Monday, October 29, 2012

cold wind blowing.

Mark Twain wrote, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."
Couldn't count the number of times I heard these words once Chase and I decided to make the drive up north. Call it a self-fulfilling prophecy, but September in San Francisco was nippy (It really doesn't compare to the October in Utah that I'm now experiencing, but at the time there was definitely some whining going on).

But even with temperatures in the low 60s, we soldiered on.
First things first, we ate dim sum in Chinatown. I've blocked out most of the experience from my memory, but I recall enough to tell you: mistake.

We took the ferry to Alcatraz, which was really interesting. I think we were the only guests there who opted against the 45-minute audio tour; instead we ran around like ghosts in a world full of people with headphones on, yelling out only because we could. We created our own self-directed tour, in which we took turns fabricating stories about the island's notorious prisoners and creative attempts at escape. And when we disembarked from our ferry ride, we dropped 30 bones on a 5x7" photo of the two of us in front of a green screen (not really).

That night we met up with our friend Patrick, ate some pretty darn good seafood and got our Ghiradelli on. We also drove down Lombard street for the fourth time that day. Pat let us sleep on the floor of his hotel room that night, which led to Chase experiencing what he repeatedly referred to as "the best hotel breakfast he has ever had." Think Yoplait, mini boxes of corn flakes, and the game changer -- a waffle maker. I love my sweet husband and his low expectations.
We spent the next morning at the Sutro Baths on the coast. The "Baths" were actually a giant complex of seven swimming pools constructed by the mayor of San Francisco in 1896. The pools were built right on the water and were filled up by the ocean. The structure burnt down in the 60s, and the ruins eerily look like something from ancient Rome (that second picture is of the Baths).

We ate lunch at the famous Tartine Bakery, and were not disappointed. We got there at a good time and didn't wait in much of a line, but once we sat down outside, the place exploded. As we were leaving a bearded, vested, glasses-wearing man asked us in disbelief if our table was really going to be free. Four minutes after sitting down, he was still nervously grinning (and slightly shaking). A table outside Tartine Bakery at lunch time? On a Thursday?

After lunch we hit up Bi-Rite Creamery. Absolute bliss. Brown sugar, strawberry balsamic, honey graham, salted caramel... so many perfect ice cream flavors in one place. Really makes choosing one difficult.

And of course we crossed the Golden Gate bridge and spent the evening in Sausalito, marveling at the floating houses and peeking in cutesy shop windows. Crossing the bridge lands you in a much quieter part of the city, a perfect spot to unwind after receiving an $80 parking ticket earlier in the day (for parking in a tow-away zone.. but it had a meter? I still don't get it.)

All in all, San Francisco treated us well. I'd go back just for the ice cream.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

cars and telephones.

Spent Monday in Boston. And fell in love.

My past with the city includes elementary school field trips to the Museum of Science and a duck boat tour (one hell of a ride!). Mow that I've matured, the better part of my time in any new city is spent seeking out the best food. Chase counts on me to do enough research to lead us to the good spots, and I (almost) always pull through.

His faith was recently shaken, however, after a horrific dim sum encounter involving room temperature deep-fried shrimp balls in San Francisco (though I think the problem was not with my judgment call, but with dim sum entirely). But I won it all back in boston. We ate pastries at Mike's--an espresso cannoli and a neapolitan with the most delightful pastry cream--and filled our bellies at Giacomo's in Little Italy. Words cannot express the way I feel about their butternut squash ravioli. Or their olive bread. Or scallops (from anywhere.. but Giacomo's did 'em right). 

The food alone was enough to win me over. . . but the city is gorgeous. The buildings are thoughtfully designed, with so much history left intact. The North End is overrun with weathered brick and impressive flora. The streets are clean, the sea so near.

And the city on a hill made a hero out of me. While walking through a park, Chase pointed out a loose scottie dog trailing its leash behind it and nudged me to return it to its owner. My attempt to catch it quickly spiraled into a dramatic dog chase across the park, ending only when I victoriously stomped on his leash and jerked him to a halt. I walked proudly, albeit a bit winded, towards his elderly owner to watch their sweet reunion. And she laughed and had me set the leash down so he could run free. And I went red. No idea why I listen to that boy sometimes.

We also visited the Boston LDS temple. It was closed since it was a Monday, but it's always a sweet feeling just to walk around temple grounds. 

I could really cozy up to Boston.