The San Francisco I have frequently overheard being discussed by tourists, bears little resemblance to the San Francisco that I know and love. It’s been years since I have ventured into the touristy throng at Pier 39, Fishermans Wharf or wait in long cable car lines to climb Knob Hill. The San Francisco that I love contains a wildness of nature, hiking trails with vistas that offer views of spectacular sunsets, the ever foggy and delightfully cold ocean beach with it’s quaint little collection of shops owned by local craftsmen, surfboard makers and artists along with the culinary delights of Outerlands.
So, when it came time to take our youngest child Carissa to school (Pepperdine University in Malibu California), Carissa and I wanted to take the long way. Flying into San Francisco and revisiting some of our favorite places such as the gorgeous Marin Headlands with it’s quaint little white frame hostel, and home to some incredible memories with oldest daughter and sister, Christina. Revisiting a place that holds such powerful and poignant memories of Christina is a daunting endeavor to say the least, but an experience that we would never want to avoid, embracing the richness of exquisitely beautiful memories on one hand and yet overwhelmed by the reality of the earthly loss on the other. Alas that is the subject for a future blog post to explore so I will not dwell on that here. This is a trip about making new memories layered over a treasure chest of ones prior, honoring the past if you will, by celebrating the present.
Carissa and I started off our San Francisco adventure with renting a scooter, the absolute BEST way to experience the sights sounds and smells of San Francisco. We explored The Mission District first, checking out one of Christina’s favorite coffee places, Sightglass Coffee where we later met up with photographer and Badjao Bridge founder Dan Johanson to discuss an upcoming mission trip to the Philippines. Carissa enjoyed this conversation, learning a lot about life in the Philippines from Dan.
Carissa and I enjoyed the usual stop at Bi Rite grocer, the best place for organic fruits and all things delicious, followed by a late lunch at Tartines where we savored The humbolt sandwich – humbolt fog goat cheese on walnut bread and a delicious salad. Tartines is something of a institution in The Mission District, known for their fresh baked croissants, something we very much enjoyed with our latte. Ocean Beach is another favorite, always foggy and chilly which makes the soup at Outerlands all the more appealing! Eating twice at Outerlands in a city that has so much to offer in the gastronomic arena speaks of our love for this place. Not only is the food delicious but the people watching is the best! We enthusiastically enjoyed our selections of -Little gem salad with cucumber, puffed rice, pear, pink peppercorn along with the Vadouvan curry chicken Ragout with farm egg, pine nuts and squash ghee. On a subsequent visit we enjoyed (and I quote from my travel diary) “an amazing lunch! Fried eggs and bacon- with pickled green tomatoes, provolone, aïoli. Tomato soup with other brother olive oil, cumin, coriander and the Glazed doughnut with chocolate, smoked salt.
Let me take a moment and just say, before you decide to have us “institutionalized” for photographing and detailing our meals, there is a bigger reason for this than just making a big ado about eating. I have found that meals, at least the good ones, contain fascinating and meaningful memories of conversations and interactions that are worthy of recollection. A photo of such never ceases to remind me of the conversation that took place surrounding the meal and even memories of the day. Memories which involve someone of familial significance are memories treasured and worth remembering. I have photos of memorable meals from years ago that revive a detailed recollection of the conversation and events of that moment that would have been long forgotten without the memories recalled through that photo. Ok, that is the end of my meal-photo rant 🙂
Our gastronomic experiences in San Francisco were rounded out by a visit to Roam Burger where I always order a favorite that was detailed as follows in one of my favorite blog posts of Christina’s. and I quote from her Whimsical Girl By The Bay blog post-
“this is the best burger i’ve ever had (and i’ve had a lot of burgers). it had an egg on it with a slightly spicy chili sauce. yum. when you add a blue bottle coffee shake, zucchini fries and a ginger lime soda i was in heaven. i highly suggest you eat there this weekend.” Christina
Last but not least, was the highlight of our trip, Dinner with Swiemo!! Sarah Wiemero, a very special friend of Christina’s that she met while attending Golden Gate seminary met up with Carissa and I at La Mediterranee. La Mediterranee serves up the best Middle Eastern specialties, right across from the classic Clay Theater where Sarah joined Carissa and I to watch Magic in the Moonlight.
In my next post I will share the highway 1 experience, Pigeon Point Lighthouse, Big Sur and the only waterfall on California’s coast that spills down onto the beach!
Places we liked –