We were driving right by them, so we stopped to peek at the Painted Ladies. Two of them were under construction and covered up, but the scene still transported me back to the early 90s, when Uncle Jesse was the hottest guy I'd ever seen, and the Olsen twins were babies. What a great fucking show.
The light was wrong for photos -- maybe I'll come back!
After lunch, we drove over to the Presidio so I could get my first sighting of the Golden Gate Bridge.
There was an Off the Grid picnic happening that we stumbled into -- a "roaming mobile food extravaganza," according to the website. Sadly since we'd just stuffed ourselves at B-Star, we weren't hungry. (No regrets, though!)
Merideth took us through my new favorite neighborhood (or street, at least) -- Hayes Valley! How cute is this strip of shops and restaurants? I bought a hat, and Merideth bought a veggie print for her kitchen.
After the sun went down, we got some dinner at the Spaghetti Shack. Even though I've been staying away from pasta lately, I got a risotto, and it was delicious! A bit surprising for a hole-in-the-wall place with a small dining area and low, bar-type lighting.
After our little photo walk, Erik and I picked up his wife from their house and headed to Trick Dog, in the Mission, for dinner.
This place seems to mostly be a bar, but they have a few tables upstairs for dinner, and DANG is the food good! We got a kale salad for the table that was basically just a massive pile of delicious kale on a plate. We also split an order of fish tacos and some cauliflower, too. Everything was really fantastic.
The best part is, this place is literally two blocks from my friends' house! I must force them to go all the time, haha.
Merideth and Justin both took off work today so we could spend the day together in San Francisco before I pedal off for Climate Ride tomorrow.
We started out at Sutro Baths -- I cannot wait to come back to this place at sunset. What a spot! Really cool ruins, great views of the Pacific (and a peek at the Golden Gate), and just an overall blustery end-of-the-world feeling. Kind of like a mini-version of what I felt in Sagres, Portugal.
We needed lunch, and this Korean BBQ place was nearby and highly rated on Yelp -- so of course, we checked it out.
We were the only ones in the restaurant the whole time, but it was really delicious! A few things I stayed away from (tiny whole fish?!), but the BBQ was incredible, and everything else we ordered on purpose (haha) was awesome, too. I've never had upwards of 25 tiny plates on my table at a meal before, ha!
We were walking down Haight, and Justin goes, "I wanna go in that store with the skeleton in the window."
Well, friends, awesome choice. What a creepy store! Some really awesome art, jewelry, and home decor, though. I also saw a lot of stuff that would inspire some pretty cool tattoos, too. Definitely a unique place!
Joe and I took our ice cream to Dolores Park, where I learned that one of the higher elevation parts near the Castro is called the "fruit shelf" because the gays from the Castro sunbathe there -- often very lightly clothed. Ha!
Loved the view, though. My friend Robb, who is visiting SF from DC this week, met up with us here.
Merideth and Justin saw me out of town with a delicious dinner at Central Kitchen, which is also two blocks from their house. Lucky, huh?!
We sat at the bar since we didn't have reservations, and they were surprisingly full for a random Wednesday night. We had a cheese plate to start, which was awesome, and I splurged on the lamb, which was also incredible.
The waiters were really knowledgeable, and it was a classy place, for sure. It's pricey, though -- in the future, I'd consider it a special occasion spot, personally.
So, remember when my friend took me to LA Bouldering in Los Angeles? Well, after that, combined with meeting my new climber friends in Maple Canyon when I was in Utah, I'm sufficiently intrigued by the whole thing!
Merideth's husband goes to the climbing gym here in SF, so I went with him to see if I want to get a monthly pass while I'm here.
It was still really fun, so I'll definitely be coming back :)
The three of us went to Grub, on Valencia, for dinner. It was pretty empty inside, which is usually disconcerting, but the food was delicious! We made a bowl of mac and cheese for an appetizer, then I had the salmon, which was amazing.
We walked up to Martuni's to see what was going on. There was kind of a karaoke slash sing-along situation going on -- with a really talented piano player behind it all -- so we perched at a table and tried to take it all in.
