18 May 2015

San Francisco by janosilva

4/5

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Sara's conference started today so I was on my own. I got an early start and started walking up town on Market St and some of the surrounding streets. My objective was to walk to Blue Bottle to get those eggs in a basket I'd seen at the Oakland location. Unfortunately that was not something they did at this one so I left empty handed, disappointed, and hungry. I walked around a bit more and then took the BART to The Mission district.

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I was told to check out The Mission district for its graffiti, in particular Clarion Alley which is entirely covered in it. It was pretty cool.

The Bay Area seems to really embrace graffiti as an art form as opposed to fighting it. Street art is ubiquitous here; from small pieces on the sides of trucks to murals covering entire walls of buildings, it seems like you're never more than a two block radius away from at least one piece of art.

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Someone recommended that I go to Tartine Bakery while I was in San Francisco, so I looked it up online and saw that this place was something like Georgetown Cupcake in DC. Not in that they both serve the same thing but in that they are both a small locale and ALWAYS have a line coming out the door. People did rave about how awesome it was though so I figured if I went early enough it probably wouldn't be too bad.

Low and behold when I arrived there was a line out the door. It didn't look too bad though so I figured it was probably worth the wait. I was right.

It was hard to pick just one of the pastries and since I was alone it wasn't like I could split two different ones with someone else, so I had to pick wisely. I looked around and saw that the Morning Bun was a popular choice and decided to go with that. The thing was decadently delicious with a crunchy, caramelized crust and a soft, buttery, flaky inside. It paired up simply perfect with a cup of coffee.

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My cousin, Jose, moved to San Francisco at the beginning of the year to start a job at Twitter, so Sara and I met up with him for lunch and he showed us around the office. Unlike a lot of the tech companies which have their head quarters outside of the city and shuttle their employees in and and out, Twitter's HQ is located right in the center of the San Francisco financial district, which is a perk in and of itself, but there is oh so much more.

For starters, the average age of the people working there could not have been more than 30. This is in complete contrast to my office where in comparison I might as well say I work at a retirement home. There are two levels worth of cafeteria where everything is free; breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Not just for employees but for their visitors as well! And the food was actually good! What else? Oh let's see, they also had beer fridges and booze stations, free! Smoothly stations, free! DYI espresso and coffee and snack stations throughout the whole building, free! Lounge areas, completely open floor plans, Macs, nap pods, and apparently happy hours on the cafeterias..... Yeah, it was pretty awesome.

Let's just pretend for a hot second that I'm not totally jealous.

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After lunch Sara had to go back to work so I continued exploring on my own. I made my way out to the Haight to check out the hippies neighborhood. From there I decided to go check out the Golden Gate again. I'd given up any hope of getting interesting light (it was always overcast) but after seeing the top of a power tower covered in fog I thought maybe I'd get something similar at the bridge... Noooope. Just regular, boring, gray skies. So much for getting any cool shots of the bridge on this trip. Finally, I finished up my tour in Chinatown. I'd like to say I enjoyed it a bit more but by that point I was pretty exhausted and really just walking through it on the way to our hotel.

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San Francisco has the oldest and one of the biggest China Towns in the US, which makes sense when you think about it since it was the port of entry for people coming over from Asia. Naturally then the city is known for its great, authentic Chinese Food, and I love me some Chinese food! So that's what we did for my birthday dinner.

After some online research we settled on R&G Lounge because it was both close to our hotel and had been featured in No Reservations. Of course when we got there there was a massive line outside. The host told us it would be at least a 40 minute wait. We thought the fact that at least 60% of the people waiting were actually Chinese was probably a good sign, so we decided we'd wait. Lucky for us a lot of the people who were ahead of us were either not paying attention or had decided to go elsewhere because she called something like 10 parties in a row before us who didn't come up so we were seated in about 20 minutes.

We had the Salt and Pepper Scallops as an appetizer and they were simply fucking spectacular. Thinking back on it they probably set the bar too high for the other dishes to compete. We got a Steamed Crab (which was huge), Seafood Stir Fried Noodles, and the R&G Special Beef marinated in the "special secret" sauce. The noodles were actually pretty bomb, but the beef was just OK, and the Steamed Crab was no bueno. No worries though, the good dishes more than made up for the OK and bad ones. I would recommend this place to anyone and say that the line is worth the wait just for the scallops alone. They also have Salt and Pepper Calamari (as another appetizer) and Salt and Pepper Crab (as an entree) which I imagine are deep fried in the same amazing batter as the oysters.

We were too busy devouring our food to take any pictures.