A day in San Francisco

I love going back to a city that I have been to before.  Seeing the changes, watching the growth, and the feeling of being there before and knowing the names of the roads.  Everything seems familiar yet it isn’t. 

Yang_sing
We tried to do as much as possible in a day today in San Francisco to give the kids a feel for the city.  It was Sunday, so we started out at Yank Sing for dim sum.  It isn’t in Chinatown which is the only neighborhood we didn’t get to but the dim sum is quite good.  We got there at 10am.  We weren’t the only people waiting for the doors to open.  There are a few things I like about dim sum.  You get there, you sit down and before you know the place is packed and everyone is eating.  So many people inside that they even have tables that flow into the mall as you can see in this picture.  Carts go rolling by and within seconds you are eating.  The highlights were definitely the tarot root, pea shoot and soup dumpling.  For once I didn’t feel ill after finishing.  Wasn’t like most dim sum which is a bit greasy spoonish.  The food was well prepared and the place was hopping. 

We have a car which is actually a nice thing to have in San Francisco.  The city is spread out and getting around town is quite easy with a car. 

17 years ago, Fred and I came out to San Francisco for a week.  A few days in San Francisco and a few daysSfmoma_2

in Napa.  We went to SFMOMA which was then located in a grim building with two floors of a random collection of modern art.  It was like an after thought.  Looked as if someone rented out a shitty loft and just placed art on the walls.  Such a drag.  A lot has happened in 17 years.  Namely, tons of money from Silicon Valley and an interest in the art world.  The new SFMOMA is fantastic.  The collection is eclectic.  The building has great flow and intimate enough to walk through each floor with ease.  We really did enjoy the permanent exhibit of modern art from Warhol to Jasper Johns to Picasso to Dan Flavin but the exhibit of the day was Olafur Elliason.   I have been watching him for years.  I love his work.  Matching mathematics with science to as he says "experience reality".  His work with mirrors and depth is always fascinating.  I also love his work when human movement changes the environment from water moving to walls moving.  Quite unique.  When you walk out of the elevator, into the exhibit, there are lights that make everyone look black and white.  That is where this picture is taken.  If you are in SF, the exhibit is only up for another week and it is brilliant.   

Afterward, everyone wanted to drive over the Golden Gate bridge.  We drove over and into Sausilito andSaulsalito
stopped for coffee to go at Fred’s.  A local place we found on Yelp.  The coffee is nothing to write home about but it is a local haunt and the pancakes look killer.  If you happen to be in that area, breakfast looks worthwhile. 

Blue_bottle_coffee_shop
We drove back over the bridge and headed over to Hayes Valley driving through the high end area of Pacific Heights.  The area of Hayes that is blossoming is small but I like that it is in the middle of the hills and in a flat area.  Makes for easy walking.  First thing we did was find a good coffee place.  Blue Bottle Coffee Company is a gem.  Housed in a garage, no seats, people lined up down the block for an incredible cup of Joe.  We had the gamete from espresso to cappuccino to mocha cappuccino.  Also took home a few bags of different roasted beans.  Love this place.

We strolled past the park and onto Hayes Street.  First stop, sneaker store, Huf.  Josh got a pair of very cool sneaks.  Huf has four stores in San Fran which carry either shoes, skate and/or clothing.   Next door was True Sake.  Loved this store.  The first sake only store in America (so they say).  The bottles are so beautiful it almost looks like art.  If I was in NYC, I would have picked up a case.  Great concept.  Really well put together.  Especially liked the metal split doors that open into the store.   The rest of the stores were mixed but we did find a clothing store across the street called Dish.  Poured concrete floors, simple and a nice assortment of hip clothes.  The girls got a few goodies thatTrue_sake
we shipped back to NYC.

At this point we really needed a little treat to get us through until dinner.  Emily was determined to go to Citizen Cake.   Elizabeth Faulkner, who is supposedly one of the top pastry chefs in the US, is the master behind Citizen Cake.  There is a restaurant, a bar and a pastry shop.  Not exactly what I expected.  The pastry shop had a variety of chocolates, gelatos and some fancy desserts.  I was expecting slices of cake, cupcakes, tarts, etc.  Everything we had was good but not a knock my socks off type of treat.  A large malomar, homemade peanut butter chocolates, caramel chocolate, chocolate with dried fruit on top and a mint chocolate gelato.  Best part was Josh got a chai tea.  Warmed milk that you pour your steeped chai tea into.  The real deal vs. Starbucks.  Josh had a total reality check when he realized that sugar was needed and Starbucks must put a ridiculous amount in their chai to make it taste the way it does.  That Starbucks chai is a special Chai
dessert treat only to be enjoyed on occasion. 

We had it at this point and made our way back to the hotel to take a chill and do homework.  We are staying at the Hotel Vitale where we have stayed before.  I really like this hotel.  Modern, simple, good service, great beds, nice showers, free wifi and well priced.  A winner.