17 May 2008

San Francisco

Well it has been a while.  Taking the red eye back to DC on Monday night left me exhausted for the rest of the week and since I didn't have classes I took a bit of a mental vacation as well but now I am back and ready to talk about our trip.  I was a bit skeptical that it would be worth flying across the country for just three days but we managed to do (and eat) so much that I really think it was.  Granted, being in full on zombie mode Tuesday at work was an unfortunate consequense but oh well.  

So- San Francisco.  I think it's about as different a city as DC as possible.  The hills, the victorian architecture, the independent spirit of the shops and restaurants and just the general aura of the San Franciscans give the city a mellow vibe but there is so much going on I wouldn't call it laid back.  We got in very late Friday night and spent the night at a friend's house in Pacific Heights (it's really too bad this isn't an architecture blog and I can't go on and on about the 15 foot ceilings and moulding, but I wish I could).  The next morning we began the great trek looking for a place for breakfast.  We ended up at a crepe shop in Nob Hill where I got the breakfast crepe-- an omelette with ham, peppers and cheese folded into a crepe, with a salad and home fries.  The crepe was delicious and when I went to grab my camera to take a picture I realized that I had forgotten it so no pictures of the first day.

We continued our trek up Russian Hill, down to North Beach and then back up to Pac Heights to grab out bags.  We got on a Muni bus to get to our hotel in Union Square (which reminded me of Times Square with the throngs of tourists but had much less neon advertising) and headed down to the Embarcadero.  We met up with our friend E-, who is from the Bay Area and happened to be in town and walked down to Pier 39 to see the sea lions (I could watch them for hours, they are so funny as they lug themselves out of the water onto the docks and then proceed to the throw themselves down to lay in the sun) then headed back to North Beach for a cappuccino refuel stop and had dinner in an Italian restaurant there, but sadly it wasn't anything special.

On Sunday we walked around the Haight and saw where Janis Joplin lived (but the pictures are other houses in the area) and peeked into the Japanese tea garden in Golden Gate Park.  I would have like to go in to see the place where fortune cookies may have been invented, but the $4 entrance fee seemed a bit high (and didn't include any tea).  So we headed to the Mission and saw some amazing urban public art and had lunch at El Farolito.  Zach got a massive burrito that he said rivaled Chipotle in quality and I had tostadas.  For dinner that night we had Thai at Osha, good but not spectacular though they did to a great job plating.

Monday was the big food day.  I had seen a pastry shop the night before so we went there for breakfast.  It had been so long since I've had a pain au chocolate- I forgot how good chocolate is for breakfast.  For lunch it was bento boxes at the Japanese deli in the Ferry Building.  They were as good as any I had in Japan.  Mine had a crispy shrimp cake, chicken meatball in a sweet glaze, a potato, lettuce and edamame salad (I would never have though about combining those items with a wasabi mayonaise but it was delicious) and a purple rice salad.  Walking around Berkley that afternoon I got a crepe avec Nutella from the same shop that I stopped in when we did spring break in California my senior year of college.  

Our last meal in San Francisco was at the
E&O Trading Company, which our friend described as serving 'food from the former British colonial areas in South East Asia'.  It's sort of a strange description but it fit.  We had naan stuffed with paneer served with sweet tamarind and tart tomato sauces, a light and crispy corn fritter with a soy dipping sauce, minced chicken lettuce wraps (definitely something to try at home) and eggplant, hakka style (eggplant is one of those items I always love out yet can never seen to make for myself).  Dessert was so good I didn't even manage to get a picture of it- 

But then dinner was done and it was time to head to the car and the airport and home to real life.  I've made a little slide show to remind myself of our visit- you can take a look if you'd like to see some of the food that I've talked about. If you click on a picture it will take you to a larger view with captions.


kat said...

I'm heading back to San Francisco in just over a week. I can't wait for a Mission style burrito, oh do we miss those here in MN, & sushi at Yuzu. I totally agree with you about Osha, my friends raved when it opened but I was underwhelmed. I also feel so many of the restaurants in North Beach are such tourist traps you have to know which ones will give you a truly good meal.

Jen said...

Kat- I really should have asked you for some restaurant recommendations before we left... and I definitely will if we make it to the bay area again.

Saira said...

awe! I miss Boudin Bakery and their clam chowder in sourdough bowls...I'm a California girl stuck in DC:(