Welcome to our San Fran visit, Eagle & Wolf style! S.F. is a beautiful, condensed city, and it was the perfect backdrop to the celebration of my 30th birthday. Although I’ve been to the city a number of times, it was Jake’s first visit, so we had a lot to cram in the few days we were there. Shall we?
We booked our stay at Hotel Vertigo, near Union Square. Dressed in tangerine and cream hues, the hotel is styled after the Hitchcock 1958 film Vertigo because it was actually shot on location in S.F. and scenes were filmed at the hotel itself, once called York Hotel.
Uhhhh you know, I actually did feel a little vertigo when I took a look down from the top of the stairwell. This same stairwell was used in the film.
S.F. is known for its great transit system. We didn’t take a cab once, and there was certainly no need for a rental car, even from the airport. We purchased a 3-day pass which granted us access to the bus, cable cars, and trains.
Public transit is also a good way to see the city and become familiar with the peeps that inhabit it. And dudes, you think people in Portland are weird? SF makes Portland look like a sleepy puppy dog – a very WHITE sleepy puppy dog. There is so much more cultural diversity, foreign tourists, and straight up CRAZY in this town, it actually made me miss the quiet streets of SE Portland.
But on the other hand, the food. Whatever your flavor, you name it, you can find some hole-in-the-wall joint that has it in good variety. And late at night, too.
I have a friend who was born and raised in SF, and he was happy to give us a list of places to eat and drink. And because he tended bar for many years there, I could go to a place he recommended and say, “Jeremiah sent me”. ::Free drinks dispersed::
One such place was Toronado, a pub that’s been open in SF for 24 years now. We were given a warm welcome and enjoyed delicious beer before noon.
For my birthday dinner, I dressed up in my new best duds, a Betsey Johnson dress (which I must now wear to every special event ever) and passed on the fancy heels for a good pair of walking shoes (because walking in stiletto heels on those hilly streets would have been a cruel joke). Then we headed to Sodini’s, another recommendation. And OH.MYYYYY.GOD. was that a good suggestion! It was certainly one of the most memorable, affordable Italian dinners I’ve had yet.
We also enjoyed vintage libations in this unmarked, windowless “speakeasy” style bar, called Bourbon and Branch. We were required to ring a buzzer and provide a password. The menu was a thick binder of drink recipes. Were I to visit again, I would definitely sit at the bar to watch all the drinks being made.
SF’s vibrant art scene is visible on the sides of buildings throughout the city. We even saw a moving art gallery in the back of a truck. I myself managed a quick ink sketch somewhere in between doing nothing and doing lots of stuff.
The rest of our time was spent exploring, doing a little shopping in Haight, and visiting with Jake’s brother and his lady, who has spent the last year living in the city.
There was so much to do, by the end we were exhausted. And although our journey back from the foggy city sucked, it was oh so worth it! Thanks to my main man Jake for treating me to such a wonderful birthday celebration. Don’t be surprised if a few SF-inspired drawings pop up here on this very blog.
And to the friends I missed during our stay – we’ll be back again!