San Francisco: the West Coast’s Windy City (Part One)

It’s been about a week since my trip to SF began, but I’ve only just been able to write this blog post. I’ve been down for the count with post-vacation laryngitis.

Anyway, I’ll write up my four day trip in a couple parts (hopefully not four, but I make no promises). There was a lot to see and do in San Fran, and still more I haven’t seen! Next time though, I’m ditching my walking shoes for a moped (I think I walked on average four miles a day).

Traveling to a new place is always easier when you have a friend, and I’m so thankful I had one living in the city! I’d be starving and probably still lost if it wasn’t for her help!

Did you know the first Sunday of every month there’s a vegan food truck gathering somewhere near the mission district? There is! Vegetarians and vegans rejoice in the plethora of good food, just for you! Props to all the food trucks who came out, even if they don’t usually serve vegan food, for changing their menus to welcome us. I was really surprised at not only the amount of vendors, but the amount of people who came out to eat on a Sunday afternoon.

After fueling up, one of the first things on my list was to see the ‘Full House’ houses, called the Painted Ladies, at Alamo Square. I don’t know what I was imagining, but I didn’t think so many people would be out in the park picnicking! I thought it would be just tourists like me, but no! The view was nice, but I spent most of my time trying to imagine which one was the actual ‘Full House’ house. We couldn’t decide.

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From there, we took an Uber to Ocean Park. We actually were going to go to Land’s End, but our driver was really nice and told us about a walking route up there along the beach, so we said, ‘hey, why not?’ Turns out Ocean Park’s beach is pretty awesome, minus the plethora of dead tiny crabs I saw, littered across the sand. I can only imagine how busy it gets during the summer! Did you know San Fran has windmills? I mean, they’re not working, the two by the beach, but they’re giant! SF, you can totally turn these into a B & B/bar money-making machine (Hire me! I’d love to run that place)! We walked up along the side of the beach and found a route my friend had never seen, going through an old bathhouse (I’d say Roman bath, but that’s only because it’s all I’ve known). On our way to Land’s End, we found gorgeous views of the Golden Gate Bridge (seriously, I have more pictures of that bridge on my phone than I can count). When I arrived, I had told my friend that despite living in the Pacific Northwest, I had yet to see real live whales in my travels. I think the humpback whales heard my call: along the route, we saw at least five humpback whales diving for food. I have no photographic proof, as my phone doesn’t zoom in that far, but I was sold. Apparently, they’ve never been spotted that close to the bridge and the bay before, which concerns environmentalists, but they did give us a good show.

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From what I can gather, Land’s End is park of Golden Gate Bridge park, which is really not that close to Golden Gate Bridge. I mean, we probably could’ve walked it, but then we’d have been starving. So, we decided to head out to eat to one of the best restaurants I’ve been too in awhile.

I’m not kidding. I’m still dreaming about this place, Shizen vegan sushi bar & izakaya, one week later. There was still a line at 8p to get a table!

Sorry, folks, I didn’t take pictures of the deliciousness, as my phone had died. But their special plates were named after the game ‘Clue,’ so if you don’t think that’s cool, then, well, I don’t know what to tell you. And if you’re against vegan-only food, that’s fine: more room for me! I’m not a huge fan of sushi, mainly because I don’t eat fish, but these were delightfully crafted, creamy, crunchy, and all sorts of yummy! We started out by ordering only two plates, but after seeing what the table next to us ordered (I think they ordered almost everything on the menu), we added another plate. I don’t know what I’d do if I was lucky enough to live across from that restaurant. I’d weigh 1,000 pounds and would probably need to end up cleaning dishes to pay for my food.  Basically, go there: it’s worth the wait. I promise.

Day one, I was awed by vegan food and ocean views. The next day, we toured around the Mission District, doing a hill climb (Bernal Heights) and visiting some cool city parks, including Dolores Park (I’m a sucker for city parks), before heading downtown to the Nob Hill Inn, where I stayed the rest of the week. The Mission District has a lot of character, so after spending almost a day there, I was almost disappointed to go back into a regular, downtown city core. However, we did go to the roof-top bar on the Marriott downtown, which offered 360-degree views of the city,  well worth the hefty price of the drinks & fare.

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The third day, I headed to Alcatraz. I wasn’t sure they’d let me out. More on that to follow.



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