Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco

I've been to San Francisco before.  Years ago.  And I had a great time.  So, I wanted to go back and see more.  Do more. Eat and drink more.  You already know I accomplished that.

 

This was kind of a short trip because it was the second half of our four day trip.  Originally, we were supposed to spend all four days in San Francisco but, I split the trip with Las Vegas over the same timeframe.  I'll write about Las Vegas in the near future.  

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San Francisco in June feels like the fall season.  So, bring your jackets, hoodies, sweaters and pashminas.  However, Napa Valley in June is a typical and expected summer.  It's actually weird how the temperatures are so different.  Even in the city of San Francisco.  One part can be really cool temps and another part 20 mins away can be warm.  Dress in layers is my best advice.  

The drive to Napa Valley is a drive.  Almost two hours.  The last time, I didn't pay attention because we had a driver and drank wine the whole way. I actually drove this time so I felt every minute.  It's not a bad drive. Especially when you have a nice Mercedes SUV rental to drive.  I planned too much for one day.  And I didn't plan my schedule right, which rarely happens.  So, we only went to one wine tasting at Castello Di Amorosa.  This place looks like a medieval castle.  It was whimsical.  I thought a standing wine tasting would be cute so we could see more of the castle.  What was I thinking?  Lucky for us, it was a slow day and we were upgraded with a seated tasting.  Trust me.  Just go for the seated tasting.  We had to pick 6 wines each from a list of 25 wines.  Of course, we combined our powers and each picked 6 different wines so we could taste a total of 12.  I love when the sommelier explains the wine.  All the notes, types of grapes and finishes. I love it.  We ended up ordering four bottles to be shipped.  They were so good and worth it.  We had plans to go to the Domaine Carneros, which is equally as beautiful.  But, we spent too much time exploring the castle and weren't going to make their last tasting time.  They are definitely on my list of things to do for the next time.  I really considered taking the Napa Wine Train.  I almost booked three times.  However, their menu is way too uppity for me.  Eating a fennel salad is not my idea of fun.  But, for those who don't mind a little fennel on a spring mix, go for it.

Time for a superior recommendation.  EPIC Steak.  The restaurant is gorgeous.  The seating is outside on a heated patio.  The view is of the Oakland Bay Bridge, which has moving lights that illuminate the night.  I don't think you can get any better with the ambiance.  The service was great. Food was extraordinary. I had the Garlic Shrimp.  The garlic sauteed shrimp is placed ever so gently inside the missing center of buttered brioche toast. And the circular piece is placed on the side like a biscuit.  The plating and flavor profile was top of the line. I tasted the wagyu steak.  Lord have mercy.  You don't even have to chew the steak.  Now, an 8 ounce steak runs about $180.  But, I promise, it's worth it.  I ordered the mashed potato aligot, roasted mushrooms, sauteed broccolini and "Julia Child's Potatoes".  The mashed potatoes were perfect.  No salt or pepper needed.  And Julia Child's Potatoes is a fancy name for au gratin potatoes.  Delicious.  The broccolini and mushrooms were tasty too.

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I had to venture out this time to see Oakland.  It's literally right over the bridge.  Oakland is also known as the birthplace of the Black Panther movement.  I found the "Serve The People" mural that features Huey P. Newton and a black couple that were part of the party as well. The mural is painted on the side of a laundromat and liquor store.  While taking pics, a gentleman walks past to remind me that I'm experiencing history.  I tell him that I know and that's why I'm there.  He tells me that he has seen me before. And he keeps walking.  It was odd but familiar.  Maybe he has "seen" me before.  I head over to the original Black Panther Headquarters that was located above a bakery. The bakery was closed.  So, I couldn't ask questions for more information.  I assume that the door adjacent to the bakery is how the Black Panthers accessed their office space. We made our way over to the Home of Chicken and Waffles for lunch.  Something about soul food in different places makes me connect with my people.  Also, you never know who you are going to meet. We met a security guard named Officer Clark.  He was in the restaurant getting free food for patrolling the area, I'm guessing. We struck up a conversation.  Within the conversation, he says that his patrol car, service weapon and iPad was stolen the day before. We told him that if he has an iPad then he should be able to track down at least his iPad, if not his patrol car and service weapon too. It was hilarious to watch him walk out the door and follow the path to his iPad and hopefully his other valuables. How does one leave a weapon in the patrol car?? He also made us take his number down just in case someone were to mess with us in San Francisco. I wanted to ask how he would get there and help us with no vehicle or weapon. Nevertheless, the sentiment was very nice. Oh. The lunch was really good. Really good.  

Other than going to Oakland, we travelled around San Francisco to see some popular landmarks and some not so well known sights.  The Golden Gate Bridge is mystic.  It has a ton of fog, a ton of construction and a ton of people. I wanted to walk on the bridge but couldn't find a place to park after riding back and forth across the bridge and taking a few wrong turns.  I was over it.  I was a fan of Full House and wanted to see the house that's on the show.  Anybody remember TGIF on Friday nights?  Well, they did the bait and switch. The aerial shot of the house is of The Painted Ladies on Steiner Street.  The park they are in is right across the street from The Painted Ladies.  But, the actual house is on Broderick St, which is several blocks away.  The door is no longer red and the stairs are not red brick anymore.  Still nostalgic.  I visited Salt & Straw for a quick vegan ice cream break.  Their menu is limited but I enjoyed my ice cream cone.  Lombard Street is the curviest street in the world.  Not only did I walk halfway down and back up.  I drove down it once, circled back around, and drove down it again.  I think it's such an experience, especially since people really live in the houses that line that street.  The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps is art.  When you look up the steps from the bottom, it looks like one complete painting.  Pier 39 is pretty cool.  It has a carnival vibe with some smaller restaurants.  I wouldn't opt to eat at any of the restaurants.  However, Trish's Mini Donuts were something to behold.  They were fresh, soft and sprinkled with just enough sugar.  Went to see the lazy sea lions, at the pier, and circled back for more donuts.  We ended up doing an escape room in Chinatown.  It was interesting.  The game host had on a corset under his t-shirt, he did this weird acting to introduce the game, and then banished us to the attic to complete the escape room.  We escaped.  The only world I can come up with is interesting. 

My only complaint about San Francisco was that I didn't have enough time.  Ok.  Maybe I have a few more complaints.  The cable cars weren't operating, the Brown Estate Winery wasn't open and I didn't get to eat chocolate from Ghirardelli Square or a burrito from Taqueria La Cumbre.  That only means that I have to go again.