Friday, October 18, 2013

San Francisco: Day One

Good evening from the home of the Golden Gate Bridge. Which we didn't visit today, but it is most definitely on our agenda for tomorrow. And have no fear, I will be sure to cover every single detail of our glorious first full day in San Francisco.
My flight to Denver
Both of my flights were excellent. We flew Southwest, because my dad has racked up quite a few frequent flyer miles, and neither flight met any complications. My dad even provided me with his in-flight wifi, so I was able to peruse Pinterest work on homework while I was in the air. Pretty cool! I arrived in (45 degree) Denver (wearing shorts and chacos) earlier than scheduled, so I promptly went off in search of a food court. The Denver airport is no Bush Intercontinental, but I found a TCBY where I decided to indulge in some (dairy-free!!!) silk chocolate almond frozen yogurt, along with a water bottle to curb the dehydration that often comes from flying.
If it has fruit, it's healthy, right? ;)
Our flight to San Francisco arrived pretty much on time, and we got to our hotel, which is located very near Union Square, a little after 11:30pm. We were both pretty exhausted, so we crawled into bed pretty quickly after that. We let ourselves sleep in a little bit, before waking up around 7:15am (I realize that is not really "sleeping in," but we are used to waking up at 6am when we are "on vacation," in order to get to the local convention center to play a long day of volleyball) to get ready for a very full day.


First things first. Breakfast! We wandered down to check out the complimentary breakfast served at our hotel, but I didn't find anything that looked like it would hold me over for very long. I ate an orange, and my mom ate a piece of toast with butter, but then we wandered in the direction of the race expo so that we could try and find a real breakfast. After looking in at a few places and deeming them unworthy, mainly because they didn't offer anything that was dairy-free, we settled upon an absolutely precious restaurant by the name of Honey Honey Cafe & Crepery. The menu had everything under the sun, so I knew I was sure to find something both nutritious and delicious. After much deliberation, I ordered the Post Street Omelet - sans cheese, substituting egg whites for eggs - which had mushrooms, ham, and green bell peppers inside. My omelet came with a side of potatoes and two pieces of whole wheat toast, so my mom ate my potatoes, and I had one piece of the warm, crispy toast. Everything about this place - the food, the atmosphere, and the location - was fabulous. We are even considering going back again tomorrow!

And one of the best parts about my Honey Honey experience is that I saw three separate people taking pictures of their food. Granted, their crepes were very Instagram-worthy, but I feel as though I am surrounded by people who understand the importance of food presentability.


The first stop on our list today, after breakfast, was the race expotique, so that I could pick up my race packet and materials. However, prior to the actual expotique, we had a very special stop to make. This year is the 10th anniversary of the San Francisco Nike Women's Marathon, and that resulted in the production of some very special, limited-edition Nike shoes. You may or may not be aware that this race is the one in which you are presented with a one-of-a-kind Tiffany necklace upon crossing the finish line. So, when I saw the announcement that Nike was selling some unique-to-the-race shoes that you could put on reserve starting last Thursday, and that one of the options was a shoe consisting mostly of the beautiful and non-replicable Tiffany blue color, I knew immediately that I would regret not getting them. My mom so generously offered to get them for me, and I cannot wait to lace them up and go for a run.

This particular shoe is the Nike Lunarglide+5 running shoe, which I definitely looked up and read reviews on before reserving my pair. Fortunately, they received rave reviews, so I knew I was good to go. I know I just got a new pair of Mizuno's this past week, but in all fairness, it's not like I don't get my money's worth out of them! Anyway, we went to the fifth floor of the Nike store, and I immediately went and picked up my shoes - it was quick and easy. After paying for them, I was told to take a picture that would simulate the end of the race. To my surprise, I was proposed to by my very own San Francisco firefighter. I didn't realize marriage was part of the deal, but it sure was fun!

After I picked up my shoes, my mom and I headed over to the expotique, which was just awesome. It was extremely organized, and they did everything up so well. The carpet lining the entrance was Tiffany blue, and everything inside the tent just looked so sleek. I could tell they really put a lot of effort into making this a special event, and it made me even more excited for the run on Sunday. I will be starting at Powell Street, and my race number is 28202, if you are interested in tracking my progress. The hills in San Francisco are pretty wild, so I am not anticipating a new PR, but it isn't going to take a PR to get that little blue box!

