San Francisco

Trip Start Jun 11, 2010
Trip End Jun 20, 2010

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Flag of United States  , California
Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sun 13 June – Tues 15 June 2010 – San Francisco

Keli – I love San Francisco. I love the steep streets. I love the artistic feel of the city. I love the gourmet vegetarian restaurants. I love the neighborhoods with the Victorian houses. I love it all every time we go there. And yet, even with all that said, I love Santa Monica and L.A. more. It's warmer for one thing and it has the ocean. But, to visit? San Francisco can’t be beat. And the funny thing is, Dave and I have been there so many times recently that we have our favorite restaurants, our favorite places to go, our favorite hang-out spots, even our favorite Farmer’s Markets. It’s become, literally, our home away from home. If we can, we hope to go there every six months.

We found an absolutely fantastic B & B – The Chateau Tivoli – to stay in this time around. It’s housed in a Victorian house in the middle of a fun neighborhood. The room was spectacular. It was on the third floor and had a wonderful turret sitting room off of the main bedroom, with a bay window where you can look out at the city below or just sit and read. The sunlight comes in most of the day and bathes the room in warm light. I spent most of my time there. The bed had a beautiful brass headboard, as well, and the bathroom had a claw-foot tub, old-fashioned brass hand-held shower head and shower curtains ringing the tub. It was quaintly old-fashioned and homey.

The first day we were there, I went to a hip dance studio, called City Dance, which was housed in a warehouse. I took a great, fun hip-hop class from a young gay guy in his early 20s, who made the class a lot of fun. The class was packed, too, with about 30 or so people of all ages and ethnicities. I love the hip-hop teachers that I take dance from in L.A. They’re more polished and professional than this guy was, but it’s always fun to check out a new class with a different style. Hip-hop has so many different sub-categories – popping, breakdance, traditional, etc … -- I’d love to try them all. I love trying new styles of dance. I’ve tried just about everything imaginable from Hula to Belly Dancing and all variations in between. So, whenever I can try something new, I relish it.

The first day, we also went to Greens Restaurant and Millennium, our two favorite gourmet restaurants in town. We went to Greens for brunch. It’s on the water in Fisherman’s Wharf with a beautiful view of the bridge. We always have fantastic gourmet soups and salads there, as well as yummy homemade hummus and delicious Pinot Noir non-alcoholic grape juice (from Navarro vineyards. To die for.) Millennium is in the lobby of a fancy hotel in the theatre district. We went there for dinner. They put together some of the most amazing combinations of vegetables and sauces for some unbelievable vegetarian dishes. Dave and I cannot believe L.A. doesn’t have a gourmet vegetarian restaurant and SF has two!

The next night we also went to our other favorite restaurant, called Foreign Cinema, which shows foreign films on a large white wall in the outside patio dining area. The food is gourmet, the atmosphere is like a French bistro, and the movie adds the perfect touch of entertainment. To top it off, just next to the restaurant is an art gallery with really interesting and provocative modern art pieces. The gallery is open at night, so you can peruse the pieces after dinner.

Dave also had a great time navigating the public transport of the city. We took subways and buses everywhere we went and got to everywhere without a hitch. It was all easy, fun, and environmental, too!

We also went to an amazing Latin Cultural Center. I’ll let Dave talk more about that, but suffice it to say, it’s an incredibly well-run community center with fabulous classes, theatre, an art gallery, everything. Really neat to see such a community-centered business in the Mission district of SF.

One final note, we also went to a really famous bookstore, called City Lights. It’s a great store housed in a building with funky architecture that divides the rooms into all kinds of interesting geometric shapes. Some of the walls are at strange angles and some rooms have tiny corner spaces or wide open walls with windows. Each room has a different feel and a different specialty. We enjoyed taking a nice relaxing break from our busy vacation to sit and look at books. I finished a short story by Herman Melville and Dave read the People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn, which tells the other side of historical happenings that the history books don’t tell you, the side that makes the U.S. look a little less than heroic.

Dave – We just love San Francisco, every time we’ve visited there we have such a great time! It’s truly one of the great cities in the whole world.  Just one of those places where you walk around feeling happy and good all the time.  But to live?  I don’t know.  We both love LA so much, especially Santa Monica.  And here’s what happens whenever we go to San Fran – we have a fantastic time inside our favorite restaurant, or seeing a play, or at a cultural center, and then we go outside and immediately FREEZE!  It’s so cold there all the time!  I think after awhile it would really get to us being too cold every day.  Just like Mark Twain said "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."

But anyway yeah we had a great time there again.  One thing I noticed about San Fran when I lived in San Jose recently was that there is so much community stuff going on in the Bay Area – BioDiesel coops, community gardens, cultural centers, dance studios, etc etc.  Lots of community spirit and you could really BELONG to something in San Fran.  In LA it’s different, much more spread out and less of a cohesive community feel.  I’d like to find some way to bring more of that community spirit to LA too!  I am just in love with Santa Monica and the whole of LA right now and I can’t see leaving any time in the near future.

On our way out of town Tuesday morning we stopped for BioDiesel at DogPatch BioFuels, another very interesting community-oriented business that combines a BioDiesel fueling station (open 7-7, 7 days per week) with an Environmentally-minded tour company taking people on trips in BioD-fueled vans.  Cool!
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