Slumming it in San Fran


A couple of weeks ago, okay, more like a month ago, I had the opportunity to hitch a ride with my friend Mel and boyfriend Scot to go visit Mo (travellingmo) in her San Francisco haunt. I’d been to San Francisco briefly a couple of times in my life–my dad got lost driving in Berkeley once and Michael and I had stopped there for a night on our way to Tahoe last winter. It rained cats and dogs throughout our sightseeing day so we wound up holing up in the Underdog taco sports bar and watching the 49ers lose their final playoff game. It was definitely a very San Francisco experience, but what I’d call a traditional one.

This time, I was determined to:

A) Spend a lot more time with Mo

B) See some of San Francisco’s historic and cultural sights

C) Not run up a $100 bar bill

I managed to do all three in the weekend, plus have an absolutely giddy time just hanging out in a new-ish city. When we arrived, Mo was still working so Mel, Scot, and I went the one place Mo refuses to go- Ghirardelli’s Chocolate Factory and Ice Cream Shop in Ghirardelli Square. At first I balked a little at the price of an ice cream cone, but quickly shut my mouth when the monster arrived:

(I had already eaten about half of it in this picture. What flavor? Ghirardelli Chocolate, of course!)

Next we headed to the Buena Vista, home of the original Irish Coffee. When we got there, the bar and tables were packed with a lot of ladies in matching athletic wear. Something always seems to be happening in San Francisco and that weekend was no different. Turns out there was a Nike Women’s Marathon on Sunday and all the teams were at the Buena Vista Friday night to get some liquid courage for the big race. In true European style everyone shared tables to make room. We wound up sitting with a great older couple who loved to travel, party, and party while traveling.

I must say I wasn’t actually that keen on all the Tulley Dew in my coffee (never been a huge whiskey fan). I think when I’m not visiting San Francisco I’ll stick with my splash of Baileys.

Later on, we finally met up with Mo for some delicious party boat sushi at the Japanese Center and then she and I went to see Jesús and the Rabbis, a TOTALLY AWESOME funk rock band our friend Kyna from high school sings in (think Red Hot Chili Peppers with a little more kick). I’ve been to my share of shows, but this one blew me out of the water. We rocked our nerdy dancing at the front of the stage all night long!!

The next day, we tootled around the city, lunching in the tulip garden donated by the queen of Holland and checking out Golden Gate park. We visited the horses and buffalo herd that lives there and accidentally stumbled on the park’s ‘cruising’ zone (think–a lot of random, middle-aged guys in all sorts of work clothes standing around different trees on a park trail for no apparent reason. Only in San Francisco.) I walked so much, I think I may actually have burned off that ice cream from the day before!

Saturday evening we went to an Italian restaurant and met up with Helena Corda, who I hadn’t seen since high school! It was so nice to see her, hear about her teaching, and meet her boyfriend Diego. After dinner we dropped by a great bar that I forget the name of for a Belgian Beer, but we were all so tired from all that walking that we pretty much fell asleep in our cups.

Sunday was a little less walk-intensive, but only a little. Mo and I journeyed up to Mel and Scot’s hotel to meet up with Scot’s friend Nick. We spent the day roving various sights, including Coit Tower, which I loved for the WPA murals covering the walls inside.

I also loved Coit Tower for the view of the bay, although when I had someone take this picture of me in front of the view I managed to block out nearly all of it, including the Golden Gate Bridge…Cumbersome Jill strikes again!

Back at Mo and Zac’s adorable basement apartment in Outer Sunset, we feasted on vegan shepherd’s pie (which tastes really yummy) and vegan pumpkin pie (which tastes amazingly yummy! Who knew tofu was a perfect conduit for pumpkin??) and watched the first episode of the John Adams HBO mini series, which I highly recommend.

Mo and Zac’s super cute apartment!

A couple weeks later, I’m still smiling about the trip. I can’t wait for Mo to come visit Los Angeles at the end of this month, but I especially can’t wait for a chance to visit San Francisco again.

See you next week!

(One of a parade of vintage cars we saw cruising over the Grape Vine)

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