Recently I went on a Fire Truck Wine Tour with some friends. It had been offered as a discount through Groupon or some other similar site and sometimes it’s fun to play tourist in our own city so we had decided to go for it.
We had to go down to North Beach near Cannery Row to catch the truck. I used to live blocks from there but hadn’t been in the area in awhile so it was kind of nostalgic to look around. I didn’t learn a lot on the tour that I didn’t already know as a local but I always pick up one or two new things from these types of tours and this time was no exception. I learned that the statue in Washington Square Park is a time capsule and it’s 100 years will be up in another couple of years so it will be opened soon. Fun.
The tour itself wasn’t very extensive. It basically went up Columbus through North Beach towards Market Street and then just went over the Bay Bridge to Treasure Island where we got to stop at a Winery and do a wine tasting of about four wines.
I had only ever been to Treasure Island once. Without a car it’s not easy to get to and honestly there’s not a lot of reason to go there. But it was nice to go, cross the bridge in the fire truck, and see the beautiful view of the city skyline from there.
The winery was nice and spacious and the wine was good.
I wouldn’t say that it would be worth trekking over there just for that but as an overall experience it was fun.
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Earlier this year I saw this infographic:
It ranks San Francisco as the 7th happiest city in the world, although the way it ranks it is really odd to me. We get high marks here for shopping centers, middle marks for outdoor and culture locations and lower marks for performances and amusements. We do have ample shopping here, I suppose, but I really think of us as a place with lots of performances and culture locations. Interesting. In the end I guess what matters most is that I’m happy here!
Some new, some old, all taken by me during walks in San Francisco’s Japantown:
I was recently walking along 24th Street in Noe Valley and wandered into a store that sells various art and sculpture from around the world. I wish I’d paid closer attention to the name of the store. I think it might actually have been Global Exchange but I am not certain. I’d know it if I saw it again. In any case, what I loved here was actually the backyard area behind the main part of the store where there were some beautiful plants and sculptures.
Ah, relax, breathe …
One evening I was walking down Valencia Street in The Mission and I saw a sign saying that there was an art show at a gallery called Incline Gallery.
The gallery is tucked down through a skinny little alley between two buildings. I hadn’t ever been there before so I thought I’d check it out.
When I went in, I wound my way up through white staircases, up and up, where art hung on the narrow spaced walls. As I was walking up I thought “what the heck? This is so familiar? Have I been here before?”
I realized that it was the gallery that had the opening show for the Papergirl SF project I participated in awhile ago. So then I thought, “okay, I’ve been here before for that … except that I couldn’t remember actually ever being in the space”.
So I came back home, checked out this blog and found my post about Papergirl SF. I realized that I hadn’t made it to the space but had looked up photos and videos online to see my art in the space. So I hadn’t been there, but I was familiar with the layout because of that, and now I have been there
A little while I shared San Francisco chocolate in the form of TCHO and Ghirardelli. But there are lots of local places to purchase boutique chocolate, including Dandelion in The Mission.
This chocolate shop advertises itself as a bean-to-bar chocolate place. You can come in and check the shelves for same samples along with sampling tips like “taste from left to right”. You can purchase chocolate and chocolate treats like mocha smoothies and chocolate based coffees.
I recently went to a bar in downtown San Francisco that I’d never been to before. It’s called John Colins.
It’s on Minna Street, which is always a cute place to be. It has a surprisingly large amount of space inside for a San Francisco bar with multiple seating areas in the front, the bar in the center and more seating in the back.
There is a lot of different artwork in the various spaces on the wall. It’s not stunning or anything but it’s interesting.
The drinks were good. I got the basil gin gimlet first and then I got their manhattan. Both yummy.
Definitely worth stopping in if you’re looking for a drink in the Financial District.
There’s a cafe in Japantown, near my neighborhood, that I probably would not have ever noticed if it didn’t have a sign out front advertising that it’s the home of the Sweet Potato Latte. The cafe itself is set kind of far back from the street and has a quiet storefront so it would be easy to miss but the sign tells you that this is a place you want to see. I passed it quite a few times before I finally went in but I did eventually go … and I did indeed try the sweet potato latte. They also have lots of other goodies, too, including a nutella latte and a Japanese dish made with spam. I skipped the spam. The sweet potato latte had a really super good taste but there was a little bit of grainy texture that I didn’t love. I’d say it’s worth trying, though, and the cafe is cute. In fact, I’ve gone back several times.
Recently I’ve been to several San Francisco spots that offer amazing candy and chocolate. Check out TCHO, Ghirardelli and the big candy store.
This is a chocolate shop located at The Embarcadero. They offer daily tours where you can learn more about how the chocolate is made but I haevn’t actually been on one of the tours yet. However, I have learned something there. When you go in you are allowed to taste their chocolates. I tasted two different chocolates that were both the same percentage of dark chocolate but they tasted really different from one another. I asked why and learned that it’s because the chocolate was from different places (Madagascar and Peru if I remember correctly). Apparently the source of the chocolate actually matters a lot to the taste, which I didn’t know. Now I do … and I feel like I should start tasting more chocolate to find out what sources I like best!