Friday, November 15, 2019

San Francisco Part 2

I forgot to mention an important part of our Friday night after we ate supper - we went back to Target to buy the things we put aside in the morning, and we also went to Nordstrom Rack.  It's a good thing I didn't have a big suitcase, or I would have bought way more stuff at Target.  

Anyway, onto part 2 of my trip.  See Part 1 here

On Saturday morning we had planned to go back to Mr. Holmes' Bakehouse but it wasn't open yet, so instead we went back to Jane and got fancy toasts and coffee. 


And then we went to do something that I don't usually do, get a blow out!  We went to Dry Bar to have our hair washed and dried and slightly styled.  It was such a treat!  And then I didn't need to wash my hair for the rest of the trip ;)



Then we walked down to the Farmer's Market at the Ferry Terminal and stopped by the famous gates into Chinatown.

Cindy had heard about this food truck, Roti Roti, and we figured out it would be at the farmer's market on Saturday so we went out in search of it.  They had porchetta sandwiches and a chicken and potatoes plate.  Cindy had the sandwich and I had the chicken and we shared them.  All of it was absolutely delicious, and the best was the salt they put on the potatoes.  Luckily I actually found it at one of the other booths so I got a bottle to take home - applewood smoked kosher salt *chef's kiss*.

Check out how the meat drippings fall onto the potatoes below.



Another booth was selling oysters by the pair so I got a couple.



And we couldn't resist these pastries either.  I had the cherry galette, in the centre of the photo.

We walked back up to the shopping area and bought a few things and then went back to our hotel room.  Naps, beer, and chips for me :)

We went back to North Beach for supper since Megan missed out on the food tour.  First we went back to Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store Cafe for a drink and then had dinner at Calzone's.  I was trying out portrait mode on Megan's camera but it only focused on me, haha.


Then we did something ridiculous, we went to Kaitlyn Bristowe's podcast show!  When we were hanging out in our hotel room earlier in the day, I saw on Twitter that she was in town for a show (for those of you who don't know Kaitlyn, she was on the Bachelor (Chris Soules' season) and then was the Bachelorette herself, she is Canadian, and now she does this podcast).  We got some of her wine (Spade and Sparrows) and Cindy bought her scrunchies (Dewedit).  It was all slightly silly but a fun experience and plus the show was at The Palace of Fine Arts, built in 1915 as a temporary structure, and then rebuilt in the '60s, so that was neat to see. 

The next morning we were up early again to be first in line at the Buena Vista Cafe.  It was actual anniversary date of the first Irish coffee. This time I had the Mexican omelette, delicious!

The cafe complete with cablecar. 

After breakfast we waited for our bus tour to start.  We chose the Almost Famous tour with Dylan's Tours. The tour is on a mini-bus, and has an actual tour guide, not an audio guide, with a few scheduled stops along the way.  It starts in the Fisherman's Wharf area and ends in Saucilito, across the bay, where you can get a ferry or uber back to the city.  This is a very worthwhile tour, and very entertaining.  Our guide played relevant music throughout, told some lame dad jokes, and gave out mini chocolate bars for correct trivia answers.  

First place where we walked around for a few minutes was City Hall.


Then into the Mission District, where I wish we could have visited again.  It had some great looking shops and restaurants, including some legit Mexican food. 

A Barry Bonds /SF Giants mural.  Barry is from the Bay Area. 


Then we made a quick stop at the Mission Delores Park.  It was gorgeous.





Then onto the Castro.  Another cute neighbourhood I'd like to visit again.  This is the building where Harvey Milk had his photo shop and the painting on the second floor is him. 

From the Castro we went up to Twin Peaks.   We were there at the right time, the view was so clear and it was nice and warm. 




I wore my Raps championship shirt to troll any Golden State fans ;)

The next neighbourhood was Haight Ashbury.  We were stopped here to look at a house on the other side of the bus,  but I snapped this one because I though it was pretty, but then our guide told it was where the Hell's Angels hung out in the '60s.  

And this one a few doors down was where Janis Joplin lived. 

We stopped here for a quick bathroom break and I got a coffee. 

I'm sure this looks familiar to some of you, it's the houses from the opening of Full House (I bet you can hear the theme song now!)

I was trying to figure out what this church is and why I took a picture, but I can't recall.  I probably just liked it.

This is the house from Mrs. Doubtfire.  Apparently when Robin Williams died people brought tributes to this house, but the owner was fine with it. 

We drove through the Pacific Heights neighbourhood and saw lots of beautiful homes.  

This view is from the Lyon Street steps.  It looks so clear out by the harbour and the bridge, but this will change dramatically by the time we make it to the base of the bridge. 


We drove down through the Presidio and saw some neat things - the Walt Disney museum, Industrial Light and Magic's headquarters (a division of George Lucas's film company), a military cemetery modelled after Arlington, some cool eucalyptus trees that were a gift from the Aussies, Crissy Field, and more!

Then we got down to the base of the Golden Gate Bridge and see, it was pretty foggy.  Completely different from when we were at the top of the hill.


Then we drove over the Golden Gate Bridge (where we saw some brave souls riding bikes and walking across through the dense fog), and ended our tour in Sausalito and into a completely different climate.  A beautiful sunny day, not the foggy day over by the Golden Gate Bridge.

See the fog bank, that is actually SF over there, you can barely make out the top of a building on the right side of the horizon. 


We tried eating at Bar Bocce, a cute beach spot, but couldn't get a table, so we took our tour guide's recommendation and went to Joinery Beerhall.  I had a grilled cheese and it was so good.   After lunch we wandered in and out of the shops, quite touristy but fun. We had planned to take the ferry back the city but we would have had to wait an hour so we just ubered.  

