I woke up as my door was opening, sure I was about to be robbed or murdered or raped or something awful, but it was just the maid. I don’t know why she (or he, I wasn’t wearing my glasses and I’m completely blind without them) was coming in, as I had the door bolted. It (the maid) squeaked and left as soon as it became aware of my still-slumbering body, though. I couldn’t fall back asleep after that, so I got up for the day.
I don’t think I’ve told you about my new face wash, yet, and it’s real important. I’m obsessed with it.
It’s $20 and worth much more. Since I’ve been in California, I’ve noticed that my skin is looking rather dull and moderately less attractive than before. I was not having this, so I took myself to Kiehl’s at the Grove and was at first gobsmacked at the high prices but then equally gobsmacked at the results. I use it about every other day and I’ve noticed a great difference in my skin tones. Blackheads that I’d just become accustomed to are going away. My skin is brighter and super smooth. I even considered shaving. I haven’t shaved since October 29 of last year. I like a bit of scruff because I think it’s attractive and it also disguises little bumps and bits on your face that you don’t want the peasants to see. Anyway, I’m very poor right now (don’t tell anybody, I’d be so embarrassed), but once I get some more money, I’m going to be ordering more products from them to keep my face looking stunning. I need moisturizer and sunscreen and everything. I’m easily obsessed. Back to the narrative.
I opened the window to judge the weather and what kind of outfit I should put together for the day. Gurl, it was cold! I couldn’t get over it. I was freezing. Like I’ve mentioned before, nobody ever told me how chilly it gets in California. I knew that the water was cold, we talked about it all the time in sixth grade social studies, because of the gulf stream, but I had no idea that it would change the climate so much! 70 is about as high as it gets there! That’s great in the daytime, but the nights fall into the lower 50s! Too brrrr for me! So I put on extra jackets.
I WANT MY GLOVES! I WANT A SCARF! WHY DIDN’T I BRING MY DENIM JACKET THAT MAKES ME LOOK SUPER CUTE?
I had made a list of bakeries to visit and grabbed a map and delightedly went out into the street. I still felt that this was a wondrous place and that it was perfect and I was so excited to go out exploring. I never felt that way in Hollywood. I just wanted to stay inside and that’s not like me at all. Not here, I knew from the second I stepped out that I would be out all day long!
This was the first graffiti I saw. How cheerful!
I was making my way up to Union Street to have a late breakfast at a bakery called La Boulange. The buildings and houses absolutely delighted me. I was curious about all the power lines, though. I’m a big fan of buried power lines. They’re out of sight and out of mind and won’t be knocked out by a tornado or an ice storm. That’s surely something they don’t have to worry about in San Francisco. Maybe it has something to do with earthquakes?
I made it to Union Street and it was FLAWLESS. It reminded me of a street in Paris. No real reason for this and when I try to explain it to my brain how to explain to you, I can’t think of an example, but there was a sentiment or a character that recalled that beloved city to me and I felt completely at my leisure.
La Boulange was also FLAWLESS. I had a ratatouille tart and an Orangina and a mango macaron.
It was absolutely delicious and I knew that I would be back again many times. I loved the plate and the crisp tart shell and Orangina is amazing. Who ever would have thought that I would care for orange soda? I never did.
After my wonderful meal, I continued up and down the street, poking into the shops. I wanted these pillows:
Then I realized that I could make them easily, so I just took a picture for reference. I’ll have to make a few this winter when I’m dying of seasonal depression.
I died when the bus went by. They’re completely electric. They get their power from these lines that are above the road. I had before assumed this was just the city’s power supply, but this was even more wonderful. I about wept actually, I love green things.
The next stop on my list was a place called The Buena Vista Cafe. The diver on the train last night had told me that I simply had to go have one of their Irish coffees. I’ve been curious about this drink ever since I read an article my pastry spirit animal, David Lebovitz, had posted ages ago.
I was charmed by how well-organized the city felt and how easy it was to navigate and how small it seemed to be. Again, like my Paris. Paris is massive, of course, but you can so easily get around.
