Sunday, August 31, 2008

Chinatown & Fisherman's Wharf

My friend Sarah from Minneapolis (we went to Kent together) and I do our best to see each other every year. We take turns traveling to MN/OH or meet at Sarah's parents in Dallas. This year we decided to kick it up a notch and plan a destination get together. The kicker is that Sarah has a 13-month-old, Ella (aka Bug). We picked San Francisco since I was scheduled to be here for a conference Wednesday through Friday.

I'm thrilled to see Sarah again! She's the kind of friend who gets a wad of cash from her parents and then splits it with you so you both can have a shopping spree. And, during a time of desperation for me, she snagged a flight to Cleveland and showed up with matching Girl Power pjs, slippers, blankies, movies and chocolate to cheer me up for the weekend.

Anyway, we three amigas are taking the holiday weekend to see the sights and tour wine country. Today was uber tourist day with stops in Chinatown and Fisherman's Wharf. One of the only reasons I wanted to go to Chinatown was to see the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory. Total joke. First, we felt like we needed a secret password to find the obscure alley. Second, the site was about three times bigger than our hotel room with one guy making fortune cookies. However, it was cool to see the drops of batter on motorized griddles go in the oven and come out pliable enough to be folded. At least I got a fresh cookie and some samples for Ella to munch on. My fortune was, "You have an ambitious nature and may make a name for yourself." I think they were just looking for more tips!

We climbed some unbelievable hills on our way back to the hotel after lunch (yummy open face goat cheese, roasted red pepper and pesto sandwich). My calves burned enough walking on my own, but I really thou
ght I was going to die pushing Ella in her stroller.

After our regroup, we walked to Market Street for our Union Square hotel to take the F Streetcar to the piers and ferry building. Pier 39 was a total tourist trap as friends had mentioned, but we still felt obligated to walk through to the observation deck so we could see the ocean up close and get a glimpse of Alcatraz, which we'll tackle on Monday.

We walked from Pier 39 to the ferry
building, which seemed like it wouldn't take that long, but ended up being quite the walk. Basically we walked from pier 39 to pier 1. We saw the Golden Gate Bridge in a fog (of course) in the distance when we left, and ended up pretty close to the end of the Oakland Bridge. Most of the shops were closing by the time we got to the ferry building, which bummed me out because I was craving Cowgirl Creamery cheese. Thank god this is day one!

Starving, we stopped at Mijita, a yummy Mexican joint on the pier that uses local ingredients. My que
sadilla looked nothing like what I expected (it was more of a turnover), but was delish. The carrots served on the side were surprisingly spicy. I think they were marinated in a chili mixture to provide that fantastic kick. The restaurant had Mexican Squirt on the menu, which got me all excited because I LOVED Squirt as a kid, but unfortunately they were out. Phil is xtra crazy about Mr. Pibb Xtra, and when we're out of town, insists on checking grocery stores for two liters. I think I must begin a quest for Squirt.

We walked to the Powell-Mason cable car turnaround station (super cool) and waited a while before catching a cable car back to Union Square. The ride back was fun! Going up the hills felt like the slow ascent of a roller coaster, and I do believe a squealed once or twice when we did a steep drop.

Ella was an absolute trooper and stayed up WAY past her bedtime (I'm a bad influence). She tried to say my name tonight before she finally crashed in bed since we're such good buds now. Last time I saw her she was one month old (I keep tabs on her with her daddy's blog), and now she's quite the big girl. We'll see how wine country goes tomorrow. Can't wait!