SO cool to see my name on the window 

A little piece of home

After all of that excitement, we walked on back to our hotel to drop off our bags, and we were on our merry way. The first stop on the agenda? Alamo Square to visit those Painted Ladies, aka the houses featured in the theme song to Full House, one of my absolute favorite childhood (and adulthood) shows. My roommates make fun of me for going to the local video store - Vulcan Video - and renting the seasons, but it is easily one of the most wholesome family television shows there is. You got it, dude!

It took a couple of tries to get a good picture, but I just couldn't stop smiling after visiting this beautiful park. It afforded us some pretty sweet views of the city, too.

We got back on the same bus that took us over there, and then we transferred to a bus that would take us directly to the oh-so-touristy Fisherman's Wharf. And though I am well aware that Fisherman's Wharf is a tourist trap, I loved every minute of it. 


We had worked up an appetite by this point, so our first task was finding a restaurant to eat at for lunch. We went with Wipeout Bar and Grill, and we both just loved it. Our food was fabulous, our service was great, and the view was unbeatable. I knew I had to get some sort of fish, so I finally decided on the salmon salad, and my mom went with the turkey burger and a side of sweet potato fries. I ate most of split the sweet potato fries with her, and we both agreed that they were some of the best we have had. I even tried a bite of her turkey burger, and I really liked that, too. It was jut what we needed to perk us back up for more exploring (and walking).

One of the reasons we decided to come to Pier 39 is because of one particular store: Lefty's. I may have mentioned once or twice before that I favor my left hand. I also may have mentioned that my life has been significantly more difficult due to the fact that I am forced to live in a world made for right-handed people. Though I am obviously just kidding, I still wanted to visit a store dedicated to products made only for southpaws. It had scissors and notebooks and can openers, but it also had a fruit peeler and playing cards and coffee mugs, all made especially for a lefty. I ended up purchasing a left-handed oven mitt, as well as a fun little ornament that would remind me of my visit (not that I'm very likely to forget).

My mom and I continued walking around, visiting a beautiful art shop, an NFL store, a chocolate shop, and a Christmas store. There was so much to take in, and I was absolutely loving every minute of it. We considered taking an hour-long boat tour that went around Alcatraz and under the Golden Gate Bridge, but we were already cold enough as it was, so we nixed that idea and headed in the direction of Ghirardelli Square. 

My mom took the complimentary shuttle, but I chose to walk, enjoying the cool breeze from the water, and wanting to get in as many hills as possible before Sunday. We went into the chocolate store, where my mom bought some of her favorite non-pareils, and I, because I unfortunately can't take a chance on eating any actual chocolate, purchased a Ghirardelli Chocolate Cookbook. You might have noticed that I really love to bake, so this purchase seemed right up my alley. 

After strolling through Ghirardelli Square, I took the plunge and hiked up a monster hill to the most crooked street in the world - Lombard Street. My mom wasn't sure she felt up to the challenge, and once I got going, I wasn't so sure that I was up for it either. However, I was afforded some pretty unbeatable views, so I ignored my screaming calves.

Once I reached Lombard Street, I couldn't help but smile at how many people were standing at the top snapping pics, as cars drove carefully down the street as though they do it every day (and they probably do). I walked down the stairs to the bottom of the street, and it was truly a spectacular sight. It is hard to tell from the pictures, but the street really is a one-of-a-kind sight, and it was worth every grueling step.

My mom was smart and took a cab up that monster hill, where she promptly found me at the corner of Lombart and Hyde, and we rode the cab back to our hotel, where we are recharging our bodies (and our phones) before deciding where to go for dinner. I think we're both thinking something pretty low-key tonight, as we did a heck of a lot of walking, and we are both pretty worn out. The day really was everything I could have dreamed of and more, and I am so happy I get to share this entire weekend with my sweet mom. The weather is my favorite (though it got a bit chilly the closer we got to the bay), the views are absolutely incredible, and everyone we've talked to has been eager to point us in the right direction. Tomorrow we are planning to visit the area surrounding the Golden Gate Bridge, ride a cable car, and I am even trying to talk my mom into a Golden Gate bike ride to Sausalito. I'm not sure I've managed to convince her quite yet!

And we're off to find something to eat! I hope your Friday was one to remember, and I will talk to you guys again tomorrow!

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