It wasn’t long before I found myself at the bay and I loved it. It was gloomy and cold and foggy and there was no reason I should have approved of that, but I did. I can’t understand it. I can’t begin to fathom why I should like mist and chill. I hate it at home, but here, it just felt so right. It was like Victorian London mixed with modern Paris and there was an overabundance of antidepressants in the water supply.
Nearer than I had ever imagined was Alcatraz. Sadly, there were no night tours taking place while I was in San Francisco, so I didn’t get to go on their ghost tour. I have no doubt in my mind that I’ll return to this wonderful city, so I’m not too devastated.
The vandals here are poets!
I walked out onto one of the piers and gasped as I turned around. There was Ghirardelli Square, where my favorite chocolate originated. Sadly, the main factory is no longer here, but I still felt the soul of the chocolate there — I’m a bit crazy about Ghirardelli. It’s perfect. It’s the only kind I use in all my snacking and baking.
I was so content to wander along the bay. I loved it so much. It’s just ridiculous.
I stopped by each Ghirardelli store in Ghirardelli Square just to see what kind of samples they would give out. CARAMEL IN EVERY ONE. WHY? I hate caramel, so of course that annoys me, but more than that, I just do not understand. They are famous for their chocolate! Give out chocolates! Give out a variety! There are dozens of varieties, and they insist on giving out burnt sugar. NO!
I literally ran into The Buena Vista Cafe and found a seat at the bar where I ordered an Irish Coffee and befriended the bartender who told me, “You’ll fall in love in three days [with the city] and want to move.” I sighed and agreed and watched as he made my coffee.
It was quite a mess.
An amazing mess. The drink was very strong and I’m not entirely sure if I liked it or tolerated it, but I would drink another — that’s probably the whiskey talking, though. It was a fun place and I highly recommend you go on your trip to San Francisco.
Feeling much warmer, I headed back out and found myself on Fisherman’s Wharf. It was a bit overwhelming since it was filled with people. I ignored them and found myself drawn towards the old ships.
They were so beautiful, and is that Queen Victoria? I couldn’t help but sing this song, to the joy of my adoring audience:
The Wharf is really rather touristy, but I hear that if you come early in the morning, you can watch the sea lions and actual fisherman. I doubted that would ever happen. Me and mornings, you know?
I GOT TIME FOR THIS SHIRT! I cannot believe I didn’t buy it. It’ll be one of those things I’ll regret until my dying day, like those gorgeous Kenneth Cole shoes that were bright pink. I would have rocked them every day. I would have worn through the soles a dozen times. I would have mocked all the basic bitches in their boring brown shoes. Alas, I, like a fool, turned them away in favor of something more common.
I convinced myself that I was starving, so I wandered through the wharves and found Boudin Bakery, which I told you about in my installment on Disneyland. They claim to be the creators of sourdough and have done a great job of marketing their bread as a tourist trap. I was amused. I always delight in businesses that can convince customers to pay loads for what costs them pennies. BREAD IS CHEAP, reader. Take it from a baker. That didn’t stop me from ordering a bread bowl loaded up with tomato soup and devouring it. I thought the quality was better in Disneyland, funnily enough. (Funnily enough, funnily is a word. Who knew?) It was good food and very filling since I was eating a boule twice the size of my stomach, but it tasted rather pedestrian and stale. I was not terribly impressed, though amused, as I said before.
I enjoyed watching the bakers make the bread though, and they turn it into quite the show. Outside, you can look in through these massive windows and watch as they turn chunks of dough into bears and crabs and other delightful creatures.
I was most impressed with the crocodile because I love crocodiles, but sadly they weren’t working on those that afternoon. I fell madly in love with this machine:
You drop a massive chunk of dough into the base, tell it how many equal pieces you want, shut the lid, let it work for a second, and then open it back up to reveal perfectly portioned pieces of dough ready to be shaped. I had an orgasm.
