Wednesday, February 1, 2012

San Francisco

We opted to avoid the holiday travel chaos, which meant a delayed trip to the US.

This was the best option after having several airline mishaps in the years past - driving from Washington DC to Ohio on Christmas Eve three years ago, and nearly getting stranded in El Paso two years ago.

Thankfully this year the weather decided to also cooperate with us.
Before our biannual Ohio visit, we stopped in San Francisco for 5 days to visit our dear friends, Emily & Jeremy, and their new pup - Banjo.

Having visited San Francisco twice before, it was so nice to see the city from our friends' view points and to simply catch up more on life after Germany. We sure miss them.

San Francisco is a great city;  fog swept rolling hills, inventive restaurants, creative people, and a lot of high tech industries. The only downsides are the amount of homeless people and dog poo littered sidewalks.
There are also many public parks speckled around and warm weather year round to make it incredibly livable.
Oh, how we missed the variety of American food. The portions may be larger than in many places, but it's the best way to enjoy a meal - by sharing great company and delicious foods. We did a lot of eating and this is certainly the city for that.
A few of the restaurants we visited included:

Tartine ... this is the legendary pastry shop with long lines that are worth the wait.
Nopa ... for a great New Year's eve dinner
Umami Burger ... waygu burgers
Tacolicious ... I will dream about these tacos and margaritas for a long long time. They are perfection. The tuna tostadas were my favorite, but I don't think you can go wrong.
Mosto... the tequila bar right next to tacolicious, making waiting time that much better.
Beach Chalet ... as close to a California beachside biergarten as it gets - with a veggie hops burger.
Tornado Pub ... an endless array of beers from around the world.
Mission Chinese ... this pop up restaurant has caused quite a stir and is now here to stay - don't miss it! The food is crazy good and the rap music is a hilarious blast from the past. The salt cod fried rice and the thrice cooked bacon were probably my favorites.
Bi-Rite Creamery ... delicious ice cream, which is extra sweet to enjoy in Delores Park with great weather in the middle of Winter. They also have an ice cream cook book coming out later this year! 
Chantal Guillon macarons... a touch of France in California. 
Ici ... (Berkeley) I'm not sure what the deal is, but sadly it was better the last time we went
Saigon Sandwiches .... Banh Mi, Vietnamese sandwiches
If you are planning a trip check out the following:
Jamie Oliver's San Francisco tips... We visited many of his recommendations, although the magazine came out a month after our trip.
7x7 Big Eat List of 2012... plenty more restaurants to try
7x7 Big To-Do List... 100 quintessential San Francisco experiences
Not all of our time was spent eating... we also did a lot of walking. I always seem to forget - or mentally block out - how impossibly slow and archaic the public transport is even in the biggest US cities.
With the California sun shining brightly and only needing to wear a jacket I wasn't sure if I was in some sort of alternate reality. A heavy dose of sunshine in the middle of the Winter is really is amazing and was the perfect way to start the new year. Those year-round beaches are such a luxury, too.
Fort Funston ... this beach is so unique. Dogs and their owners stroll along, splash in the waves, and find little treasures washed ashore. I'd go to take it all in even if I didn't have a dog, but I really can't wait to get one.
Tilden Park... for incredible Bay area views and a nice nature stroll.
Street art... lots of self expression around town 
St. Mary's Cathedral... home of the "two o'clock titty", at two o'clock the sun's channels its own Mary Katherine Gallagher to give the church it's own perky bust. 
What a great place to start the new year. Even the fog couldn't hold those fireworks back this year. 

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