Friday, November 29, 2019

Walking Food Tour

It's a favorite tradition!  And though most of those who usually join us opted out in fear of Black Friday crowds, in fact the streets were mostly deserted (no traffic) and not many crowds until the very end.

We had intended to start at the Embarcadero, but street parking was all on two-hour meters (even though there was an abundance of it) and the lots were charging upwards of $64, which seemed excessive.  So we reversed out planned route and found a lot near Union Square for only $21 for the day.

We started in Chinatown, noticing the two "Michael" stores on either side of each other, named for Michael Jackson after he spent $1M at each.  Then we found our intended first food destination:  milky boba tea, apparently a hot fad.  Uck.  Worth trying, but uck (IMHO).  From there, we found moon cakes and sesame almond balls at a Chinese bakery.  I've rarely seen Chinatown so empty - it was great.  We walked it's length and then wandered through North Beach.  The kids got ice cream sandwiches near the Beatnik museum and we walked my Mom over there, since she hadn't been there before (they had).  Then we wandered past the always-closed focaccia place (we tried!) and up steep stairs to Coit Tower. Beautiful views outside, beautiful murals inside.  Then we went down a different, steeper set of mostly-brick stairs to the now-close Julius' Castle restaurant, with its view of the bay.  Then back toward the Financial District, or at least views of it, as we wandered back to North Beach for slices of pizza.  Then back through a less touristy/more authentic street through Chinatown.  We saw a gorgeous rainbow through the buildings and actually turned the corner to find, unexpectedly, several Chinese dragons dancing down the street to loud drums.  From there we walked to to Union Square.  Here we found the craziest crowds and a LOT of police, even on the rooftops!  This we found a little disconcerting (why so many?) so we checked out the awesome gingerbread houses at the St. Francis and then headed out.  Short-ish for a walking tour day (5 hours), but given our timeframe and the rain, pretty perfect.

Stop 1:  Boba Tea
Stop 2 was for moon cakes (no photo).  Stop 3 was for these ice cream sandwiches in North Beach
Headed up to Coit Tower
From Coit Tower, overlooking the bay and Financial District

Interior shot of a Coit Tower mural
Overlooking the Golden Gate from the Coit Tower parking lot (also not overly crowded)

One of the incredible ginger bread houses at the St. Francis

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Thanksgiving Helpers

K set this photo up.  Both girls did a ton to help with the Thanksgiving meal.  We brought tofurkey, cranberry sauce, yam and cranberry casserole, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, apple pie, cheesecake, roasted veggies with garbanzos flavored with harissa on sweet potato hummus, and baked pasta.  Preparing it was only half the work; transporting it and then cleaning up was way more!

Puck and Minerva were good sports about the whole "let's put an apron and some flour on you" set up by K.  Cuties, they are!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Civil War Reenactment

This was perfectly timed - the day after watching "Across," and so set in the same era.  The setting was great - I love the brussel sprout fields of Half Moon Bay!  We'd never before visited the Johnson House, built there in 1853, even before our house.  It was beautifully furnished and costumed docents did a great job with explaining the history.  The battle was a bit hard to see - the view of most of us in the seating area was blocked by pit toilets, but it is always interesting to watch a battle, including gunfire and cannon.  The reenactor who spoke to the crowd specifically encouraged women to get involved as reenactors, shouting, "there is no reason that women should be shut out of understanding history!"  I think the girls would like that... maybe!

Cool view from interior of house

At the end, setting off gunfire together

House, battlefield, and camps in rear

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Previewing the Movie "Across"

We joined friends to preview the movie "Across," which is about the life of Father Augustus Tolton, considered by some to be the first African American priest in the United States.  There's a push to have him canonized and the movie is intended to support that effort.  His life story is certainly poignant - born into slavery, escaped with his mother, brother, and infant sister.  Denied entrance into many theological schools.  Prevailed and was ordained.  The movie had terrible directing, but it left me wanting to learn more about an extraordinary person.