San Francisco

The Tenderloin

In all my life living in the borough of the Bronx in the “biggest, baddest” city of them all—I’ve never seen such an impoverished area as the Tenderloin here in San Francisco.

On our way to SoMA from Nob Hill, Louie and I walked the path provided to us by Google Maps without thinking too much about what neighborhood we were walking through. It didn’t take long to notice it was Tenderloin.

I’ve never seen so many homeless & crazy people concentrated into one, smelly neighborhood like that before. Not even the South Bronx is that bad, and it makes Harlem look like Upper West in comparison. I was anxious the entire time we were walking through it. I’ve never felt that uncomfortable in a city before.

Needless to say, I will be staying as far away from this neighborhood as possible from now on. It’s just weird that it’s situated right in the middle of all the nice parts of SF—SoMA, Union Square, Financial District, Nob Hill, etc.

San Francisco, Restaurants

More Birthday Fun!

This time it was for Quyn‘s birthday, not Louie’s. We went to a restaurant called The Stinking Rose, where they “season [their] garlic with food.” I got to meet some of Louie’s other friends (Hi, Mary!) and had a good time.

Firstly I’d like to point out that this place had the most amazing garlic bread I’ve ever had in my life. Oh. My. God. It was SO GOOD. I think I ate like 3 or 4 rolls of it, dipped in their garlic olive oil (which is equally as delicious, I wanted to buy some).

For dinner I ordered the 40 Clove Garlic Chicken, which came with Yukon Gold mashed potatoes. The chicken was on the bone which is not my favorite thing (I have this thing against eating any meat off bones) but it was still good, not dried out at all. The mashed potatoes were really smooth and creamy, and of course garlic-y. LOVED them. I’d probably order the potatoes again as a side dish.

Louie got the “Neon” Ravioli, which we were trying to figure out why they were called neon. (Was it the sauce or are the raviolis neon colored or what?) When he got the plate, nothing was so brightly colored as to be labeled “neon” but the pasta was different colors, so we assume that was what they meant. (I think it could have just been called “Rainbow” or “Three-color” Ravioli.) Besides the debate on the name and the fact that I didn’t get to taste the ravioli for myself (Louie ate it all before I could even think about asking for a bite) I’m told it was very tasty. (The ravioli there is stuffed with potatoes, by the way, not cheese or meat! Mmmm.)

We didn’t try the dessert, but I can see us going back there again and I intend to try it then.

Happy birthday, Quyhn! Hope you enjoyed it.

(This is also posted on Yelp as a review.)

San Francisco, Restaurants

Birthday Fun

So last Friday was Louie‘s 22nd birthday—we’re finally the same age! (Well, at least we are for the next 6 months. Then I go back to “robbing the cradle.”)

To celebrate I bought him a nice chocolate cake (which is now half eaten) and we went to an Italian restaurant in North Beach, E’ Tutto Qua, for dinner. The experience was quite entertaining.

My first encounter with this restaurant was just standing outside it, waiting for my Louie’s friends to meet us a few days before. The owner came out to persuade us to come in, and he was hilarious. Very stereotypical Italian and very friendly. We learned he was from Brooklyn, NY (which hit home for me since I’m from NY, too) and has a PhD in eating (to which he proved by pointing to his rather large belly). Since we didn’t eat there that night, we decided to go back and give it a chance for Louie’s birthday.

The atmosphere was welcoming, the staff was very friendly and entertaining. Our waiter winked a lot and asked us if we were ready to order in a sing-songy voice with an exaggerated Italian accent. The bread was good, and when the food came it was exceptional.

The waitstaff & owners were attentive, and the owner himself came over to our table several times and addressed Louie by name (and even called me “princess” once). For his birthday they gave us a free dessert, which was not something I would normally order (it was something coffee-flavored) but it was very light and surprisingly good for something that tasted like coffee. (I’m not a fan of coffee, you see.) The entire restaurant also sang us happy birthday, and Louie got to blow out a candle.

All-in-all, we really enjoyed this restaurant and would definitely go back again. In fact, I could see us being regulars.

Also, Louie wanted to let you know that the only bad thing about this restaurant that night was that there were 4 other brithdays besides his own being celebrated there. (We heard them sing the birthday song 5x!)

(FYI, this is also posted on Yelp as a restaurant review.)

Photography, San Francisco

Random SF Photos

Lifestyle, San Francisco

Hello, San Francisco

I have officially arrived! I’m jet lagged, but that’s to be expected. I’m looking at a 3-hour time difference, here, and it’ll take some getting used to. So far we’ve been waking up at weird times during the night and getting tired really early in the evening.

I still can’t get over some of the little differences between NY and SF—I’m noticing them all the time and I think I’m starting to annoy Louie by pointing them all out. So instead of pestering him, I’ll list them for you:

1. People run red lights more often here.—Or at least this is how I’m perceiving it. We saw no less than 4 cars run red lights yesterday, both in Palo Alto and San Francisco, and I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen that many cars do the same thing in New York in a single day. Crazy drivers.

2. The fire hydrants are white.—Is that really supposed to stand out on the street?

3. The cabs are several different colors, not just yellow. (Here’s a picture of one that’s lime green for proof!)—The colors crack me up. Some are even normal car colors like black and white, how am I supposed to tell what’s a cab and what’s not? Somewhat confusing, but I guess I’ll get used to it.

4. There are palm trees in Union Square.—Yes, you read that correctly. There’s a Union Square here, too, and there are palm trees. About 4 on each corner of the square. It’s pretty nice, actually.

5. OMG hills.—I love the hills. NY is so boringly flat, I really like this variety and the tiered look it gives the city when you look at the skyline. Reminds me of Paris or Athens only without the European currency. I think the nickname “Paris of the West” is apropos.

6. People wait at the crosswalk for the walk sign.—This is one of the toughest things for me, I’m finding. I, as a native NYer, have this itch to walk across streets whenever there are no cars. I don’t seem to mind if there’s a “WALK” sign or not, or even if there’s a crosswalk. So, here, people just don’t jaywalk. You can, apparently, get a ticket for it or even arrested. Ok, I get it, you’re not supposed to do it, but do they really fine or jail people here who do? They don’t in NY. I’ll let you know if I ever get ticketed for jaywalking.

7. People walk slower, too.—This is a given. Everywhere besides NY feels slower.