San Francisco, pt. 1

Michelle and I just returned from a week-long visit to San Francisco…. the trip had two main purposes:

1) to visit friends that moved there within the last few years.

2) to scope it out and see if we might like to move there ourselves.

We did so much that I won’t try to put it all into one post, but I can start here at least. We stayed with our close friends Christine & Greg, who live literally right around the corner from Haight-Ashbury, so we had a good central location to start from. They were such gracious hosts, taking us here and there and all over the place, hunting down interesting sights, shops, and the tastiest food. Click here for a Flickr set of photos that we took.

We explored Golden Gate Park a bit (had a nice picnic), as well as Buena Vista Park (a huge hill on Haight St. that gives a great view of the city), and Dolores Park (in the Mission). Here’s some pics from Dolores Park:

view from Dolores Park

Dolores Park

On a Sunday, the place was full of people and the most beautiful and handsome dogs. One nice touch we noticed is that there are dog water fountains in the parks here:

Here’s a view from Buena Vista Park:

Twice we ate lunch at Burma Superstar, a fantastic place in the “new Chinatown” area north of Golden Gate Park. We shared everything we ordered, as it was all too varied and delicious not to. The two major standouts were the vegetarian samusa soup (spicy and thick, full of falafel, samosas, cabbage, onions, lentils), and the tea leaf salad. The tea leaf salad comes out with all its ingredients separated, and the server identifies all of them, and then mixes it up. It’s got a wet mound of fermented tea leaves, lettuce, tomato, peanuts, fried garlic, dried shrimp, sesame seeds, and split yellow peas. The flavor was hard to describe, but it was that nice kind of South Asian mix of oily, crisp, savory, and salty that is just so damn appetizing. We also had some delicious coconut rice, and a pork-pumpkin stew that was very hearty (the stew was thickened by the pumpkin, which was cooked until soft). The following are not my pictures:

There were several great bars that we checked out, including the historic Vesuvio, next door to City Lights bookstore. Here’s some art I saw there on the way to the bathroom:

We also ate a few meals and had some beer at the Magnolia brewery, which serves very tasty English-style beers, several of them cask-conditioned.

However, my favorite place, just a 20 minute walk from where we were staying, was the Toronado. This place is considered to be the best beer bar in the city, in terms of selection. The draft list is on a huge board, easy to read, and includes mostly California microbrews (several of which I was familiar with, several I was not), but Belgian beers and bottles were well-represented. I was surprised at how inexpensive the place was– most American beers were under $5, some were $3.50 (and you get a dollar off before 6pm). Next door is a great sausage place called Rosamunde, which sells all kinds of sausages (wild boar, duck, merguez, Nurnburger, etc.), and you can bring them right over to Toronado to have with your beer. Symbiotic business relationships like this are very cool.

That’s all for just now…. I’ll write more later.

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~ by plastron on January 6, 2008.

3 Responses to “San Francisco, pt. 1”

  1. My version:
    http://picasaweb.google.com/steinjj/SanFrancisco

    It delighted me that our paths found a way to cross!

  2. Fantastic fotos, sir! I hope you don’t mind if I re-post them here or on Facebook (with due credit).

    Yeah, I wish our vacation days had overlapped a bit more, but it was still awesome to hang out again.

    By the way, that fruit you photographed… it’s called durian. Somebody recently brought one to a party and cracked it open, and I tried a tiny taste…. eugh. There is a phenomenal vanilla-custard texture and taste, but this is blanketed by a pungent rotten onion stench and flavor. A nibble was enough to disgust me, but that didn’t stop me from tasting that nastiness every time I burped over the next hour and a half (which was frequent, because I was drinking beer and dancing).

  3. A fruit tasting like onion?! And somehow there is demand for these things? That fascinates me. So you burp a lot while you dance?

    Of course, use and abuse my photos. Your graffiti images are delightful. I especially like the b&w woman’s face with the skulls and the bird with a diamond heart. It sends my mind dancing.

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