Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Has anyone seen our hearts?

While our trip to beautiful San Francisco went by in a flash, we managed to pack a fair amount of sightseeting into two days. We were supposed to arrive in SF around 3:30 p.m. or so, but gremlins in the mechanics delayed our departure for an hour and a half (of course the gremlins didn't make themselves known until after we'd boarded, so we got to spend hours and hours on the plane, which is exactly what my pregnant wife had been longing for). By the time we got to our hotel, the Maxwell, it was about 6 p.m. so we checked in, grabbed dinner across the street at Lefty O'Douls, and then went to the American Conservatory Theater to see The Rivals, an 18th Century farce by Richard Brinsley Sheridan. It was incredibly funny, and the entire ensemble cast was one of the more impressive I've seen in a long time.
I'm a diner breakfast kind of guy, so I was in heaven in San Francisco. Sunday morning we ate at the Pinecrest Restaurant, a great little diner with -- and this is Nectar o' the Gods to me -- great diner coffee. Then we hopped the historic F-Line trolley up to Fisherman's Wharf for a sunny day on and near the water. The harbor cruise under the Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz was awesome, particularly because the skies were blue and the temperature in the lower 60s. Having seen Alcatraz from the outside, I really want to tour the historic prison next time we're there. I have to say, it was a little creepy looking at that island and knowing some of the country's most notorious criminals had been residents on that rock. Creepy and fascinating. Anyway, we walked along some of the piers, checked out a cool little penny arcade (now a quarter arcade), had some chocolate at Ghirardelli Square (ridiculously tasty), and then hopped the old Powell & Hyde Sts. Cable Car and headed back to Union Square. By this time, Julie was ready to give her feet and back a rest, and who was I to complain? So we chilled at the hotel for a while before heading down to Annabelles Bar & Bistro for a delicious dinner of steak and seafood. Fat and happy, we called it a night. Monday morning we hit one of San Francisco's more well-known diners, Sears Fine Food for some of their little Swedish pancakes and more diner coffee. Pure heaven, my friends. Then it was off to hippieville to see the legendary Haight Street. I'd heard mostly bad things about how gentrified it had become, so I didn't expect much, but we still wanted to see it. I have to admit it wasn't as much of a letdown as I expected. Sure, today's neohippies are a pale shadow of their 60s predecessors, but there were still plenty of head shops, incense and tie die to bring smiles to our faces. And Amoeba Music was one kick-ass record store. We only spent about 10 minutes in there, because I knew if I started going through the bins we'd have been there all day. We then hiked around Golden Gate Park for a while, discovering that the flower conservatory and the de Young Museum were both closed on Mondays. We got out of there and up to lunch in Pacific Heights at The Grove on Fillmore just before the rains came. And did they ever come. It was at this time that I first spoke to Mark in person. We had a great chat and hoped to be able to hook up for dinner, but it wasn't meant to be this time around. Next time, Mark, for sure. Anyway, after lunch Julie and I wanted to check out some of the ginormous mansions in Pacific Heights, but the rain was pretty heavy and we'd left our umbrellas at the hotel. Yes, we remembered to bring umbrellas to San Francisco, but forgot to carry them with us. So we hopped a bus to the cable car, and took that back to Union Square (we'd bought a 3-day MUNI pass, which came in very handy) for some souvenir shopping. We went back to the hotel, changed into some dry clothes, and hiked about six blocks to my buddy Chad's place in Knob Hill. From there we cabbed it to Russian Hill for another fantastic dinner at Yabbies Coastal Kitchen. Some more steak and seafood later (lots of oysters), we were done, down for the count. So we cabbed back to our hotel, said our goodbyes, and packed for our 8 a.m. flight back to Denver.

That's our trip in a nutshell. If you've read this far, I'm amazed. It was the perfect trip, the perfect babymoon. I'm not sure when we'll get back, but we definitely will, and we know we barely scratched the surface of this glorious city.


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