopped at Tartine for a light Parisian snack, before heading to The Haight for a flashback to the Summer of Love.
Around any corner you can find incredible homes, elaborately pained like giant wedding cakes. We found ourselves day dreaming about living in one of these beautiful throwbacks to the Victorian era
Along the way, we came across one of the best advertisements I’ve ever seen, at a bus stop of all places
Not wanting to totally escape commercialism, we also wandered through the Embarcadero and the Financial District on our way to Chinatown. You can’t go to San Francisco without going to Chinatown. That would be like going to New York and not seeing the Empire State Building or going to Paris and skipping the Eiffel Tower. The egg tarts at Golden Gate Bakery are worth the trip, and a foot massage took us back to our time living in Taiwan
Having come nowhere near exhausting the possibilities in downtown, we had run out of time and had to go meet up with friends out in the Bay Area. We spent the next several nights hopping between Mountain View, San Jose, and Cupertino, catching up with friends over wine and a view
With one day left to us, we took the train back to the city for a tour of Alcatraz. I’ve wanted to go ever since I first watched the classic Mike Myer’s film, So I Married an Axe Murderer. Based on the performance of Phil Hartman alone, it deserves more than the 6.2 stars it has on IMDB.
The tour was fascinating, a combination of history and the politics of incarceration, with a bit of jailbreak drama thrown in for good measure.
Luck was on our side, as a heat of the America’s Cup was on. I believe tickets start around $125 a person, but we had a great view from the top of Alcatraz Island.
Special thanks to Lauren, Richelle, Justin and Emily, Lucy and Sean, Paul and Marion, Curtis and Amy, and Dave and Mary Ann. We had a great time in San Francisco.
Ticket to Alcatraz: $30 each
Caltrain to Mountain View: $7 each
Bus anywhere in town: $2
Snacks at Tartine: $14
Liquid Nitrogen cooled Ice Cream at Smitten: $9.25 for two
1-hour Foot Massage in Chinatown: $45
Egg Tarts to Share: $9.83
Great friends: Priceless