November 15, 2006

When the lights go down in the city...

I walked home from work tonight in the misty rain, starving. I was missing San Francisco a bit, or at least being on vacation...The weather was so great when we were there, and although I was hungry there too, at least I wasn't detoxing fully so I got to eat and drink lots of good stuff.

We arrived late Thursday and took BART from OAK to Powell Street, in the heart of SF's Union Square area. After walking uphill with our luggage, through the red light district Tenderloin area, we made it to the York Hotel on Sutter St. Not only was it recommended by the New York Times, but it was one of the shooting locations of Hitchcock's classic Vertigo. Always aspiring to live a life noir, of course I tried to get the Kim Novak Room or the Vertigo Room but we had to settle for a different room down the hall. It's a quaint, clean hotel with few amenities but it's a great deal, and a slice of Old Hollywood.

Lots of SF is reminiscent of Old Hollywood in fact: it's similarly old but in a sort of mid-20th century way. I was thrilled to discover an SF outpost of LA's landmark Trader Vic's, a tiki-themed place I've always begged people to take me to but was never lucky enough to visit. Fortunately Edith was game so we sidled up to the empty bar and chatted up the bartender, Lars, drinking zombies and Mai Tai's and 23-year aged rum....Getting free mojito shots and tastes of smoky tequila....

That was really the only night we drank a lot. We tried to do everything in moderation, sharing plates at Zuni (where we split a delicious baked pear with a dessert gorgonzola and wildflower honey) and Colibri Mexican Bistro...We never got to try sushi but we did have a great meal and drinks in the Haight, a disgusting neighborhood that houses Amoeba and a bunch of stereotypically incense-soaked hippie stores. It's very strange to find Magnolia Pub & Brewery and The Alembic there - two lovely places that serve their own-brewed beer (draught and cask!), great food and beautifully crafted cocktails.

San Francisco is actually full of restaurants that serve craft beer, including their own local Anchor Steam. At Magnolia I had their Prescription Pale Ale, and I got to try Pranqster Belgian Style Golden Ale at Hog Island Oyster Co. on our way to Alcatraz...More on that later...

Fortunately we didn't just eat and drink while we were there, but we crammed too much into our short trip to write all about here now...But despite all the walking uphill (and hiking through Muir Woods), I still gained four pounds while I was away. Fortunately I've lost about two by detoxing again since my return.

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