We wanted Mexican for supper and settled on Nick's Crispy Tacos.  The food was legit and after the football game was over (Americans love their football!) I got the bartender to put on the Raptor game (or the "Lakers game" as I called it when I made the request).  

Cindy and I headed to the airport the next morning, while Megan got some extra shopping in since she was taking the red eye that night.  Another successful trip!!

Linking up with AndreaErika, and Narci for Friday Favourites, because travelling is my favourite!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

San Francisco Part 1

Last week I went on a girls' trip to San Francisco.  I went with my friend Cindy (with whom I went to Chicago and New York) and our other friend Megan (although she met us the next day).

We were up bright (it was not bright) and early on Thursday morning to go to the airport.  We chose our seats by leaving one in the middle of us and hoping no one would come and no one did, so we had a comfortable flight.  I watched two movies and had a nap, and it didn't feel too bad. 

We arrived around 10:30 and got our first of many Ubers to the hotel.  We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott in Union Square.  Small room but clean and a great location.  I don't think I'd want to stay anywhere else by the Union Square area.  I had to snap a photo of these warning signs on the wall of the hotel by check in.  Aren't they strange?  We saw another one later on a parking garage that basically said that exposure to the fumes from the parking garage can cause cancer and birth defects, which is valid, but I mean, how much time do you have to spend there for it to be an issue, do you really need to warn the people walking by?  I guess it's a way to stop lawsuits. 

Our room.  We were lucky we could get in right away.

And view.

Our first stop was to grab something to eat.  We went to Jane on Larkin.  It is a cute spot right in the Tenderloin neighbourhood. 

Then we went for a walk towards North Beach where we had a food tour booked.  We stopped in at Trader Joe's to look around on the way, so many neat things. 

California!

We knew that SF was a city full of hills but I still couldn't stop commenting on them for the entire trip. 

Just a pretty entry to a condo.

This is Grace Cathedral.  We could also see this from our hotel room. 


Cable car photo op!

We got to North Beach a little early so we walked around to a few shops before meeting up with our group.  We did this food tour with our lovely guide Blondina.  She was quite the character - a New Jersey native with conservative parents who came to San Francisco in the 1970s where she has made her living as an artist and doing various odd jobs.  She has lived in the North Beach neighbourhood since she arrived and she knew everyone!  

Our first stop was Cavalli Cafe for an Italian coffee and biscotti. 



And then to Palermo's for a tasty sandwich. This is the owner who came out to sit with us in the sun.

Then we stopped in to see this beautiful chapel next to the St. Francis of Assisi church on Vallejo.  It is only about 10 years old and is the exact replica of a chapel in Italy.  All of the materials were brought over from Italy as well.


Then we went to Z Cioccolato for some fudge.


We didn't actually eat anything at this little shop, Giovanni, but it was such a cute spot.

Our next step was Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store Cafe for a meatball sandwich.  This was such a cozy spot, particularly since it was starting to get cool outside with the fog rolling in.


Washington Square Park was closed for renovations, which was too bad, as our tour guide said it is like the local living room where people hang out all the time.   We did go into Saints Peter and Paul Church (and ran into 100 year old Father Armand, bless his heart, on the way).  This is the church (and school) that Joe DiMaggio attended when he was growing up.  He had his first wedding here, but couldn't marry Marilyn here because he was a divorced man. He did have his funeral here though, officiated by the same Father Armand we met. 

The statues had such realistic features and details not the clothing.



Our final stop on the food tour was Mona Lisa for pizza.  Plus we had a cannoli from Stella Pastry.

We went back to our hotel after that and warmed up.  We had plans to go out somewhere but decided not to because we were tired.  Instead we walked up to Union Square to check out the shops.   The Christmas tree wasn't lit up (that happens on Black Friday) but the skating rink was open and Macy's looked great!


The next morning we hit up Mr. Holmes Bakehouse for (first) breakfast and coffee.

Such beautiful things.  I had the most delicious croissant with manchego and prosciutto.

We walked down to Target, since it was open early and set a few things aside to buy later.  And then we got on the cable car.  We took it all the way to Fisherman's Wharf.

We had second breakfast at the Buena Vista Cafe, home of the first Irish Coffee in the US.  I had a couple, they were damn good.  I also had the lobster roll with waffle fries, best second breakfast ever.


We wandered over to the Ghiradelli chocolate factory.  It had some cute shops, but we didn't buy any chocolate since we can just get it here. 


Like Times Square, we weren't very impressed with the actual Fisherman's Wharf area, but we did need to get a photo here.

The Boudin sourdough is famous and they had a nice place to get a sandwich and other treats.  We popped in but decided not to buy anything.

Instead we went to a little brewpub while we waited for Megan to join us, as her plane had arrived that morning.

Then we walked down to Pier 33 for our Alcatraz Tour.  We booked these tickets as soon as we booked our flights as we heard it sells out.  That is true, we were there on a Friday and there was a sign that said the next available tickets were for Tuesday.

It was a pretty neat tour.  I knew of Alcatraz, and saw the movie The Rock way back when it came out, but I didn't really know that much so it was neat to learn about.








Like the day before, it got quite chilly later in the afternoon so we were freezing when we got back to the hotel, even after dressing more warmly.  We all rallied and headed out for our dinner reservation at Hops and Hominy.  The food was really good and it was a cozy place to eat; I would highly recommend it!

Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow.