Friday, May 18, 2012

Road Trip Day 6: San Francisco

This day started off with a hearty breakfast at a little place called Mama’s. We knew it was popular so we headed up there around 7:00AM to be sure to secure our place in line (the restaurant opened at 8). 

It took exactly 55 minutes to walk there and we were right on schedule: we were the last ones they let in the doors for the first seating. It was a unique place where you filtered through a quick-service type line, ordered your meal, and then sat to be served your drinks and food. Our legs were heavy and our feet sore, so we ordered very large breakfasts hoping they would fuel us for the long and active day ahead of us.

I had a spinach, mushroom, and cheese omelet with amazing homemade whole wheat bread and grilled red potatoes. Brad was a little confused about what I was eating when he took this; he apparently thought I only ordered bread for breakfast. This picture has been one of the many forms of hilarity we have encountered on our trip so far.

Enticed by the fluffy batter we saw being handmade he opted for buttermilk pancakes. They were sweet, light, and crunchy on the outside. Perfect by Brad’s cake standards.

After our filling breakfast our day took a turn for the worse. We walked up…and I mean UP to Coit Tower hoping to be able to take the stairs to the top for the panoramic views of the city and ocean. We were under the impression that this would be free. However, Coit Tower didn’t open for another hour so we walked back down into the Washington Square area and took pictures of the famous streetcar. 

We hiked our way back up to Coit Tower only to find that it would cost us each $7 to take the elevator to the top and the stairs were closed. Needless to say, we did not see the top of Coit Tower. This peeved us just a little bit but we decided to take the “Muni” bus to the Mission District. Huge mistake. The bus driver wouldn’t let us purchase day passes, as we had been able to do the day before. Then the bus filled up to the gills with people, we could barely get off at our stop it was so jam -packed. It probably would have been just fine if we hadn’t stepped off the bus in the Mission. After a quick look around and a few blocks of walking we knew we didn’t need to see anymore of this area. It was freezing cold, we looked like tourists, and felt like we didn’t belong. We hopped on the next bus and found ourselves in a relaxing and fancy area called the Soma District. 

At the base of Coit Tower

Soma District

Oblivious to the time we began wandering into stores like Urban Outfitters and H&M. Our intentions were to get on the bus and make it back across town to eat at some wildly popular and unique streetcars. At 1:35 we got on a bus and arrived at the food carts at 2:10, ten minutes after they closed. Our day was NOT going as planned. We were tired, very cold, and now hungry without a place to eat.

Thanks to the wonderful technology of Urbanspoon we were able to find the very aptly named Grumpy’s Restaurant and Pub. This is where our day started to turn around. I had the best portabella burger I have ever eaten in my life. It was tender, flavorful, and crisp on the edges. A side of steamed vegetables completed my meal. 

Brad’s burger and garlic fries were the highlight of his day so far also.

Then we visited one of the most interesting, vibrant, and bustling parts of the cities we saw the entire time we were there: Chinatown.

Dried sea cucumber

Various dried goods

We both loved this area despite the crowds and rather disturbingly dirty food markets. The people were kind and it was truly like leaving the U.S. for a while.

To complete our day we walked up the famous Nob Hill, down to the Capital building/Union Square and then back towards our hotel. 

Union Square

Our dinner, which happened to be one of our favorites in the city, took place at the quaint Sotto Mare in North Beach/Washington Square. We sat at the bar, ate sourdough bread and watched the chefs cook.

I had grilled Sand Dabs, a local favorite. They were light, fresh, and very tender.

 Brad had an amazingly rich seafood linguine, it was chock full of seafood. He said it was the most tender calamari he has ever had. We were very impressed with our last dinner in San Francisco.

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