Thursday, August 19, 2010

San Francisco: Day 1

We started our day with a quick yet tasty couple of sandwiches from Café Venue (a chain, but it became the place we started most of our mornings because it was convenient and made to order) and then set off for the Golden Gate Bridge.
As you would expect, it was overcast over the bay. However, the last time I visited San Francisco it was so cloudy that you couldn't even see the bridge from the pier, so this was actually a vast improvement.

The sucker is TALL!

We walked across it, took a little break, and walked back through seriously windy conditions... only to have the sky turn (briefly) blue once we got back to the beginning.

The hubs still has not gotten to visit Alcatraz because apparently buying tickets 1 week in advance is not nearly far enough in advance. Myself, I don't see the draw.
Watching "The Rock" is about as close as I need to get.

Next we went around the corner (in a manner of speaking) to the Palace of Fine Arts.
Which was closed, fenced off, and had bulldozers inside it.
But the park bit was lovely, if a bit chilly.
(I'm fairly certain this is where they apprehended Sean Connery after the car-chase in "The Rock"... but as I could not get inside I can't be sure.)

At this point we got a message from a friend to meet at the Rogue Ale House on Union St. (the hubs grew up in Oregon, among other places, so this was a must) so we headed to the Little Italy part of North Beach. As we had time to kill, I suggested we stop for a late lunch and found a cute little place to eat.

At the time I thought it was just a quaint little place I found among all the other red-sauce joints. Little did I know that L'Osteria del forno has been written up in travel guides and is a legitimate neighborhood gem! But Go Me for spotting the good place to stop.
The hubs and I shared a leek & potato soup (to warm up!) that surprised me, as it appeared more like a regular vegetable soup w/ semi-clear broth, yet you could distinctly taste the leeks while enjoying the little bits of potato and carrot. It was even finished the proper Italian way with a little drizzle of good olive oil, which you could also vividly taste when you had a bite. 
It was a really good way to start off the meal and ward off the 55º chill. 
(Don't forget, it was 90º when we left NYC the day before. It was a big change for us!)

Next we split a thin crust vegetable pizza that had perfectly balanced tomato sauce, zucchini, mushrooms,  and unfortunately onions, which I had requested be left off, but oh well.
I also had two glasses of a lovely white wine from San Gimignano, so was happily toasty and full by the time we left. (Tho not yet toasted.)
Note: they only take traveler's cheques and cash! But prices are reasonable.

After 3 hours at the Rogue Ale House, I was hungry again (not to mention sober as I don't drink beer), and this time we made a REALLY fabulous discovery. Just 2 blocks away on Union Street we found Don Pisto's, a fantastic little Mexican place hiding in the middle of Little Italy, specializing in their take on Mexican Street Food. It may or may not have a sign, but as we found it at 9:30PM it was dark and the only way we spotted it were those 3 red lights over the window!
At that point we were only staving off late-night hunger before heading back to the hotel, so we only shared orders of Al Pastor and Carnitas, but they were sublime! I desperately wanted to go back there again, but there was no time on the rest of our trip. 
Most of the rustic tables seat either 2 or 6, so it is fine for groups. The food came out super quick, the tomatillo salsa had serious kick, and the corn chips are freshly made and some of the best we've ever eaten.
Upon leaving I begged them to open a sister restaurant in NYC!
UWS, naturally... the Villages don't need any more contestants.

Definitely a successful first day as a tourist.
But now I want Don Pisto's for dinner.

1 comment:

Chuck said...

I am now drooling...I too would like to see Alcatraz up close and personal, must be a guy thing (loved The Rock).