San Francisco: The Other 4 Days!

8 Oct

Day 2

James and I had originally intended to go to the Exploratorium but it turned out that it was free entry that day so there was a crazy long line outside. Ugh, I’d rather pay and deal with less of a crowd.

So instead we strolled around the Embarcadero, checking out the various tourist attractions. Pier 31 was the most touristy area; it was full of souvenir shops and this awesome life-sized claw machine. It was something like $3 a try, and James originally considered having a go for the novelty of it. But it’s kind of like, even if you won you’d initially be excited but then you’d be like “… fuck”.

We also spent a couple of minutes running up and down these musical stairs (verdict: better than the ones in New York but still not the giant keyboard of my dreams) We also dropped by The Musee Mechanique, which had all these old timey arcade games that you could play for a quarter. There were also displays that moved when you put money in and some of them were pretty grim: Or porny (there were a few porny ones actually: James found a machine that someone had put a quarter in and abandoned. Score! The likeness is uncanny … For lunch we went to The Slanted Door. Well actually, we had to put our names down and wander around the Ferry Building Marketplace for an hour, but that wasn’t too much of a hardship because there were all these cool food shops. And when our table was ready it was right at the window so we could see the water and it was really lovely. =)

James ordered and Old Fashioned and I had a Pimm’s to start off with. We had the Crispy Imperial Rolls ($12) which were really nice! The sauce was a perfect blend of hot/sour/salty/sweet, especially compared to Seattle where I find a lot of places err on the sweet side. After that we had barbecued pork spareribs with scallion, cilantro and honey-hoisin sauce ($17). Another awesome choice! Then the mains arrived. We split some cellophane noodles with dungeness crab ($20): It was OK but taste-wise I think I was hoping more for those Chinese crab noodles, which for me will always be the height of crabby noodles.

Our other main is apparently the must-order dish at The Slanted Door; the grass-fed shaking beef ($36): I really loved the salty limey sauce that came with this, but someone (*ahem* James) poured the sauce over his beef, leaving a tiny bit of lime sauce and ALL of the salt. So when I dabbed my second beef cube in the sauce it collected all the damp salt and was the saltiest fucking thing I’ve ever tasted. But aside from that it was great.

Then it was time to order dessert! James ordered the chocolate and peanut butter cream pie ($10), which was super chocolatey and dense: But the star of the show was my lychee fairy floss ($5). My back was to the restaurant, so James saw it arriving first and went “oh my God.” It was huge! And did taste like lychees (except towards the end when all I could taste was sweet, sweet sugar)! And was only $5! I was so excited eating my enormous fairy floss; like seriously, I would have been happy with half the size.

It was really nicely done too – a lot of places do fairy floss too dense but this was as light as air. Here I was about 30% of the way through: I know fairy floss is just sugar, and obviously I’ve had tastier desserts, but I’ve never been so delighted at a dessert before. I was just bubbling over with happiness for the 10 minutes or so it took me to eat it. Yeah it’s gimmicky and silly, but I’m positive that on my deathbed if I flash back to the great desserts I’ve had, this one will be on the list.

The whole meal was excellent – very expensive compared to regular Vietnamese food, but we really enjoyed it. Paul told us that he’d heard that per square foot, The Slanted Door is the most profitable restaurant in San Francisco. He also said that it used to be in the Tenderloin, where it used to have a slanted door, hence the name.

Afterwards we walked to the street car, but not before James found another sculpture he could climb:

Afterwards, on Bo’s emailed suggestion, we headed to the Folsom Street Fair. It’s a fair celebrating BDSM culture, and we figured it would be a very San Francisco thing to do. I was FAR too shy to take photos but you can Google Image Search it to get an idea of what it’s about.

It was interesting for the first few minutes, but then we got trapped in the crowd and it took several blocks to get out. =( So yeah, it was definitely a unique experience hoping that I wouldn’t accidentally brush up against some guy’s scrotum as I navigated the crowd. I felt similarly to the Kink tour: definitely not for me, but it’s nice that everyone is so happy.

Day 3

This was James’ first day at work (apparently his whole time there was spent in meetings with various people). I had a nice sleep in and headed towards the Tenderloin to get some salmonella buns. The place with the highest reviews was about a 10 minute walk, so I headed off, this time taking a route that went along the border of Lower Nob Hill and the Tenderloin (apparently that grey area is called the Tendernob).

They were $3.75 each and pretty good (especially the bread), but I thought the pickled carrot was a touch sweet; I prefer mine tangier like the places in Melbourne do it. Also I came back on the last day and tried the pork pate – ugh. Fanci pork was definitely my favourite, but I don’t think this place can touch Nhu Lan or Lee Lee’s in Melbourne. =(

Also on the way back to the hotel I passed a woman screaming at a man I assume was her pimp. The gist of the argument seemed to be that he thought she was letting herself go but she thought she still had it. Anyway, at this point the guy gestured towards me (trying very hard to mind my own business, walking as fast as I could) and said “look at that! You didn’t have that when you were eighteen!”

Eep. I totally hunched down and walked faster.

I chillaxed at the hotel for a bit and in the afternoon went for a jog. I ran along the Embarcadero then up a billion (I think actually like 400) steps towards Coit Tower, down the steps, back up and down, then back to the hotel. It was definitely a tough run – though I guess the killer views made up for it. I kept hoping to see the famous parrots of Telegraph Hill, but alas. =( I did catch this little cutie though: She was sitting on a fence accepting pats from random people. Every time I passed her I totally used her as an excuse to stop.

When James got back to the hotel we went to the Mission for dinner. It was a little hole in the wall place called Poc Chuc that has great reviews online. It’s supposed to be Mayan cuisine. I don’t really know what that is or how it differs from Mexican food, but it was delicious! Unfortunately I was full from my late lunch, but did gorge myself as much as I could.