The bakers really don’t have to do much. You needn’t knead (see what I did there?) the dough or mix the dough or anything like that since there are machines for it. You load them up, move the dough to another machine, form it, let it rise, and put it in an oven. Simple pimple. I envy them.
I wanted to take a trolley ride down to the Castro, but I didn’t have any cash. In Iowa, you can go anywhere and buy a piece of candy and get $20 cash back. This, for reasons I cannot fathom, is a concept that does not seem to exist in California. Why? Why this struggle? I went into this chocolate shop hoping they would have this option.
They did not, but they did have pretty amazing chocolate. Their espresso was a travesty, though, like…ermahgerd. Tasted like acid.
In hopes of finding some money, I trotted down to the Ferry Building which houses a beautiful indoor market. I wanted all the things, but I haven’t hardly a dollar for anything but necessities like trolley rides. THERE WAS AN ATM! THE ATM WAS OUT OF CASH! How does that even happen? What point is there in an ATM if there isn’t any money inside of it? Thankfully, there was another ATM on the other end of the building that was proper. I finally had money!
I walked out on yet another wharf — I just love it, and watched the people fish for sardines.
What does one do with a sardine? It seems like an awful lot of work to eat. I have just done a bit of research on sardines. If I wasn’t already a happy vegetarian, I CERTAINLY WOULD BE NOW. Prepare yourself:
What? Why? Who desires this? I’m so scared.
Looking back from the end of the wharf afforded an excellent view of the city and I sighed contentedly. I feel wonderfully at home here and I regret awfully not spending the majority of my time in California in environs that are not this magnificent place. I have learned my lesson and feel the urge to put on yet another impromptu performance of “San Francisco.” I’m surprised the citizens didn’t arrest me for the number of times I began crooning, “I never will forget…mmmmmmmmmmmmm…Jeanette Macdonald!” Let’s all sing along now!
Sweet Krishna, I love that song. In other news, that is exactly how I act when I’ve had too much to drink. It’s like looking in a mirror after too many margaritas. How drunk do you think Judy was? (Pretty drunk I’d bet.)
Cash in hand and a trolley in sight, I hopped on, looked at the Ferry Building rapidly fading into the distance:
and fought the urge to once again turn into Judy Garland. I pretty much failed.
I mean, how could I resist when those bells kept clanging? So I sang a little, hoping somebody would join in, but nobody did. I just stopped and looked at Market Street pass by…which in turn made me want to sing “San Francisco” again. Why not?
I’m done now, I promise. (For this post, at least.)
The Castro was an interesting place for many obvious reasons. The nudists for one. I take zero issue with nudists. I just don’t know why you’d want to be naked in San Francisco. It’s chilly. You do know what happens to a gentleman when it’s #totesbrrrr, yes? So…why would you want to do that in the Castro of all places? Whatevs, do anything you like, just don’t kill anybody. (Not saying that nudists are murderers, that was just a generalization.)
I was in the Castro, this was a joke, yes? If not, shame on the owner! Hilarious either way.
There were books about London strewn all over the place. Is there a reason for this? Is it a demonstration of some kind?
Also, is it a thing to bark at people? Because…I was barked at twice. More of a, “WOOF.” Bear with, I’m googling…bear with…bear with…HOW FLATTERING! Here’s the definition from Urban Dictionary:
In the gay community, it’s an adjective used to describe a sexy guy, but not the feminine kind of guy, but a more masculine guy; one who you wouldn’t identify as being gay if you saw him on the street.
1) If you see a hot guy, you say: “Woof!”
How very sweet of them!
These were very excited dolls who were really into being activists.
The Castro was a fun place. I don’t think I’d like to live there so much, but it’s a great place to visit and people watch and learn all sorts of things you never knew you never knew about.
