As with most vacations I plan, eating adventures is a large part of the draw.
I break away from my regular routine, let go and enjoy myself. Well earlier this month, two and a half days was more than enough to fill that requirement. The days following the vacation, I broke down exactly what I ate and it was shocking — even to me.
Saturday started with a trip to the Ferry Market. I had been there earlier this year and wanted to take Paul there. It’s fantastic for people watching and having it right by the bay provided excellent shots of the waterfront. The Bay Bridge was closed for the long weekend for maintenance repairs and with the naked eye, one can view the Caltrans workers working on the bridge.
But on an empty stomach with only a morning coffee, it doesn’t provide enough energy for sightseeing. Lucky for us the usual Saturday Farmers Market provided endless breakfast options. We settled on a salumi cup, something Paul didn’t want any part of it and a donut muffin to munch on while wandering among the fresh produce and perusing the merchandise.
That was only part one of breakfast. The second part was half way across the city in Hayes Valley.
Hayes Valley is one of my favorite spots in San Francisco. There are a lot of boutique shops, a cool comic book shop and several bakeries all within walking distance of each other. While waiting for Isotope Comics to open, we wandered into Citizen Cake and had a cupcake — and several calories — to pass the time.
Citizen Cake is the restaurant of Elizabeth Faulkner, a renowned baker who has appeared in Top Chef Masters. Cookbooks with her face line the walls of the patisserie while her adjoining restaurant next door was abuzz with the breakfast crowd. But we were only there for the cupcakes. Somewhere along the way back to our car, we also managed to sneak in a macaroon each fromPaulette Macaroons. All the sugar certainly helped us with the first half of the day.
Around noon is when the sugar crash starts, so we went back to the Bay for something more substantial.
It wasn’t my idea to visit Red’s Java House. It was featured on Anthony Bourdain’s show No Reservations and with Paul being a fan of cheeseburgers, I agreed to have lunch there.
The food which included breakfast items and several sandwich options were all well priced. But the cheeseburgers did not do it for either of us. Paul’s double patty was sandwiched between a sourdough baguette. The bread was overly chewy and the mustard was spread so thick that the whole thing was tart. The situation was even worse with my single hamburger patty and it just disappeared in the condiments. And it wasn’t just us who felt the same way about the burgers. I spied a group of people seated next to us smuggle in their own burgers from another place while enjoying the view of the bridge. At least the mustard and sour dough cut out any leftover sugar from our palate.
The rest of the afternoon, we were determined to play tourists. We crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, gawked at other out-of-towners as we drove by Pier 39 and even had a caricature drawn by a local Bay Area “artist” much to Paul’s chagrin. I guess tourists also flock to Humphry Slocombe because there was a line outside of the door when it was time for an afternoon ice cream break. Yes, we had ice cream the same day.
People were taking photos of their ice cream, much like we were, and it’s no wonder. Humphry Slocombe’s flavors included red white miso pecan, Jesus Juice (red wine and Coke flavor) and Thai chili lime. Paul chose the safe flavors like Tahitian vanilla and cinnamon chip. I chose balsamic caramel and secret breakfast (bourbon-flavored ice cream with corn flakes) and it was almost worthy of me disposing of everything I had eaten earlier that day. The flavors were just a too intense. Or maybe it was just the two-headed cow staring at me that almost did me in.
Next: the final nail in the coffin.