Monday, March 19, 2007

San Francisco

Long time no see...I've been keeping myself busy in my personal life but nothing to write home about folks.
I did go recently to San Francisco and decided to give everyone a lowdown of how it went, what I did, etc.
I needed time to escape, get away from work, spend quality time with the bf, and remind myself what I really want from life.
San Francisco and the surrounding Bay area is a place that's always been special to me. I got drunk off of San Francisco and my stay over there.
Here's what I did:

We took the AA flight from MIA to SFO and arrived early around 1030am PT. We took the BART subway into the downtown San Francisco hub near Union Square and walked to our hotel. It was a beautiful sunny day outside and people were out-and-about, pounding the city pavement. Already, I felt overjoyed with remembering how my memories matched my surroundings.

1. We went to Japantown and immediately found the best Japanese noodlehouse: SUZU. I had barley tea for the first time and it has an incredible umami flavor to it. I also had my first soba dish. It was nice but you know what? I like pho better!
Checked out Kinokuniya's Bookstore and I realized I no longer had an obsesion with Japanese fashion mags nor stationary. Sadness for a brief bit, I realize that my tastes have evolved and my habits have changed.
2. Went back to Union Square and chilled out there for a bit. Decided to tackle Coit Tower and took a walking tour to it, via North Beach and Chinatown. Walked up the most steepest residential neighborhood to get to this but the views were worth it!
If I lived here, I would have killa' quads, I note to myself. Nick is determined to get some Ghiradelli chocolate at Fisherman's Wharf, so we walk out there from Coit Tower.
3. Are kaput at this point. Day gets chillier, we walk back, me with my trendy white coat and pink plaid scarf, and we found a problem at our hotel. Our toilet's broke so I have to change 2 rooms before I ask the hotel for an upgrade due to our situation and unsatisfactory room transfers. They give us a room facing Powell St, bigger bathroom, bed, iPod stereo, etc.
Niiiiiice, as Borat says. We're too tired to go to a recommended eatery so we eat at this Union Square restaurant. S'ok.

Woke up to cloudy weather, decided to change our itinerary a bit.
1. Rode the BART to Tartine Bakery, the best bakery I've ever been to in my life as recommended by foodies/Yelp! It was in the Mission District and we found a line nearly outside the door when we went. Had a mushroom/fennel seed quiche, bread pudding with fruit, latte and it was the moist EXQUISITE meal, the flavors were dancing in my mouth. We walked around the Mission but it was so early, everything was closed. We then went to SFMOMA and checked its exhibits. Later found at the Moscone Center a Gamers Conference so we gawked at the developers present. Then we went to Haight/Ashbury and I showed Nick all the unkempt, disheveled hipsters there. We discovered a gourmet hotdog place that was awesome.
Visited San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, which is similar to Central Park, but does not have the Golden Gate bridge nearby. The landscaping here is tremendous and gets to show you the hillier aspects of the cityscape. The Japanese Tea Garden is a must, I got to take a photo of myself next to a japanese pagoda. Much posing was done here. Got back on the MUNI Bus with 50 elementary school children, screaming and shouting, lotsa good fun all around :)
We hit up the Pacific Heights neighborhood for an intimate Italian dinner where Nick later educated me more on the finer aspects of what makes italian food so good. Afterward...we hit up the Comedy club, Punchline, where we found some cali-humor. Nick says I exhaust him.

Day 3: OK, LETS GO
Sunny day.
1. Slept in today. We went to the Ferry Marketplace for a foodie perspective of what people sell around here. Hot damn, lotsa amazing food stalls. I wish Miami had one. We ate breakfast bought at various stalls overlooking the Bay Bridge. Nick and I part ways, he checks out the location of the car rental agency while I peruse the posh stores on Union Square. I hit up Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel, Longchamp, Neiman Marcus, Marc Jacobs in about a half an hour. Didn't see anything except this $1700 nylon Prada bag at NM. Am proud of not batting an eyelash when the sales clerk announced its price. Nick and I later reunite with my old friend, Trisha and her bf, at Union Square. She shows me the Westfield food emporium, the best food court I've been to. We talk about life, work, leisure activities. She motivates me to do more with my life as she and her bf are super-accomplished and do more things in their downtime then I do in my week.
2. Visited Berkely.
3. Crash at the hotel. We decide to go see the 300 at the Sony Metreon Center, opening night. Arrive, see all tickets are sold out for nearest times, we book the 1020 showing, kill time, show up at 9pm and there's a block-long line. 300 was fun.

Sunny day. God loves me.
1. Wake up at the crack of dawn to hustle our road trip on Hwy 1. Nick picks up the car, I cross the street to the 24-hr Starbucks to pick up food/coffee. He arrives in a Pontiac GTO and we bust out of the city. The road was our's for the taking at 8am on Sunday. Minimal traffic, lots of staring at the Pacific Ocean panorama, wide open skies, craggy mountain landscapes, and beautiful desolate beaches. I see a dead bear on the side of the road. We jump out of the car alot to take beautiful, artistic, emo photos. We arrive at Santa Cruz for lunch, I show him the Boardwalk/Pier and it wasn't what I remembered before. We blow Santa Cruz to get to Monterey and crash 5 min out of town to get a 30min nap. We visit the Monterey Aquarium and it was everything I wished for. Huge tanks filled with kelp, sharks, big tuna, seals...lots glass displays to peer through, right on the monterey bay. I fell in love with California even more. Needless to say, the Monterey Aquarium's cafeteria was super gourmet--is there no bad food out here??
We drive back...I share a meal with my bf at IN-N-OUT Burger. Damn these are good burgers. We later get into San Francisco too late to drive across the bridge. We eat at Japantown, again. We walk Chinatown to get a special dessert I wanted, by the time we come back, its like midnight. Snooooore.

Day 5: Last day...
Sunny + Hot. Awesomeness all around.
1. We are determined to see the Golden Gate Bridge and take 2 buses to get there. We stay for 1.5 hours and take lots of photos. People here really like staying fit, I see joggers everywhere on the trail. I, on the other hand, am out of breath, grasping the stair rail, dying. We later go back to Union Square where I can get some shopping done. So sad, I run out of time! Restaurants and shops close super-early in SF, like 9:30pm! Some restaurants close at 10pm but it's amazing how nightlife shuts down at 2am here for clubs/bars! We later score some korean bbq at Westfield's Food Emporium and we crash at the hotel, watching Deal or No Deal and Stranger then Fiction on my laptop. Then we had get on our flight the next day.
Sadness! California I will be back!


Daz said...

lol...sounds like you and the greatest time in the bay question..can you post the pic of the dead bear? =O

Anonymous said...

Sounds like an awesome trip. Don't get so down on yourself - you do good work with TMH. You are one of the few still in the business we majored in! How'd you finagle an upgrade? Did you ask for/demand one after two shitty rooms? Does that work? I'm going to keep that in mind. And yes, post the bear pic!

devlo said...

...i didn't mean to imply I took emo photos of a dead bear!! lawdy...tho' i shouldofnow!
i just saw the bear flash by me quickly, i had to do a double-take and look at the rear window to confirm--yes! it really was a dead brown bear...

as far as upgrade, yes after wasting 20min of your time to check out 2 bad rooms...its not unreasonable to ask for an upgrade. i had to shell a wee bit more but man was it worth it... listen to Lilly Allen's "LDN" song and that summed up that hotel experience :D :D


I'M JEALOUS! I wish I could make a trip to San Francisco!