There were a lot of show tunes, a few Disney classics, and at least two transvestites. And lots of gays. It was so fun!
The room in the back has the piano, but if you want to keep the singing in the background, you can stay at a table out front, or at the bar, and still soak up some of the ambiance.
Random, but VERY San Francisco, and very hipster! The line to purchase anything wrapped around the entire building, so we just looked, but it was fun. There was even a section where you could vote for your favorite plant! I voted for the smallest and most unassuming one I could find, because that's just what I do.
We tried this South Indian restaurant in the Mission, and while it was good, it didn't even come close to matching my happy memories of meals in India.
Except for a few.
I mean, a few meals in India were pretty torturous, especially the one or two that made us sick as dogs.
It's funny how our memories change with time; India was such a intense experience, and I know there were more than a couple of times when I felt downright miserable, but all I feel when I think back about my time there is happiness.
This is a great neighborhood bar in the Mission -- I loved the vibe and loved the cocktails. I enjoyed bourbon for the first time, really, here! (It was a cocktail with pineapple gum, apricot, and something else. It tasted like bourbon, but softer. It was really nice.
It's next door to a place called Foreign Cinema, which is a restaurant that also plays old movies you can watch while you eat. Laszlo does the same -- they project a film onto the big brick wall in the back, which gives the picture a kind of cool texture in addition to the "old movie" feel of it. Gives the whole place a nice atmosphere!
After briefly stopping by a friend-of-a-friend's un-fun BBQ in Lower Haight (and eating some delicious baked beans, actually), we fled back to the Mission and hunkered down at Southern Pacific Brewery for the rest of the day.
And enjoyed a few pitchers of margaritas, obviously, because tequila is what you drink when you want to celebrate America, dammit!
ALSO, two things about the food here:
1. The brussels sprouts are amazing.
2. The pizza with sweet corn and bacon was absolutely WORTH breaking my accidental 6-month streak of not eating pizza. That pizza is what's UP.
We had an invite to watch the fireworks from a friend's rooftop by Embarcadero, but none of us could really be bothered. Plus, it was a bit foggy. So we sat upstairs at the brewery, ate and drank gluttonously, and actually saw a few unofficial fireworks displays throughout the Mission through the huge front windows.
I'm gonna go ahead and call the day an unconventional success.
Heath Ceramics is an awesome modern ceramics store with an attached coffee shop in the Mission.
The dishes are gorgeous, and they are also expensive. You can buy a single coffee mug for $35, or one of the $400 placemats we saw. They also sell a few home furnishings, some stemware, and a few little bags and books and things. Also $13 chocolate bars.
We wandered (carefully), tried out the stretched leather hide chairs and the $7,000 bean bag chair, then were on our way.
After an awkward Uber ride with a brand-new Uber driver who knew nothing about San Francisco and turned the wrong way down a one-way street, Olle and I miraculously arrived at the Fillmore Street Jazz Festival.
It stretched for at least ten blocks and was basically amazing.
We started with corn on the cob, then Olle snagged an oyster and we shared crab cakes, then I insisted on buying a bag of kettle corn, because... kettle corn.
We had a drink, heard some great music, and did a little people-watching. There were three or four main stages, and they hosted some great acts. But on our way out at the end of the day, we stumbled across an unofficial little band playing in the street, and they were so much fun! This is what I love about music festivals -- the side street acts that are often better than the featured bands. The French Quarter Festival in New Orleans was the same; we saw some of the best music away from the main stages.
This was the first and only game of the World Cup that I actually watched, and I waited in line for an hour and a half to get in at Mad Dog in the Fog -- which was filled, quite literally, to the brim -- so I only saw the second half (and overtime).
Densely packed sports fans in a place that only serves beer is not really my scene, but the energy was really fun, and when Germany won and everyone went crazy (well, half the bar went crazy), you couldn't help but smile. A friend actually strained something in his shoulder and was at home icing it a few hours later. #truestory Celebration is dangerous!