I hopped back on the trolley and then gave a lot of thought to something that has been very curious about San Francisco: there are French people everywhere. This is very confusing for me since I’m basically French. Is this a major tourist destination for them? I think I would know this. I’ve met and know many French people. I don’t know of any that have been to California, let alone San Francisco. French people go to the Mediterranean or other places in the south of France…not northern California. They weren’t Canadian because I could understand their French. I don’t have a clue what French Canadians are going on about. An example:
God, I love this show! I mean, Mon dieu, j’adore cette emission! On va regarder un peu plus!
Back to San Francisco…
The French are everywhere! I love it because I can eavesdrop on two languages at once!
I was famished and wasting away, so I had to find a place for dinner. I contemplated another soup bowl, but I couldn’t bring myself to something so basic, not in this wondrous city that I already considered my own. So, I googled vegetarian restaurants and came upon Greens. Sounded good, so I attempted to put it in my map program. It refused to work, so I called my mother to give me verbal instructions. Her instructions made no sense. If I had followed them, I should have plunged into the sea! Finally, my phone loaded and I discovered that the place is very near my hotel. #convenience.
The only inconvenient part was that it was a bit of a walk and it was real cold. Like, I couldn’t feel my fingers. Like, reader, I thought I had hypothermia.
It took me a good long time, but I finally made it in and was so happy to be someplace warm again. It’s like November, but it’s July. CRAY.
It was a much nicer restaurant than I had anticipated (and also famous and well-established, though I’d never heard of it before) and I was excited to try such a renowned place. You know how I love fine cuisine. I shovel money into those places.
It didn’t take long to get my seat and I tremendously enjoyed looking at all the wonderfully dressed people. I was not so well dressed — light wash jeans, reader, I felt disgusting — but the place was dark and moody and nobody paid my pants any mind. My face is awfully distracting, you know? (Let me know if I’m getting too modest. Kind regards.)
Greens is situated in something that seems to be an artist commune. There are several long buildings that house a variety of…for lack of a better word…artsy things. The restaurant itself is stunning on the inside. Massive windows look out onto the bay, which was gorgeous all lit up at night.
This photo does the place zero justice, but neither of my cameras work well in dim lighting. I really need to get a new camera. Also, to further compliment them, they gave me a good seat on the first try! I’ve become a bitch about where I sit because I can never watch the people or my surroundings. Here, I was given a table where I could see EVERYTHING. It was too divine.
My first course was, of all things, pupusas. They were stuffed with squash and squash flowers and asiago and a variety of other things and they were really good, but the highlight of the entire dish was this little side salad of green beans that came with it. I don’t normally care much for this kind of bean, but I about passed out as I ate them. DIVINE. Such flavor. The vegetable quality in California is ridiculous. I didn’t know they could be so good. I’d move just for the tomatoes. And the avocado was life changing. Put avocado on your pupusas, reader, you’ll thank me.
To drink, I had something called a lemon verbena spritzer that was excellent. I had to refrain from guzzling the entire thing!
It wasn’t long before my main course came, and I found that a bit more lackluster than the first course, but still delicious. It was kebabs of fire roasted vegetables and tomatoes with a spicy sauce on top. Perfectly good, but felt a bit tame and uninspired. What was worlds better was, again, the little side salad. “These are lovely little tomatoes,” I muttered as I popped one into my mouth and promptly passed out. THEY WERE BEETS. I freaking love beets! BEETS! BEETS! Give me all the beets in the world! Sweet Buddha!
I finished that off and ordered dessert, of course. This was the only real disappointment of my dining experience. I had a chocolate torte that tasted overdone. Dry and rather flavorless. The accompanying raspberry sorbet was exquisite, though, as was my espresso.
All in all, a great time, and a very expensive time!
I just love San Francisco. I happily walked back to the hotel where I contentedly drifted off to sleep. I wasn’t ever really content in Hollywood. San Francisco feels like home.
Hey…I made a mere mention in this blog..:) Glad you remember your lessons from me….anytime there is a large body of water nearby, temps will be modulated~~and I too LOVE beets..had some fresh from the garden last nigh, yum. See you in a few!
I’m still learning my umpteenth time through sixth grade!