Saturday, March 02, 2013

San Francisco - 2013

We were long overdue to return to The City, the place where we grew up, so we booked travel and are here.   We packed the Brompton Bikes are boarded Delta.  This is what happened:

February 27, 2013 - MSP to SFO
We took the 23 bus to Light Rail and to the airport.  Had a drama-free flight to SFO.  From there it was BART to Civic Center, where we jumped on MUNI to the Castro.  From there a short walk to our Garden Apartment that we found on VRBO.  The weather is great, sunny and about 70.  Perfect.

We grab a quick bite to eat at the nearby Queen Malika Cafe.  They offer dumplings, crepes and Espresso.  Awesome lunch.

We jump on the Bromptons and pedal out to Golden Gate Park, out on 8th Ave through the Richmond District and into the Presidio by way of the Arguello Gate near Senator Feinstein's house.  We pedal over the Golden Gate Bridge and down to Sausalito.  From there its a Ferry Ride back to City.  We pedal back through China Basin, which I don't recognize anymore.  There has been a tremendous amount of growth and gentrification of the area.  For starters, there is now  "T" MUNI line that didn't exist when we lived here.

After getting to the Castro we had a beer at The Last Call bar.  Dinner was at Cafe La Taza on 18th Street.  Great meal, sort of a Spanish-American (I will call it that).

February 28, 2013 - Carrie Rodriguez in Berkeley
We still recognize upper Market and the Castro.   Tower Records is long gone, but there are still may familiar places like Rossi's Deli, the Castro Theatre and the Cheese/Coffee shop near the theatre.  One of the familiar places is Cafe Flore at Market and Noe.  We ate there - split the Crab Benedict, espresso and a croissant.  It was exemplary, a fantastic breakfast.

We pedaled through the Mission District, around the Embarcadero and into the Presidio.  Its a climb out of the Presidio back to the Richmond District, and we decided that Kay's Brompton would be upgraded to 6-speed before our next trip here.

Tonight we have tickets to see Carrie Rodriguez and Luke Jacobs at Freight and Salvage in Berkeley.  We met my cousin Stephanie and her husband Steve before the show for Dinner at Gather Restaurant.  Gather offers a California cuisine, including Charcuterie and pizza.  The food and wine were very good.  Prior to dinner we walked the area near the Downtown Berkeley and popped into a store that sells clothing and met the owners.  It turns out that the family that runs the store are from Milwaukee, second-generation Poles like me.  We have a great conversation about Milwaukee and the state of affairs under the Walker regime in Wisconsin, and about their present and temporary location.

March 1, 2013 - Filoli Visit
Today's breakfast was at the Dolores Park Cafe at 18th/Dolores.  We split a scramble that included  pesto, sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese.  We also had espresso and a croissant.  It was all very good and recommended.

We left the Dolores Park Cafe and pedaled to the San Francisco Caltrain Station, loaded the Bromptons in the Bike Car and got out at Redwood City.  From there it was a 8 mile bike ride to Filoli (Fight, Love, Live) Gardens and Mansion.  Kay had been to Filoli before, this was my first visit.  The tour includes the first floor of the house and the gardens.  The tour is impressive and worthwhile. The weather was perfect, probably 70 degrees and sunny.

After returning on Caltrain to the City we decided to grab a bite to eat at Sushi Boat and then head out to the First Friday North Beach Art Crawl, having discovered that at  We met an Artist from Milwaukee who was a painter, an Artist who made Crystal Art, a Tie-Dye Artist who was friendly and others along the way.  We also went to Al's Attire on Grant Street in North Beach, where I found a sweet set of local and hand-made boots that I had to have.  So - they are mine.  We decided on a cab back, met the owners of the Apartment Jan and Wandralee and called it a night.

March 2, 2013 - Brunch with Jane
Before leaving we tried to reach our last-known friend from the neighborhood... Jane.  The number that we had rang to a fax machine.  It ended up being wrong by one number.  We had also put a card in the mail.  The second day we were here we dropped by her Mission District apartment and left a note.  Jane received both the note and the card, and we met for lunch today at Thorough Bread in the Mission.  We enjoyed a 2 hour lunch and great conversation, followed by a walk through the Mission Dolores Park.

Dolores Park seems to epitomize the gentrification that has occurred in San Francisco since we left in the early 90's.  Today is a Saturday, and the park is full of people of all ages, including many families enjoying the park.  The children's playground area is completely new.  The large Boat structure that was there is gone, and it was replaced by a slide, bridge and other structures that appear to be state-of-the-art.

Dinner was at Woodhouse Fish Company at Market and Church.  I had the stuffed artichoke diner and Kay had a crab sandwich.   It was very good, I recommend.

Tomorrow we have brunch with my cousin Stephanie and Steve at Cafe Flore, then its off to the airport and back to Minneapolis for us.


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