Monday, July 24, 2006

Strolling through San Francisco

On our first night in San Francisco, we set out for dinner and drinks to celebrate the big news. Following the recommendation of Kristin’s father, we took a cab from the Hotel Carlton to Prego, an Italian restaurant known for its fresh pasta. But alas, we stepped out to learn there was nobody home. The shop was closed.

It wasn’t a wasted trip, though. Instead, we followed Kristin’s dad’s second recommendation, and walked a couple doors down to a hot hot hot little Asian fusion restaurant called Betelnut. The food was exciting, the bar was alive and the place was packed. Even the starting helping of edamame was a treat, redolent with chopped garlic and perhaps even a slight hint of cinnamon.

After Betelnut, we walked a few doors down to Perry’s, another bar recommended by Kristin’s father. By the time we were finished with our tawny port and muscato and a wonderful ginger cake, we had to take our sunburned, aching bodies back to the hotel to crash out.

Yesterday, we woke up and set out on foot for … YAY … more giant hills!!! We headed straight for Fisherman’s Wharf, where we got our first real taste of how randomness rules in San Francisco.

We turned a corner to get into the market, and all the fish markets were nearby. As we walked past a trash can, a bush – yes, a real live bush – jumped out, and began moving out toward us.

“Aaaahhhhh!!!!” the bush said.

We turned around as the bush, which was actually a man-in-a-bush, moved back behind the trash can, laughing at us.

“I got you! Ha, ha, ha! I got you!” he cried out.

Random. Good times.

We tried to ride out to Alcatraz, but the ferry was booked through Tuesday. (Note to selves: Next time, make reservations.) We hopped a cable car down to the Ferry Building, where we ate a quick lunch at the San Francisco Fish Co., a little fish shop. We shared fried halibut cheeks and a soft-shell crab po-boy that was worth mentioning. We bought a bag of dried morels from Far West Funghi, and we’re planning on cooking something interesting with them when we get back. We also tasted their truffle salt. Yum!

We also stopped off at a little chocolate shop that featured some unusual flavors. Both of us had the Fleur de Sel chocolate, a salty caramel that’s is their top seller. Kristin also had one filled with star anise and pink peppercorn, and Christian had a hazelnut chocolate. Yum!

Kristin also walked through her version of wonderland, The Cowgirl Creamery.

We got on another cable car and rode down to the Castro, which includes an intersection they proudly proclaim to be the “gayest four corners” in the world. We stopped in for Cokes at Twin Peaks, which our guide book tells us was one of the first openly gay bars that wasn’t hidden away in a dark, windowless space. Indeed not – it was on a main corner with huge windows looking out at the neighborhood, including the massive rainbow flag flying in a park a few blocks back.

Walking out of the Castro, we ran across a couple of little kids running a lemonade stand. Since it has been something of a heat wave in California, we were grateful for the drink. It was actually the best homemade lemonade either of us had ever tasted. Danielle, the little girl, informed us that the lemons had come out of her grandmother’s garden. Seriously homemade lemonade!

Then we headed up to the Haight district, Mecca for the reformed Deadhead among us. (Hint: It’s not Kristin.) We wandered around – look at all the hippies! – and dropped into a bunch of thrift stores before heading back down toward the hotel.

Walking along past Buena Vista Park, we encountered the duck boys. JT and Jason are a couple of Rutgers students on a massive summer road trip around the country. They had been to Chinatown earlier in the day, and were charmed by a little duckling. Not wanting him to wind up dressed in hoisin sauce and wrapped in a pancake, they bought him and named him Gulliver. He proved to be quite popular – there was a small crowd standing around them when we approached. We aren’t sure how well he’ll take to the car, but the guys said they’re on their way to Michigan for a family reunion at a lake, where they’ll release him into the wild. Good luck, little duckie.

There was more, so much more, but we must pack up and get out of this hotel and on down the road. We’ll update again when we can, although we may not have Internet again until L.A. on Wednesday.


  • I love the bushman. He's on the travel channel on one of the San Fran specials.

    Don't bother with Alcatraz. I felt it was a waste of time.

    By Blogger Short and Fat, at 10:33 PM, July 24, 2006  

  • SF is one of the limited amount of cities on the planet that has it's own personality recognized globally. You guys seem to have captured and savored that and I'm glad you had a good time. You know the world's highest roller coaster is in your future, right?

    By Anonymous beer goddess, at 11:52 AM, July 25, 2006  

  • Nothing says happy vacation like "sunburned, aching bodies."

    Have a great time.

    By Blogger Chez Bez, at 12:04 PM, July 26, 2006  

  • Ha! Thanks short and fat for the tip on the "bushman," A.K.A. David Johnson. A quick bit of research at Google turned up several interesting articles on the "bushman in the San Francisco Chronicle. And the "bushman" even has his own Wikipedia entry. Check out the photo! Look at the girl on the left.

    By Blogger CK1, at 12:55 PM, July 27, 2006  

Post a Comment

<< Home