First of all, we’d like to thank our friend Melinda for having us as visitors in her new home in San Francisco! Secondly, we’d like to thank her for writing the guest blog below and also invite you to check our her blog, Palindrome at Home.
I warned them not to call it Frisco Bay. That was my big piece of San Francisco advice when Denise and Stephanie recently came out west for a visit. I didn’t even charge them for that gem.
After a full trip, we can offer you a few more pieces of advice too. I’m a newly minted resident of the city and was anxious to show off the travel goods. I only had a short list of attractions crossed off on my to do list, so it was the perfect opportunity to try new sites.
Anthony Bourdain suggested our first stop at the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market. I hadn’t thought to suggest it since it almost strikes me as an errand – but remembering back to my first visit, it’s truly impressive and a must see for foodies. East Coasters, eat your avocado loving hearts out.
After farm fresh samples and a late lunch, we summoned our dessert stomachs on the way to the Bombay Ice Creamery. We also had to summon our courage as we walked past barred windows. I was buoyed with confidence since I had been to the neighborhood before to adopt our kitten, but if I didn’t know the area, I would have been tempted to turn around. Perseverance turned out to be the key as we looked high and low before finding it behind the abandoned Sherwin Williams. The first case of hard pack ice cream was full of normal and, I’ve got to be honest, disappointing flavors. Again, we pressed forward and it turns out the second case was where the angels were singing and playing harps. After a few samples we went with the shop keeper’s suggestion: a double scoop of chiku and mango-rose. The chiku was spicy yet tropical while the mango-rose was an intriguing blend of sweet and floral. We took in the Bollywood version of The Sound of Music while finishing our treats. Talk about a hole in the wall – it delivered big time!
When the girls said they couldn’t leave northern California without a redwood sighting, I hit up some coworkers and the National Park Service website to find the best spots. Muir Woods was the clear winner at only 30 minutes outside of the city, massive redwoods and a free parking day! We saved $5 but had to walk about an extra mile each way due to the overflow of other hikers seeking the same deal. It all evened out with guilt free dessert later that night though. Win, win.
We consulted with friends who are self acclaimed West Coast Foodie aficionados. After a weekend of awesome noshing, we have to endorse them as well! Our first dinner was a knock out of the ball park at Burma Superstar. Denise downed their famous tea leaf salad with two thumbs up and the vegetable lovers among us swooned over the fried brussels sprouts. If your momma boiled brussels, you’ve got to give this veg one more try at Burma Superstar. It’s a come to Jesus moment. Wash everything down with a delicious Lychee Iced tea. Tell them MM tours sent you. It’ll get you a confused look at least.
For Sunday brunch, we exploited our resident dim sum expert, Stephanie, while dining at Yank Sing. Not only did she know what was hidden in the buns and dumplings, she could stand toe to toe with the cart pushers asking them for more of the good stuff and passing on the fillers. Having a reliable guide made experiencing a new food not only enjoyable, but hearing Stephanie’s stories of her grandmother preparing certain dishes made the experience more round and full in the context of culture. It was a touch on the expensive side (just over $30 per person ), but the taste was authentic, the service timely and the floors clean. If you prefer cheaper dim sum and dirty floors, you’ll have to look across town.
Stay tuned for Part II of our taste bud focused tour of San Francisco where we explore the Disneyland of workplaces, the mind behind Disneyland and then find our own Treasure Island!