Friday, July 11, 2014

San Francisco Love

On the sixth day of our trip, in the afternoon, we arrived in beautiful San Francisco - a city that gets a blog post all its own. It deserves it. I've been to San Francisco several times over the past few years. I've taken day trips and spent long weekends there. I have been at different times during the year. I never get tired of it and have yet to run out of things to see. The difficult part is that I already love what I love about it, so I sometimes hesitate to branch out to new places. This time, though, we decided to try a little blend of new things along with old favorites.

Now, if I try to blog about all my favorites, old and new, I may never finish. While I believe in sharing good things you find when you travel, I also believe in exploring and find out some things for yourself. In the spirit of that, I'd like to share two favorites and encourage you to plan a trip of your own to discover (or rediscover) the City by the Bay.

One old favorite...

When asked about favorite places to eat in the area, I will always start with Empress of China in Chinatown. I have never been to San Francisco, not once, that I haven't found my way to this place for dinner. Tom and I found it, purely by accident, on our first visit to the city. We had been walking around all day and found ourselves in Chinatown. We spotted this lobby with an elevator and all over the walls were pictures of old movie stars who had eaten in this restaurant. We thought that was pretty cool, but didn't quite understand where this restaurant was located. We then realized you had to go up in the elevator to get there. We decided to try it.

The fabulous hospitality and wonderful food and glorious view we enjoyed on our first visit is the same we receive every time we go. It's why we go back. We love everything about the way we are served and how lovely it all looks. All the waiters wear black suits and are excellent at their job. The food is delicious and served in courses, if you choose (and we always do). There are different options. But, you don't just have to take my word about the food, I tell all my friends to go there and have taken some friends there myself. Everyone always loves it!

One new favorite...

I've stayed at The Argonaut Hotel (another favorite) a couple of times, but I've never tried the Winery Collective Tasting Room in the same building. Tom suggested we try it this time, and we had a lovely time! The lady who presented the wines to us, Karen, was very knowledgeable about the wines, the regions they come from, and current concerns wine growers have in the area. We really enjoyed learning about the California wineries while tasting the wines.

We also learned what we want to try the next time we're in San Francisco. Karen told us to head over to Treasure Island next time we're in town for a weekend (we were there during the week) because Vie, a San Francisco winery, has a wonderful place over there to enjoy and explore their wines and learn more about the region. Treasure Island is somewhere we've never tried, and she told us it's only one exit off the road after you cross the Bay Bridge. Needless to say, I put it on my list for next time!

What do I love most about San Francisco?

To be completely honest, I can't tell you that...because I don't know. I love it all. I've been all over the city and explored all parts of it. I've walked in the neighborhoods to see how people live, sat in the parks to enjoy people watching, and biked the Golden Gate Bridge over to Sausalito and back. I've been there during Fleet Week and enjoyed watching the Blue Angels perform over the bay. I love the perfect weather and being able to sit outside in the cafes to enjoy my breakfast...or my lunch...or my dinner. I have my favorite ice cream place on Fisherman's Wharf and always enjoy the live performances that take place on the pier. I've ridden the cable cars, the vintage-style buses, and the BART. Every experience has been a good one, which reminds me to tell you about the first time I knew this was my kind of city.

My first visit...

I will never forget what a resident of the city told us on our very first trip there. We had taken the BART from the airport to San Francisco. We just went for the day to try it. We must have looked a little perplexed about which way to go when a business woman walked up to us and asked if she could help us find something. We told her we were just there on a one day adventure and didn't know where to start. She smiled and said we had nothing to worry about, we could walk anywhere we wanted and always find what we needed. After pointing out which direction to head for various popular places (like Fisherman's Wharf), she wished us a good trip and went on her way. It was a wonderful introduction to a beautiful city I continue to fall more and more in love with every time I go.

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