Tuesday, September 6, 2011

West Coast Road Trip - Day 5: San Francisco

By the next day, the fog had cleared and the sun had come out. We were finally in San Francisco, my favorite city in the whole world. Since we had spent the last four days basically in and out of the car, we decided to keep the Impala parked for the day and explore San Francisco the best way possible: on foot.

We started with a walk through Cow Hollow where we visited the Lyon Street Steps nestled between the Presidio woods and the Pacific Heights mansions. Though not a super touristy spot, these steps are home to many ladies who lunch getting in their morning workouts.

After a quick urban hike, we made our way to the edge of the Presidio where we stopped to check out the Palace of Fine Arts. Last time we were in San Francisco, the Palace of Fine Arts was completely under construction. The amphitheatre was covered in scaffolding, and you could barely walk the path around the lagoon. But now, the construction is finished and the place is gorgeous.

Next, we walked through the Marina, past the Golden Gate Bridge, and over to Russian Hill where we climbed Lombard Street to watch the cars weave their way down the steep hill.

At the bottom, we headed toward Washington Square Park to get some lunch at North Beach Pizza.

We started with a simple Caesar salad.

And then shared a half pepperoni, half spinach pizza. So far, the best pizza of the trip.

Alex was a big fan.

After lunch, we climbed the steps to Coit Tower to check out the view before heading down through Telegraph Hill where we saw the wild parrots and a wild parking meter hidden among the trees in a little garden off the beaten path.

We made a quick stop at the Embarcadero for a walk through the various markets, and then headed down Market Street where we made a wrong turn through the Tenderloin. Whoops, not our best move. At least it was day time, and we hurriedly walked up through the Theatre District and over to Japantown.

We had never been to Japantown before, and though we didn't find a lot there to do, we did climb some nice bridges over the main streets into the Western Addition.

You can't visit San Francisco without checking out the famed Painted Ladies, which were on display in all of their colorful glory over in Alamo Square.

Next we headed down Fillmore to the Castro to have a drink at Harvey's. We took a rest and watched a little bit of Silence of the Lambs on close captioning. If you are grabbing drinks in the Castro and don't know where to go, check out Harvey's. I've loved it every time I've been there. The drinks are strong, the staff is sweet, and the clientele are never dull.

Finally we headed over to Hayes Valley to have dinner with my friends Pallavi and Thomas and Alex's friend Marcus. We met Marcus a little early in a small, casual bar called Momi Toby's Cafe and Art Bar before heading over to dinner at Cafe Altano.

Dinner was fantastic and it was so nice to catch up with our West Coast friends. Alex and I shared a Mozzarella Caprese salad.

Then I had the Spinach Ravioli stuffed with creamy ricotta and dressed with marinara and fresh basil.

Alex had the spaghetti which came with New York mill sausage, fresh tomato, garlic and basil. Sadly, I took no pictures of my friends at all. It was awesome to catch up though, and I finally got to meet Thomas's boyfriend Chad who was completely delightful.

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