I’ve wanted to go to San Francisco for a long time. But it was always one of those places that got passed up in favor of places like England and tropical beaches. So this time we thought “Why not?” Its a quick 2 hour (+ or – depending on headwind) plane ride from Seattle, and there’s so much to see and do in that sprawling seaside town! With my husband’s demanding work schedule and the fact that we usually take our vacation in the spring or fall, we usually don’t do a whole lot for our anniversary. But this year was our tenth, a whole decade! We decided we had to do something. And since travel is at the top of our list for things we enjoy doing…
Union Square. Yes, its touristy. And yes it is crowded. But its also central and next to a good subway station. We stayed in the St. Francis (now a part of the Westin/Marriot hotel chain). The lobby and ballrooms still retain that art deco/early twentieth century charm, but the rooms themselves are totally modern.
I don’t know about you, but one of the reason I travel is to eat. Is there any better way to experience a new place/culture than by its food? I would argue that there’s not. Fight me.
The Fairmont Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar. I’ve seen this place on a few San Francisco food videos. And I love (LOVE) a kitchy tiki themed restaurant. And this one is legit because it was built in the 40s. The ambiance is perfect. It even rains from the ceiling every half hour. The food was pretty good. Vaguely Polynesian, but mostly Asian fusion. I had the peppered beef. But the main draw of this place are the tiki cocktails. Most places water down their drinks. But the Tonga room ain’t one of those places. Not by a long shot. I’m no light-weight (and neither is my husband), but after one of their Mai-Tais I was done. Well worth the $10 happy hour price.
The Fog Harbor Fish House. Its on Pier 39, so my hopes weren’t super high since touristy places aren’t exactly known for high-quality food. But this place subverts those expectations! I had the Pacific Sole with spinach and peppers in a buttery white wine and caper sauce. And it was so, so good. And the view of Alcatraz island and the nearby harbor can’t be beat.
I love a good pastry. I knew I had to try Tartine’s famous bakery in the mission district. So we did. I got one of my favorites: frangipane croissant. It was good. Not the best one I’ve ever tasted, but it was close. Worth the trek out to the mission.
The pizza at Del Popolo. Its pretty good, but too well-done. Yes, I know that Neapolitan pizza is more well-done that American pizza, but the bottom was very black. The flavor was good, but the oven needed a slightly lower temperature and longer cook time.
Food not pictured:
Meh breakfast at Cafe Madeline, so-so lunch at the Hong Kong clay-pot restaurant in Chinatown, and great pasta at Tratttoria Contradina.
The only other Chinatown I’ve been to is the one in Washington D.C. Its actually pretty cool, but not as big, or as old as San Francisco’s. I forget how many miles we walked checking out all the cool architecture, shops, and the famous Taoist temple. I was surprised and excited to see lots of shops selling teas, ginseng, veggies, and herbs with 0% signage in English. So cool!
The only time we made it to Pier 39 was for dinner that one night. But we did go to the Ferry Building which is next to Pier 1. There’s an indoor market of sorts with various eateries and shops. We had some good ice cream there from Humphry Slocombe. Honestly though, I thought the inside of the Ferry Building would be bigger with more of a variety of shops. Still, it was a pleasant experience with awesome views of the Oakland Bay Bridge.
Petey, just being himself
Palace of Fine Arts
Originally constructed over 100 years ago for the Panama Pacific Exposition, the Palace of Fine Arts still draws a lot of tourists. And there’s a reason: its beautiful! Just look at the columns and mason work. Swoon. Having a lagoon with swans doesn’t hurt either.
Golden Gate Bridge/Baker Beach
When you go to San Francisco you have to see the Golden Gate Bridge; you just have to. And while I personally think the Oakland bridge is cooler (don’t shoot!), we grabbed a Lyft to Baker Beach to check it out. And of course there was fog *facepalm*
How about you? Ever been to San Francisco? Did you like it?
Have you read my last post about my spring favorites? You can here!