We started off with the fried plantains ($6) which were bundled of fried, sweet, soft goodness: Then came a Mayan platter ($10) with a bunch of different things on them, all delicious.

Panucho: Hand made tortilla filled with black bean puree, slightly fried, topped with shredded turkey, lemon marinated cabbage, pickled red onions and avocado, sprinkled with ground black pepper

Salbute: Hand made tortilla puff, slightly fried, topped with shredded turkey, lemon marinated cabbage, pickled red onions and avocado, sprinkled with ground black pepper

Empanadas: Half folded hand made tortilla stuffed with ground pork, served on a bed of black bean puree and tomato/onion sauce

Tostada: Crisp corn tortilla topped with black bean puree and queso fresco

Kotzito: Crisp taco covered with tomato/onion sauce and queso fresco

Dude. $10! For some reason James ordered an extra beef taco (I can’t find it on the menu but I think it was $2 or $3): We also ordered the poc-chuc ($14) – James: “it’s eponymous!” – which was citrus marinated pork with vegetable bouillon rice, black bean puree with grilled tomatoes and onions. It came with a side of tortillas as well. Everything was great – the fact that the lady serving us was lovely and the food was dirt cheap was a bonus. If you’re in the area it’s definitely worth going.

After dinner on the way to the bus stop we saw a guy get arrested! We’d stopped at the pedestrian lights and a police car went past us with its siren on, and then a few seconds later we saw it coming back in the other direction. I sort of snickered at the idea of the police getting lost, but then it stopped and another police car showed up, blocking the traffic. Four cops jumped out and some guy walked on the street held up his hands while they pushed him against the wall and handcuffed him. Pretty exciting!

Day 4

While James was at work I did some sprints on those awesome steep hills around Union Square. Delightfully vomitous. Here is James on the same hill last time we were in San Francisco: Fuck me that was a long hill. =/

Afterwards I rewarded myself with a sandwich from Bite. I ordered the Gouda Good, which was gouda, pepperhouse sauce and Bite’s famous rotisserie chicken on their equally famous dutch crunch bread. It came with a free lollipop!

The sandwich was pretty good (drippy, but good), but sandwiches always suffer a bit in comparison to salmonella buns. Salmonella buns will always be my perfect sandwich.

For dinner we met up with Paul and Jen for pre-dinner drinks at a bar and then a late dinner at Mason Pacific. No photos because it was one of those trendy dim-lighting kind of places – plus we had 2 bottles of wine between the 4 of us so I was super tipsy.

It was great catching up and getting information about San Francisco – just in case we ever decide to move there. =P The food in San Francisco blows Seattle’s out of the water, but housing is much more expensive, there are scary neighborhoods and it’s further from the snow. The main thing is James’ career though, and where he feels the most challenged and fulfilled – honestly I think we could be happy living anywhere, as long as we have each other and the cats (and the internet).

The actual dinner was excellent. We split some fried chicken (possibly the best non-Rose Garden fried chicken I’ve ever had) and feta with pumpkin and chesnuts (also one of the best fetas I’ve ever had).

James and I ordered burgers and Jen and Paul shared a 2-person steak. James had steak envy when he saw how cool their steak was – it came with a bunch of different mustards and salts and weird accompaniments like charred olive oil and pureed kim chi – but our burgers were fantastic. The buns in particular were amazing (I know that sounds like faint praise but it’s not – the buns were really great!).

For dessert we each ordered one of the dessert items (a kind of peanut butter/chocolate cake and three kinds of ice cream – creme fraiche, secret breakfast – which was basically bourbon and cornflakes – and Vietnamese coffee). A super satisfying way to end a great meal!

Day 5

After I checked out of the hotel (the doorman totally recognised me too! He was all like “not going for a run today?”) I took the bus to Japantown where I browsed the little stores there and headed to the Mission to get lunch.

I just went to the highest-rated place on Urbanspoon – it was called Taqueria, but it turned out almost all of the places there are called some variation of Taqueria because I’m guessing it basically means “place that sells tacos”. =P

I didn’t get a picture of it because by then I was a bit hangry (hungry/angry) but honestly it was nothing special. Poc Chuc was heaps better and I should have just gone there again. I picked up some food souvenirs for Mike (fancy local chocolates and bacon popcorn) as a thank you for checking up on the cats and grabbed some katsu curry for James and Dmitri. Right after they finished work we headed to the airport.

We definitely have to go back (again)! Once I get a reservation at French Laundry I want to spent a bit of time in Napa, plus we still need to do Alcatraz and the Exploratorium. One day …

James said that all the guys in the San Francisco office said the trip was really useful so that was good (and bodes well for possible future trips back). =) I do feel a bit silly that 3 out of 5 interstate trips so far have been to California, so maybe we’ll try to squeeze another state in between. It’s pretty cool that since we’re in the US we can visit places more thoroughly than if we went on a whirlwind trip from Australia and I’m definitely looking forward to eating my way through the rest of the US.

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3 Responses to “San Francisco: The Other 4 Days!”

  1. Shiva October 14, 2013 at 7:39 pm #

    Finally here:)

  2. Shiva October 14, 2013 at 7:54 pm #

    Can I please ask a favour? Which neighbourhood do u suggest? Have to find something:) thanks a lot

    • pamperedhousewife October 17, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

      Congrats on finally getting to Seattle!

      It really depends what kind of place you’re after (and budget!) We’re in SLU because it’s close to everything and James can walk to work. A lot of our friends are in Belltown and Capitol Hill, which are both very close to Amazon. Queen Anne is also close and a bit quieter/family-friendly.

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