California 2018: Day 2

Chinatown. School of Rock. Cable cars. Cider bar. Those things pretty much sum up my first full day in San Francisco. I made it until 7PM last night before crashing, and slept moderately well until 3 o’clock this morning. It is probably worth noting that the last “meal” I ate (a piece of sourdough bread with havarti) was at 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon. So not only was I wide awake, my stomach was in desperate need of food. Fortunately, I had saved my Biscoff cookies from the plane, so there I was at 4AM… munching on cookies in bed and watching the Bachelorette. Crazy, I know.

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Mama’s on Washington Square

Once I finally got up and ready, I was off to load up on carbs and sugar enjoy a proper breakfast. Mama’s is a popular local breakfast/brunch spot a few blocks from my hotel. It probably goes without saying that I spend a lot of time researching breakfast spots before every trip I take. Sometimes, there are only a couple of places I really want to try; other times, like this, I could easily spend a couple of weeks hitting all the local breakfast places that sound appealing. But I managed to narrow down my list before I left home, and Mama’s did not disappoint. There was already a line out front when I arrived shortly before 8 o’clock. They let just a few people in at a time and you order at a counter before they seat you. I had hot chocolate topped with a mountain of whipped cream and apple pan dore (sourdough French toast topped with apples and lemon butter sauce)…. amazing! I counted just 13 small tables, so it’s not surprising they stagger people coming in.

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California Street Cable Car

How can you come to San Francisco and not take at least one cable car ride? I bought a 3 day transport pass, which includes cable cars, so I hopped on one and headed for Market Street on the Powell-Mason line. Once there, I meandered my way up through Chinatown. I stopped at the Tin How Temple, a Buddhist temple on the fourth floor of a tall, narrow building. No pictures allowed inside, but it was a really neat place. Next up was the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory, tucked into a tiny shop on Ross Alley. Along with free samples, you can watch the cookies being made (and fork over $0.50 for a picture!).

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Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory

I hopped back on the cable car after that and stayed on to the top of Lombard Street (the so-called “crooked street”). I snapped a few pictures at the top before walking down the hill. It was quite chilly – only about 55 degrees and windy – so I’m glad I made a last-minute decision yesterday to bring a jacket. From there, I trudged uphill to tiny Macondray Lane. I thought I might have the wrong spot because what was supposed to be a tree-lined cobblestone street was nothing more than a plain old road. I stuck with it, though, and found a small sidewalk at the end of the road leading to the lower part, which is indeed a tree-lined brick walkway lined with homes and gardens. A pretty escape from the bustle of the city. By then I was hungry again. I’m not normally a lunch person, but I sought out another Boudin cafe for a sourdough grilled cheese with brie, havarti, sliced apples, and fig jam. I wish I could say it was more memorable than it was.

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Next up: the theater. I saw that School of Rock was playing at the Orpheum Theatre while I’m here, and having never seen it, decided it would be a fun afternoon. And it was. It was definitely not my favorite musical (save that for Les Mis), but it was good and I enjoyed the music. My last stop of the day was at upcider, a bar that specializes in ciders from around the world. I ordered a flight – yes, an entire flight – of cider and two sliders. It probably goes without saying that after that, I was done for the night. One last cable car ride brought me within a couple of blocks of my hotel and now I’m settled in for the night.