San Francisco [And No, We did NOT visit the Ghiardelli Factory.]

We are lucky in that we get to do these things.

Travel. Eat good food. Catch up with friends. Rest.

We spent the past week in San Francisco after a few months of debating what would be most worth our money, considering we don’t have that much. We set a time and took off from work and called it our “eat-cation” because if we were going to spend time in one place, the food best be good.

I loved San Fran. It’s a foodie city. Lots of industry folks and some really affordable food. Lots of places to get hosed or high or whatever it is you like. Lots of cool side bars offering decent exposure to one of the many different neighborhoods that make up San Francisco.

We found us a sweet little spot in SoMa (South of Market St.) on the fringe of The Mission. The first night we ate at Mission Street Chinese in the form of a pop-up as the namesake Lung Shan Restaurant closes after lunch. Had a few really amazing dishes. Salt cod fried rice. Mongolian long beans which numbed our tongue it was so spicy — in a good way, of course. Also this rib tip dish that I can’t remember the name of. Had those cartilage-y bits too that were actually really nice.

The next day we hit up Sight Glass for coffee. Amazing. Pricey, but worth it if that’s your thing. Beautiful space full of laptops and cell phones, but that’s the cafe world, right?

My friend Noodles (Andrew is his real name…but we know him as Noodles. Or Noods. We go way back. Like when I had hair and wanted to be a computer programmer.) He treated us to breakfast at this little spot not too far from our hotel. Eggs, toast and hash browns. Nothin’ better when you got the coffee jitters.

Needed some more food in our bellies so we headed down the food carts on 11th and Division/Bryant — ate some really good Korean tacos (mostly a fan of the duck, but the others I would never complain!) – split a decent empanada and a pastrami sandwich – overkill, but in a good way.

That night we met a friend of mine from college and his partner at Dolores Park for some catch up time and devoured some pretty delicious sandwiches. One of which was the antithesis of my diet for the past 8 months. Bread stuffed with roast beef, turkey, pastrami (again, I know!), onion rings, fried jalapeno poppers, fried mozzarella sticks, tomato and guacamole. It was named the “Kryptonite” – it defeated me quickly. I maybe got 7 or 8 good bites in. Respectively so.

We walked a TON. True, the best way to get around San Fran is usin’ the ole’ legs. Well, public transportation is great in SF. We took the BART most of the time. You can pretty much get off anywhere and find something good within walking distance. Of course we got lost several times, but there’s something to be said about getting lost in a city. You discover lots of little things, like how I don’t actually like getting lost all that much. 🙂

Went to this bar called the Tempest and had a few pints with my buddy Will who’s been one of my good good friends since we were kids. He works as a camera guy for Mythbusters and is just an all around bad ass. So great to catch up in funky bars. Noods came later while we all determined that September 11th would be a great day to meet up at the Tempest and reminisce.

We spent one night on Tiburon Bay. Sort of an over-the-top luxury night. Figured we might be able to afford just one of those once and a while. It was so nice. Biggest and softest bed I’d ever laid on. Sweet view of the SF skyline. Got to see little boats come in and out while always asking myself, “People really live like this??”

Yes. Yes they do.

We ate decent tourist town pizza. Watched TV and lit a fire. A nice way to say good-bye to the Bay area.

On the way out, we drove back in to SF and forgot to bring cash for the FREAKING toll. A nice $25 dollar fine will be coming in the mail shortly. Buh. But, that was made up for by the great time we had in Chinatown with our friend Jamie. Chinatown was my favorite. It sets the bar for Chinatowns everywhere, that is, except in China. We found some ladies hand-making fortune cookies. Roasted ducks hanging in windows. Bakeries with black bean curd pastries and custards. So neat. Hannah was in custard heaven. We ate lunch at a clay pot place in a tiny room above one of the markets. It was delicious. Way too much food, but so fun.

We said our goodbyes and drove home through Yountville, where we stumbled upon Thomas Keller’s tiny empire of over-the-top goods. Most of which I will write about another time, because there were some deeper things that happened with this.

But I shall digress, as this piece is already far too long. I’m sure I’ve already lost your attention span. I will leave you only temporarily to say that our little vacation was brilliant and we were treated with such hospitality — both by the city and by our dear friends.

So glad to be back in Portland.

But then again, I always am.


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