Well, I must say that if we ever decide to move to San Francisco, we'd definitely have a fun cast of characters to hang out with. This trip was a whirlwind of social activity, a chance to hang out with our friends here and see the city from their perspective.
Wayne and Heidi, by their house.
Ham readers may remember Wayne and Heidi from the wedding I was in last year. Wayne is a gifted photographer, marathon runner, and could win the "nicest guy of the year" award if such things exist. He works as a freelance online guy and also helps Heidi run her enormously successful 101cookbooks food web site. They reside on a quintessential Victorian home-clad San Francisco street and appear to live a life where their passions come first. They are true fans of San Francisco, and to me, represent the kind of life I am seeking: Working for yourself, doing what you love, and being a bigger fish in a smaller pond.
The couple treated us to lunch at Delfina Pizzeria, which unquestionably holds up to the New York pizza we're used to. I love that they ordered a plate of broccoli on the side, something Dan and I would never do, and it turned out to be broccoli fried in batter, topped with pepper and finely grated pecorino cheese. So. good. Afterwards, they took us to Bi-Rite Creamery which I read about in Bon Appetit as being one of the best ice cream shops in America on the plane ride home from this very trip. These people obviously know their food. I could get used living (and eating) like this.
On another day, Wayne took me on an informal walking tour of Hayes Valley, up a hill to an enormous church, and knowing my love of sweets, brought me to two bakeries: Miette which is really more of a Euro-style candy shop which sells average-tasting cupcakes and Tartine which has amazing jumbo-sized flaky croissants and what looked like an amazing whole lot more. I hope to go back there one day.
I was thrilled that I had the chance to catch up with my friend Megan on this trip. Before Megan moved to San Francisco, she and I worked at a magazine together and ours was an unlikely friendship. My first impression of the girl was a female frat boy (her nickname at work was Meg-a-phone because of her boisterous voice), but over time I came to fall in love the girl with her thunderous laugh, wicked sense of humor and thoughtful perspective on life. I was sad when she left NYC. Megan met us in the Mission at Velvet Cantina and seems to be doing well here with her career and boyfriend situation. She's all grown up now. Though the three of us downed two pitchers of margaritas during our time together which made for a pretty non-grown up next day. I swear, I am allergic to margaritas. Don't let me drink one ever again! They make me feel terrible!
The V-towners: Jim, Brad, Dan and Valerie
The non-V-towners: me, Ryan and Holly.
Most of Dan's high school friends reside in San Francisco, so we all got together for dinner, drinks and cannolli in North Beach. I have heard so much about Jim (aka Hurley), Brad, and Valerie, but I have only met each of them briefly so it was great to spend some time getting to know them. I felt an instant connection with Brad's fiance, Holly, who, just like me, works as a marketing freelancer also has a love of writing and books. She does some of the writing for Brad's online business, Weekend Sherpa, an e-newsletter that highlights the best of San Francisco's outdoor activities. Of course, the night was filled with stories about high school, Visalia and old times which made Dan really, really happy.
Have you ever seen Dan so excited??? This is how he looked all night.
Ryan, Dan and Valerie.
V-towner Valerie, her husband Ryan and their dog Luther live in San Mateo, a suburb of San Francisco, and they graciously let us stay with them the last two nights of our trip. We spent a much-needed lazy Saturday together where we went out for deep dish pizza at Zachary's, and then walked around Berkeley, which I found to be too hippie weird for me. Lucky for Dan, there were a few record stores to keep us busy. In the evening we had a lovely barbecue at their house where they cooked tri tip. Before meeting Dan, I have never heard of tri tip, but it is a cut of steak that's very popular in California and it seems that every time we come here, we have some of it. I'm not complaining, it's very tasty.
Dan with his parents.
Our last day was not spent with San Franciscans at all--but with Dan's parents who drove over three hours from Visalia just to have breakfast with us early Sunday morning. Dan shrugged his shoulders at their efforts, saying, "Well, I had to wake up at 8 am." They replied, saying that they were happy to make the drive. "We'd do anything to see Yvonne." Awww, shucks. We ate at their favorite restaurant, the Buena Vista, and then shopped at the food stands at the Ferry Building before it was time to say good-bye.