After our jam-packed, whirlwind of a day on Friday, we took every opportunity to rest up the next morning so that we had ample energy to take on day two of our san fran tour. We were blessed with another beautiful sunny day and I was again, pleasantly surprised by how warm the air felt. I will chalk that up to "indian summer" and advise all potential west coast travelers to take their trips somewhere in the September-October range for optimal weather.
Anyway, moving on to the first task on our agenda, a major bucket list item of mine: ride the cable car. Just like the rice-a-roni slogan touts, this was a San Francisco treat for certain. I was downright giddy with anticipation as we stood in line awaiting the cable car to barrel down the tracks. I was more than ready for my "Meet Me in St. Louis" moment and Christy and I kept belting out Judy Garland's infamous tune - "ding ding ding went the trolley, ding ding ding went the bell..." Our ride down the sloping streets of San Francisco was just as memorable as I had hoped and I even coaxed our conductor into letting me ring the trolley bell. I was grinning from ear to ear with each pull of the bell. As I'm sure you can imagine, we had to capture every single angle of our ride so please note the multiple shots below.
How does one properly celebrate taking their 1st ride on a real cable car, pray tell? Well, with irish coffee, of course. And not just any 'ole irish coffee would do, no sir. We went to the establishment where this tasty drink originated: the Buena Vista Cafe. This cafe is known for creating this delightful coffee concoction and we didn't even need to look at a menu upon our arrival. We ordered up 3 of the house specialties and took in the view of the bay as we waited for our bevvies. Our drinks were a thing of beauty, a beautiful mocha color topped with a layer of frothy cream. They were every bit as pretty as they were tasty. Inevitably, some places can become tourist traps, but I must say, if you're ever in town, you must sip on an irish coffee at the Buena Vista...it will warm you from the inside out.
Once we had sufficiently savored every perfectly delicious sip of our coffee, it was time to locate some serious fuel as we were headed to walk the Golden Gate Bridge. Carbohydrates were a must, so we walked back down to Fisherman's Wharf, popped into Boudin and ate our sourdough sandwiches and salads outside on the patio, where we were free to bask in the sunshine and observe the sights and sounds of this bustling seaside street.
With our appetites satisfied with sourdough goodness, we hopped on the BART and took the bus to the starting point of one of the most famous landmarks in the great U-S-of A: The Golden Gate Bridge. I still recall a "show and tell," maybe back in 2nd grade, no lie, I brought in a clutch that my dad bought my mom when he was on a business trip in California. These were my exact words "he had to go across the Golden Gate Bridge to buy this for her." Are you as impressed as I apparently was? Anyway, fast forward some 21 years and here I was, about to walk across the bridge that was once just a show and tell story. For starters, this bridge is large. I mean, not to state the blatantly obvious, but it was even bigger and subsequently more grandiose than I imagined. The views of and from the bridge were outstanding. We could easily observe the coastal line, where the waves rushed up and crashed onto the shore, the unique city skyline, the mind-blowing cloud formations, the distance from the bridge to the powerful surf below - it was truly incredible. Again, I was moved by the reality of God's awesome power that was so undeniable as I looked in every direction.
Sadly, our walk across the bridge and subsequent bus ride back into the city took up a bit more time than anticipated. It was at the point that I had to make a decision between drinks at Cliffhouse and seeing the infamous "Painted Ladies" that you might recognize from the opening credits of a little Emmy-award winning (j/k) sitcom, Full House. Obviously, my affinity for the Tanner fam won out and I chose the latter. I definitely feel I made the right decision as this turned out to be one of my favorite moments of the trip. Just across the street from our destination was the most lovely park, outfit with the most perfect climbing trees you ever laid eyes on. Not only that, but the streets were lined with row after row of quite possibly the most eccentric homes (at least in concentrated form) this side of the Atlantic.
Trees were climbed, photos were captured, my inner child was released and then, we made it over the hill to the main event: the Painted Ladies. It was at this point that I serenaded (somewhat loudly) my innocent friends with the following: Whatever happened to predictability? The milkman, the paperboy and late night TV? You miss your old familiar friends, waiting just around the bend... How could you not be provoked to sing the theme song upon a real life visit to the row of homes you saw so many times as a child? It truly took me back to my living room on Vinemont. I'm about 9 years old and I'm sitting on the floor in front of a box TV (not flat screen!), watching regular network TV and I actually have to be patient and not fast forward through the commercials...such a different time in our social landscape...but alas, I digress. Since this was our final stop for the day before dinner, we actually got to sit in the grass and just be...just be present, be there amongst the people who called this place home. We got to just be friends, sitting the lush green grass, talking about our memories of the show and of our childhood. While it might not sound like much, I really treasure those few moments. It was a sweet time.
As the sun began to set on our most productive day, we made the trek back to the bus to rest and reconvene before dinner. Dinner on Saturday night was an event in and of itself as I had my heart set on a place called Nopa. Unfortunately, we were unable to make reservations for that evening, so we had to wing it and hope for the best. I must make it a point to note that the staff were incredibly gracious and hospitable at this hipster eatery. They were jockeying for us to get a spot at a communal table and then managed to snag us a private table after one of their reservations was cancelled. I pity the fool who cancelled because this place was a treat and a half. Our server was superior and went above and beyond the call of duty. After making inquiries as to the type of drink I liked, he crafted a specialty cocktail that was tailored to my liking (with a champagne base, he couldn't go wrong). From start to finish, it was a wonderful dining experience and I even got to continue my birthday celebration with a little something sweet. Many thanks for Emmanuel for a stellar time at Nopa.
On our walk back home that evening, I couldn't believe the sun was setting on our time in the city. I felt that I would be leaving my heart in San Francisco when we left the following day to begin our wine country adventures; however, I would soon be whistlin' a different tune...
Up next, Sonoma/Napa!