Friday, December 28, 2018

Another Walking Food Tour of San Francisco

Our friend Marianne and her daughter Emma put together a fabulous itinerary for us after our ice cream walking tour last month.  This one was based in North Beach and Chinatown and was even better than the last.

We started in North Beach, where even the view from the garage roof was stunning

Grandpa joins us!
Our first stop was at a foccacia place; I knew this as it was a favorite of a friend of mine when I worked with her at the fire department.  They close when they run out and were closed when we arrived.   So a false stop, so to speak, but I expected that might happen.  We had a quick, unplanned stop at the Baked Bear, absolutely amazing ice cream sandwiches, then on to City Lights Bookstore, home of the Beatnik movement of the 1950s.  The kids disappeared into the bookstore and had to be dragged out, Gabriana reporting, "Mom, they have so many books about Frederick Douglass!"  In the meantime, we tried to check out Vesuvius, a cafe next door, where some of the Beatnik writers would hang out and write, but they were open only to those 21 and over.  So...

On to the Beat museum.  As this sign says, "What Elvis was to music... What James Dean and Marlon Brando were to film... The Beat Generation was to literature."  It was a unique experience!  I don't think the kids quite got the relevance of the drug paraphernalia and naked pictures, but someday they will read "On the Road" and remember.

And then on to Chinatown and dim sum.  This place was a little hole-in-the-wall with a line out the door.  We got pork buns, scallion buns, and bean cakes to go and they were so good!  This is a photo of some of the kids on the street in front of the dim sum place.  They also stopped in at the Fortune Cookie Company (basically a machine making the fortune cookies and a long line to see it in operation).

Our next stop was unplanned, but my brother-in-law wanted to go into Grace Cathedral, since we were there.  WOW!  Incredible "Doors of Paradise,"  replicas of biblical scenes created for a cathedral in Florence.
And then the inside - wow again!
Inside the doors, we saw this:  a labyrinth with doves of peace above.  We also saw a portion of the AIDS quilt, a statue of St. Francis by artist Beniamino Bufano (very similar to one on the NDNU campus).
 Next stop:  The Fairmont Hotel and its Tango Room for fun drinks.

Upstairs at the hotel, we found a walk-through gingerbread house!
 Then on to the cable car museum, pizza and calzones at Tony's Pizza Napoletana, incredible desserts at Stella Pastry and Cafe, a walk up to Coit Tower, and then - for some in the group - another round of pizza.  Super incredibly beautiful night in the city; sitting outside eating under Christmas lights strung across the street; gorgeous views of downtown, the Bay Bridge, the wharf, Marin, and the Golden Gate; and walking through beautiful neighborhoods with fabulous architectural details.  Awesome day, awesome evening.

We started with 15, lost three who decided on an earlier night, then lost five more when they'd had enough, ending with seven hardy ones to enjoy the final fun of the evening.  Ran into three different sets of people I knew throughout the day, too.  Beautiful, fabulous, fun day.  The kids' renewed their hope that we do this more often; love it!  History, food, culture, exercise, beauty, and family fun.

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