But first, a little more sight-seeing.
First we rode the cable cars from Union Square to the Cable Car Museum.
(Note: we bought the City Pass on Day One so we did all these museums for "free" as well as riding the busses, trolley cars, and cable cars as often as we wanted without paying. I say "free" because the passes are about $64 a pop, but if you're going to see a lot of stuff, it does end up being a good deal. The passes are good for 8 or 9 days.)
Ain't we cute hanging off a moving vehicle and taking pictures at the same time?
Both of our coats and my scarf were purchased while in SF... we planned poorly for the weather.
These giant wheels are part of what makes the cable cars run.
I'm still hazy on how the intersections work...
Ye olde(r) cable car.
Enlarge to learn how it all works.
After learning about cable car, we hopped back on one and headed down to the wharf.
This cable car brought to you by Atari.
The hubs was quite excited.
We stopped at Ghirardelli Square for some hot chocolate and espresso (and a free piece of chocolate just for walking in!), and watched two pigeons go absolutely berserk devouring someone's abandoned ice cream and waffle cone.
Ever seen avian brain-freeze?
It's pretty funny.
By this point the grandparents had arrived (remember I was going to SF for my nephew's first birthday?) so the hubs and I went to Haight/Ashbury so his dad could add to his collection of Beatles T-shirts.
Along the way I passed a bookstore that basically had my childhood in their window.
Wonder Woman, The Dark Crystal, The Muppet Show, Muppets Take Manhattan, A Wrinkle in Time, The Princess Bride, Grover...
Fraggles, Bob Ross, The Never Ending Story, The Last Unicorn (cropped below this pic), Heathers, Labyrinth...
It was all I could do not to buy the Boober Fraggle puppet.
|This photo stolen from some other blog I found, as I forgot to take a picture out front.|
Since it's in the area, we had scheduled our trip to Nopalito for the day we knew we'd meet the in-laws in Haight/Ashbury. And much to my surprise, it was the first time my father-in-law had eaten Mexican food! (Apparently his opinion is that all those tortillas get in the way of the meat.)
This is a great place to go and share your dishes. I started with the squid and rock cod ceviche, which had a lime and tomatillo salsa verde for sauce and sliced avocado on top. Very tasty, very tender, but I have to say the chips that came with it were stale as can be. Don Pisto's totally spanked them on that front!
Next I had the Carnitas (again) because you really just cannot beat slow-roasted pork.
These came as kind of build-your-own, with the tortillas on the side (which I ignored) and sliced cabbage on the edge of the plate. The real deal however was the meat. Two hunks of pork, a bit smaller than my fist each, wrapped in parchment paper and served in a little dish of their own. Juicy, flavorful, and fantastic. I pretty much just dug into those with my fork and ignored the rest.
They make a decent margarita as well ;)
The hubs had the Quesadilla Roja (I think he was sold as soon as he read "crispy pork belly" in the description), my mother-in-law had the Enchilada de Mole (another first for her), and my father-in-law stuck with the Gordita, as he was wary of the menu.
Tho he had no trouble finishing my leftover Carnitas.
This meal was followed by a nap from which we really had to struggle to wake from.
But we had reservations, and I wanted to keep them.
Which brings us to Contigo, which is a little Spanish restaurant WAY past the usual tourist joints. After taking a trolley all the way to the end of its line at Castro Street, we then hailed a cab to drive us about 4 avenues south, all of which were residential. We came down an enormous hill to find a strip of stores and restaurants, including ours.
We were seated in the back garden, complete with heaters, and it was a very romantic little spot.
Unfortunately we were still somewhat full from our late lunch at Nopalito, so we didn't really get to take advantage of the small plates on the menu.
We split oxtail croquetas, which were jam-packed with meat, if a bit bland, a slow-cooked pork dish that came with peppers and some sort of farro-type grain in the gravy, and the coca (basically a flat-bread pizza) which had caramelized onions, spinach, kalamata olives, and manchego cheese.
The coca smelled divine, but every inch of the thing was coated with the onions, so it became too strong very fast, so we had the leftovers wrapped.
I was so excited to eat at this restaurant, but in the end it was my least favorite of everywhere we went. Very disappointing, especially when it was so hard to get there! (Not the traveling part... the getting out of bed part.)
So, lessons to learn: trust the locals, and trust your instincts.
Be wary of food publications.*
*Obviously you can trust THIS food publication... is this a publication? Hmm...