San Francisco Trip Report 2013 – Part One

Oy! This weekend – some sewing, lunch in Boulder with a dear friend that I hadn’t seen in a couple of years, Front Range Gardens nursery (peonies on sale!) an attempt at the perfect recipe for Sesame Chicken (FAIL), weeding in the garden and flower beds and planting the two new peonies, then on Sunday: Hoarding estate sale (scary!), Paulino Gardens nursery (Crowded!) and grocery store – then nap! Turkey breast in the oven for dinner, and then planting of some of the flowers I purchased. So, this isn’t a very long entry because I didn’t have much time to write. I am tired just reading about it again!

I had the opportunity to return to San Francisco this January for a work trip. I am lucky I get to travel with my current board president, who also enjoys taking an extra day around some of our work trips to do some sight-seeing. So we planned on staying an additional night and going to see Alcatraz, the Embarcadero, trolley cars, Chinatown, and whatever else we could fit into one day! And then I stayed a little longer on the last day to see my newest nephew, O.

We stayed at the Hampton Inn Airport – it was fine, just not at all close to downtown. I think it was a $60 cab fare to downtown, but since we were all there for a meeting, it made sense and was cheaper to have the meeting near the airport. But it looked to me from my internet research that the hotel was in a food desert, and that turned out to be pretty accurate. So I made sure we were well fed after we landed – the Yankee Pier Seafood restaurant at the San Francisco Airport. Both S. and I had the clam chowder, and then I had the “Triple Play,” which is 3 oysters, 3 prawns & dungeness crab cocktail, which was excellent.

Triple Play Yankee Pier

Triple Play Yankee Pier

S. had the shrimp tacos, which she said were good but were quite spicy.

Shrimp Tacos, Yankee Pier Seafood Restaurant

Shrimp Tacos, Yankee Pier Seafood Restaurant

Here is my room at the Hampton. It was nice and quiet, everything I needed in a hotel room, staff was very pleasant.

Hampton Inn Airport, San Francisco

Hampton Inn Airport, San Francisco

Sorry for the bad lighting, I am still figuring out how to best shoot hotel rooms….

Hampton Inn Airport, San Francisco

Hampton Inn Airport, San Francisco

Hampton Inn Airport, San Francisco

Hampton Inn Airport, San Francisco

The afternoon we arrived, I taught an optional short class on Facebook and Twitter to participants. Mostly on “What not to do on Twitter.” Everyone enjoys examples of Twitter mistakes.

That night, several of us walked to dinner (1/2 a mile or so) over a highway, but there was a walkway, to Ristorante Buon Gusto.  I didn’t have the cioppiono (shocking, I know) but had the pasta that I believe must have been their special that night, since I didn’t see it on their menu – it had spinach, artichokes, pancetta, and peas. I thought it was quite good. Also had the minestrone soup.

Ristorante Buon Guston, South San Francisco

Ristorante Buon Gusto, South San Francisco

We had box lunches from the famous Boudin Bakery in San Francisco for our lunch the next day, and the sandwiches were good, but the peanut butter cookie was excellent. The peanut butter cookie will appear again later in this trip report.

That night, some of the more adventurous of the group (instigated by myself and my Yelp investigations) walked to Ben Tre – Vietnamese Homestyle Cuisine. I knew I wanted the Bun Bo Hue. I kind of discouraged everyone who had not have Vietnamese food before from trying that as their first foray, so almost everyone else had rare steak Pho. We also had an appetizer platter. The Bun Bo Hue was great, but it did have congealed blood squares in it (some of you are flipping out right now) so I was glad that we didn’t order that for the whole table. Not every Vietnamese place in Denver makes it so authentic. No pictures, sorry, but if you are in that area, I give them two thumbs up.

S. and I got up bright and shiny the next morning and caught a taxi to the Embarcadero. We got there so early we even had to wait a little while in the chilly morning to buy our Alcatraz tickets. We were glad we weren’t wearing shorts like many of the people in the line. Brrrrrrr.

Then we walked further down the pier and did some window shopping and looking around, managing to hang around the mini-donut place until they opened! I am not going to pass up a chance at mini-donuts.

Mini donuts Pier 39 San Francisco

Mini donuts Pier 39 San Francisco

Then we took the short cruise out to Alcatraz. S. and I had decided that since the Gardens of Alcatraz tour was available the day we were there, we would take advantage of that, and we were glad we did. Not only did we get to see the lovely plantings and hear about how they had been restored by volunteers, but I think we got to hear more of the inside story of the island.

View from Alcatraz:

Ocean view from Alcatraz

Ocean view from Alcatraz

And some lovely fuschia. I have done in more fuschia than I care to tell you about. Maybe I will try it again this year. It is very fussy about its location, and I am not sure I have anywhere that will make it happy.

Fuschia Gardens of Alcatraz Tour

Fuschia Gardens of Alcatraz Tour

That is all for today! More tomorrow!

 

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