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I didn’t go to the Golden Gate Bridge

January 13, 2011

So I ended the trip about 3 days ago so I am a little late on getting my views and reviews of the city on the site. It was a good trip. Didn’t really follow the itinerary but that is always how it goes. As I said before first impressions were somewhat negative, the homeless the differences in areas and wealth and the hills kind of sucked. But I was tired, just had traveled all day and perhaps my quick reactions were somewhat slued. The best way to talk about the trip is to break it up into days. As I already said the first night there I just took a walk around, a long walk around but it was a good way to see a lot of the city and as it turns out it was a part that is not as touristy as others which is pretty cool.

On the First day we started everything out by going to Jenny’s favorite restaurant called Honey Honey. It’s near the Union Square area. It’s a really good, low-key breakfast and lunch place. Crepes and Omelets dominate the menu and the orange juice is freshly squeezed the place is good. We then went for a quick walk through Union Square and then headed over to pier 33 to Alcatraz. Alcatraz was a great attraction. It seems as though it is something that the locals don’t do; I haven’t ever been to the top of the Empire State Building. The place is creepy and you can go into some of the cells, which is pretty cool. It is an island soaked in history and that makes for a great tour and a cool place to visit. Right after we had to get some lunch and we went to Nick’s crispy tacos. This place is one of the few places that is almost anywhere you look in the top 5-taco places in the city; quite an accomplishment for a city that has hundreds of taquerias. It was good, I think that we went there in the mid afternoon might have given us some of the leftovers from the lunch rush but you got to get the tacos and you got to get them Nicks way. They are good though, probably better than anything you can get on the east coast and that is saying something about the tacos that we got later in the trip. Later that night we decided to go to a restaurant called Zani located on Market st. in-between downtown and the Castro. What the place is known for is a full chicken that is soaked in spices and seasoning for 2 days and then cooked to order. And it is fantastic. It’s a fancy place and it is worth it, this chicken is amazingly seasoned the skin is perfect and the meat is juicy and tender. I loved it.

Day 2: We got a late start to the day and went to Mama’s for brunch. We got the recommendation from Jenny’s sister. It was one of those places that the locals all know about and those that were willing to stand in line are always willing to stand in line and can’t say enough good things about it. There is always a line out the door and I am sure that on a Saturday and Sunday it is over an hour wait. We got there on a Friday and were standing there for about 30 minutes before we got inside. Inside you then stand in line even longer but you get to watch them cook all the food. You order at the registrar and then wait for a seat; I know a lot of waiting, but it is worth the wait. Omelets, French toast seem to be the things to go for and you should get some of the bakery stuff as well, the crumb cake they warm up for you and it is wonderful. Overall the place is an amazing breakfast place, great omelets, gourmet food for a normal price, just be prepared to wait and wait and wait. After that we went to coit tower that is not too far off but you have to start the hike of the hills. We then walked to the Fisherman’s Warf. This seems like the touristy area of the city and they have tons and tons of seafood, but I was weary of it, high prices and everyone is making the same thing. I am sure that it is fine food but it seems like it is chilling there since the morning and it was just too touristy for my liking. From there we went for a walk through the Italian North Beach, back past Washington square where Mama’s is and then to China town. We got some advice from a friend that we had to try House of Nanking. This is another place that I guess you should expect a line. We got there around 2:30 so it was still busy but you can sit right away. Once I saw the picture of Keanu Reeves with one of the waitresses that are when I knew I was in the right place, kind of. The food came out and the dumplings were like any other dumplings nothing spectacular but the sesame chicken was delicious. It was fantastic; it had this really crispy outside and was succulent and tender on the inside. Something that all other Chinese places lack is that really crispy outside and that is what made it so good. I’d go back.

The last full day there we decided to take a better look at the Mission and the Castro. This is the same part of the city that I went to the first night but did not get to eat at La Cumbre Taqueria where I had wanted to go. We took the BART there this time to the 16th street and just walked a few blocks over to La Cumbre taqueria. We decided since both La Cumbre taqueria and Pancho Villa Taqueria were both so highly ranked all over the web that we would have to try both. So we went to La Cumbre first and their tacos were amazing. The steak was so good that you just didn’t want to stop eating it the flavors were amazing, the atmosphere was great, I was so happy that we had been there. Then we went to Pancho Villa; Pancho was much more developed and commercialized. I didn’t like that about it, it seemed as though it had gone away from its roots. But the tacos were great. I would say that Cumbre had the better ingredients but the soft taco shell and the chips that come with it were better at Pancho. I think I would go to La Cumbre but I wouldn’t mind if someone got me some take out from Pancho. After that we decided to walk off the tacos and we walked up to the Castro then took the F train back down to Union Square. You start to get over the homeless and you accept the hills but when you are on that above ground train it is like a homeless and crazy magnet. It is a cool way to get around the city for 5 bucks but it is an experience with the type of people that get on the train. To end off the trip we went to the Presidio and ate at the Presidio Social Club. This place was cool. Great restaurant with great food and a great atmosphere, the burgers were great, just be prepared to pay 50 bucks a person. What is really cool about the place is the building is an old military barracks and so it gives it this fantastic atmosphere. I really enjoyed it.

Overall I would say that my trip to San Francisco was a huge success, you might notice that I didn’t really get a good feel for the night life but lets just say I went on this foodie vacation, having American cuisines, Mexican and Chinese and all of them were delicious. In all I think that with all the walking and the places we went, we almost got all around the city. I am sure that there is more to discover but I think that San Francisco felt like more of a city that I would like to visit again that a place I could see myself living in. That being said I really do hope that I get there again because it was a great time!

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