With our trip well under way, we’ve been living it up here in California. We left you last time just as we were getting on flight #1 to LAX and since then, we’ve been exploring the fun town of San Francisco.
In this IG Edition, we’ll show you some of the things we’ve been getting up to in the Bay Area when it’s cold and rainy: cool bars, delicious restaurants and doing time in Alcatraz!
Don’t worry though: we have had some good weather while we’re here. And besides, a rainy start to a trip seems to make you even more thankful for the sun when it does come out to play.
We hope you enjoy this first IG Edition from California.
Jim & Christina xx
The Marina District in San Francisco is so pretty even in the rain. The City’s so used to weather like this – especially the famous fog that locals call Karl – that it’s almost not really SF without that mystery grey.
In the distance, can you just make out the Golden Gate Bridge?
It’s raining pretty heavily today, but Christina and I venture out under our umbrellas. It’s always worth braving the rain when you’re abroad – especially when the streets are lined with buildings like this one.
We can’t get enough of the art deco architecture in San Francisco. But really there’s a better reason to be exploring the streets in the rain…
The food in Delarosa – an Italian eatery on Chestnut Street (and also downtown) – is awesome. This is the margarita pizza with fresh burrata and added pepperoni. Delicious.
The crust is soft but not flabby – somewhere between a Roman style and Napolitano style. They’re very generous with the burrata and the pepperoni too, which I always approve of!
We’ve also just gobbled down a plate of their arancini packed with local dungeness crab too, which were excellent and worth the stomach real estate.
Tonight our friends Melissa and Peter are taking us to one of their favourite food haunts Tosca Cafe on Columbus. Everything from the vertical sign to the tile-floored interior of this place is Italiano Americana at its best. And the food’s awesome too of course!
It’s like we’ve got our own private dining room tucked away at the back of Tosca Cafe. A couple of wiseguys breaking bread and chewing the fat! You can imagine this revamped old school hangout has some stories within its walls.
It’s still raining, so the only thing to do is stay inside! And what better place to be in on a wet day than a beautiful bar! We’re in The Devil’s Acre – an awesome speakeasy style bar serving cocktails the way they should be.
This place used to be an old jazz club, but the ’20s era drinking establishment with its apothecary style speakeasy downstairs fits beautifully. Our drinks cunningly prepared by master mixologists are superb.
Christina and Melissa’s Lauchlan’s Antiscorutics (old tom and navy strength gins, lime cordial and juice, and sea salt) are amazing. Mine and Peter’s Devil’s Manhattans (rye, sweet vermouth, Boker’s and orange bitters, and a dash of sparking wine) are not only fascinating but hit the spot.
It’s still raining – and we’re still eating! Tonight, we’re in the crazy fun Castro District. Along with a quick visit to Midnight Sun to check out the excellent drag queens, we’re here for foooood!
This is Poesia – a Calebrese osteria with amazing food, great wine and rich with the atmosphere of the old country. We have so much food here something’s got to give… and I think it might be my waistband!
We can’t wait to write more about this place. We’ll have a proper round-up of hot tips for food in San Francisco very soon.
Christina has discovered what a dog-centric city San Francisco is. There are cute dogs everywhere! Even late at night in the rain, she managed to find a couple.
These guys might look a bit sad and soaking but just after I took this photo, the owner came running out to explain she’d only just tied them up and that they weren’t wet from being left in the rain.
At last the sun is showing her face around San Francisco. The best thing about that is we can eat al fresco! Melissa and Peter have taken us out for a walk along the waterfront to Pier 23 Cafe. With a focus on fresh seafood and waterfront dining, this has to be one of the best places to come when the rain stops and Karl’s elsewhere.
Christina’s pretty happy with her first taste of Californian fish tacos. It’s one of those dishes that never comes out the same in Australia but is always good here.
I’m always tempted when I see macaroni cheese on a menu, but when it’s macaroni and fresh lobster, there’s no way I can look at anything else. This is so rich I’m wobbling all the way home. Peter’s also ordered the same but has more restraint than my labrador tendencies to lick plates clean. Good call, Peter!
In spite of our bellies insisting on testing the durability of our belts, we venture into the Ferry Building. This iconic part of the historic San Francisco waterfront is now an amazing marketplace for artisanal food and crafts. The ice creams at Humphry Slocome (a reference to Are You Being Served?) are quite incredible.
As you can see from their wall menu, the range of flavours is not only impressive but mouthwatering too.
If only I’d followed Peter’s lead in macaroni restraint I would be munching on an ice cream like Christina’s. Sadly I’m just too full. I do manage to sneak a taste of the peanut butter fudge, which makes me regret my earlier greed a little more.
We stroll through the bustling markets of the Ferry Building until it’s time to head home.
Thankfully the sun’s stuck around this morning. We’ve booked tickets to Alcatraz, and I don’t think I’d be as happy riding the ferry out to the famous island prison in slanting rain, soup-like mist or chilling onshore winds the Bay Area can cook up.
Instead, we leave Pier 33 – the first Alcatraz Cruises ship off the ranks this morning – amid bright sparkling waters and the city growing smaller on the horizon.
This is my first time to Alcatraz. Christina has been before – when she was a child – but we’re both so impressed. It’s well worth the ticket. We’ll have a longer write-up on our time on The Rock and our tips on how to make the most of it for you later, but if you’re looking at going before then, take this advice:
Book early and book the first ferry out. It’s an early start but it’s the smallest group and you get the run of the place for the first hour before the crowds arrive.
Our lovely friends Melissa and Peter have invited us to Peter’s family home to celebrate Greek Easter with them. It’s a lot of fun to meet the folks and to see how Easter goes down here.
One of the most significant parts of Easter is the red hard-boiled eggs. Everyone has a go at hitting their egg on the top of someone else’s to try and crack their egg. The red represents the blood of Christ and the hole you make represents the cave Jesus emerged from at the end of Easter.
Christina somehow picked the winning egg and completely destroyed everyone’s eggs. Must be something in the name!
Along with the egg-citing (sorry) egg-cracking, the food that Peter’s family has made for this Easter brunch is so good. Peter’s mum has made an egg casserole, which is like a very thick omelette with pieces of meat inside… I might try and get the recipe for that actually.
There are also these cookie twists that are a kind of shortbread called kolouria and are incredibly tasty. I love the sesame seeds on top.
Thank you, Mr and Mrs R for your lovely hospitality. It was so good meet you and your family.
And thank you so much, Melissa and Peter. Once again you’ve shown us the very best of San Francisco – even in the rain. You guys are the best!
That’s all from us today, but not the end of our story of San Francisco. Next week, we’ll continue our sunny days in the City and show you what else we got up to.
Take care till then. Cheers
Jim & Christina xx