So my trip to San Francisco last weekend was a blast and, unfortunately, like all my trips, it was way too short and there was way too much eating. But it was a vacation so I absolutely had to enjoy myself while I was in the city surrounded by good food galore.
The trip was momentarily spoiled by the car rental place. Wha? No hybrids in stock although I specifically reserved one for the trip?? Instead, we were stuck with a craptastic Ford Focus. Driving a cherry red Ford Focus up to San Francisco and around the city was no fun; handling was stiff and we found a nail embedded in one of the front tires. I was expecting that to be major problem at any moment. (Fortunately, nothing bad happened during the 1,500 miles put on the car). I admit it was miserly with the gas. A plus since gas around the area was going as high as $3.75 during our visit.
The main reason for the trip was to tag along as Paul displayed his goods at San Francisco’s WonderCon — the Bay Area’s comic convention. It’s about a fifth the size of San Diego’s own comic convention. I was supposed to help him at the convention but instead I ditched two out of the three days to explore the city.
I was lucky enough to have a co-conspirator those two days who was equally keen to tag along as I hunted down food places. Jen, the fiance of Space Punks creator Josep, was a good sport through it all and I might add, a pretty awesome navigator.
On Friday we explored Berkeley by foot and got caught in a downpour which ended as soon as we reached the car. In Berkeley, we also paid a visit to the Scharffen Berger factory.
It was when I was living in Los Angeles that I first tasted Scharffen Berger chocolates and since that first piece I have been a converted woman. So I was ecstatic when I discovered that Scharffen Berger was located in Berkeley and offered free daily tours of the factory.
The one-hour tour covered everything from the history of Scharffen Berger to how a cocoa bean is converted to chocolate. It was truly eye-opening and made me appreciate fine chocolates even more. At one point during the tour, Jen even leaned over to me saying that the tour ruined Nestle for her.
What was also ruined was our appetite for the rest of the day. Luckily, we had time before the chocolate tour to gulp down a few bites from Cafe Cacao next door. The waiters were extremely generous and didn’t blink twice when we asked them to refrigerate our leftovers while we attended the tour. Because seriously, the pie-sized salad nicoise and quiche we ordered was enough to feed four people.
Before retrieving the guys from the Moscone Center we picked up something from Kara’s Cupcakes (in Ghiradelli Square) and a bottle of wine.
Kara’s Cupcakes, in terms of styling and minimalist store design was Sprinkles Cupcakes redone under another name and transplanted in the Bay Area. I cannot vouch for the taste — my taste buds were still numb from the chocolate tasting — but Paul did claim that the buttermilk vanilla I selected for him was pretty darn good.
On Saturday there was more exploration of the city, this time with Jen’s friend in tow. We hit Coit Tower, Lombard Street and the Golden Gate Bridge. Despite the frequent drizzle which hung over the city, it was a pretty relaxing day. We concluded with a trip to a spa for a massage (my first) where we snacked on frozen grapes, cucumber water and apples.
But I must give props for a sandwich place we went to for lunch. Yeah, their sandwiches were good and the soup was hearty but it was their name that stuck with me: ‘WichCraft.
As promised to Paul, I did spend the last day of the convention with him at the table. Sunday was significantly slower, or so I was told by Paul. I didn’t get to see many costumed folk and only managed to snap a photo of someone dressed as Sandman.
I was hampered by a stomach ache which was possibly caused by walking in the rain and the combination of too much rich food. Frankly, I was not a lot of help aside from breaking down his table and getting Paul some tea. I did manage to get one more meal in which was gentle and familiar to my stomach at the Metreon Center.
Soon after the convention was over, we packed up for the 8-hour drive back to San Diego.
Things not mentioned, the Darwyn Cooke party at Isotope Comics, the crazy woman harassing us at Ghiradelli Square and the huge amount of food bought for our hotel suite that was not consumed.