I was up in Oakland a few weeks ago for the Southwest Masters Regional Regatta for some races with the team I’m going with to Copenhagen in September. It was a beautiful venue, with some good races…some wonky starts and overall good practice for Worlds, even if we didn’t place in the top three.
OMG..it’s 8:00 & I’m just waking up! Thanks to my childhood best friend, Mary Kay, and her partner, Laura, for the amazing accommodations! My own private room with new bath & inviting patio on a shimmering little lake in Alameda. After a leisurely morning, coffee and a quick trip on BART to SF, I started my day of wandering….
Exiting BART at Embarcadero it’s a short stroll past some local artist booths to the Ferry building. The Ferry building is a conglomeration of upscale eateries and always a good place to start your day in SF, along the water, under the shadow of the bay bridge (hot tip..stop by Sur La Table & they’ll offer you a Nespresso…free cup of good coffee, not a sample…or you could pay $6.00 at Blue Bottle). It’s 11:00, I know the The Slanted Door is just opening, and no trip to SF is complete without their yellowtail appetizer. Four bites of complete, melt-in-your-mouth, flavor. Nice little bite of sustenance to start the day.
I had seen a little segment on the CBS Sunday Morning Show about a short story vending machine & I had to check it out. Cafe Zoetrope, A Coppola Family Restaurant in North Beach, is about a mile and a half from the Ferry Building up Market to Kearney and turn right (less than a mile if you take Washington, but I like all the activity on Market St). Sure enough, right inside the corner revolving door is the short story vending machine. You can choose a 1, 3, or 5 minute story and it just spits out and it’s free. I chose the 5 minute since this was my stop for another small bite, cafe Caesar salad. It was a cute little story and I just felt so European reading in this cafe filled with Coppolla family memorabilia.
The only other short story vending machines are in Europe. I continued wandering up Columbus, stopping in at City Lights Book Store, an eclectic, funky independent bookseller and publisher. It’s been around since 1953 and, if you’re a book lover, worth a stop in to browse the stacks.
I continued up Columbus and took a left on Grant in order to walk through the entertaining Chinatown. It’s like stepping into a small Chinese city, where almost everyone is speaking in Chinese and you have some interesting food choices and smells as you meander up the street. If it’s special healing herbs you need, they have them too. I bought my rice maker here back in the early 80’s and I still have it today….my favorite kitchen appliance!
Chinatown ends a few blocks over from Union Square, a little oasis of a park in the city. It makes sense that you have to do some window shopping as you make your way over there! I sat and read for awhile, basking in the glorious weather. It was closing in on 3:30pm and time to head back over to Alameda for the evening. but…just one quick stop at Mikkeller Bar for their 4 star-Yelp rated Belgian fries and a crazy amount of choices of beer.
The Belgian fries lived up to their rating, but warning…this is in the Tenderloin and I saw no less than 5 homeless people sleeping on the sidewalk and roaming the area…not the best location and I probably wouldn’t walk there alone at night, but good Belgian fries and enough beer choices to make you dizzy. By the time I left, the place was starting to really fill up with people (not homeless ones).
…..next…A Day in Alameda…don’t miss it!
You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!