I left my heart in San Francisco, but I gave it a pair of earmuffs, so it should be good for the summer. Here are some things I will miss while we’re away:
1. THE PEOPLE. You know who you are, you hipsters, you tricksters, you prophets in the sky. Wonderful people who craft, cook, surf, bike, run, batik, knit, brunch, smoke salmon, play music, listen to music, get drunk on microbrews, sip wine with true connoisseurship, go to all the music festivals in the state, nordic ski, play board games, drink chai, wear hipster glasses, roast your own coffee, braid your own bracelets, cure your own ham, grow your own herbs, quit your jobs to go traveling, sleep under the sky and yell “ka-kaaw” at the top of your lungs. I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!
2. THE VIEWS: The view from our apartment in Laurel Heights. The view at Inspiration Point and from Twin Peaks. The Lyon street stairs, with their beautiful view over the Bay, which is heard-earned. The peek of Pacifica you get from the top of the hill above Lindamar beach. The view OF and FROM Angel Island. And probably my favorite view in the continental United States: the top floor of the De Young museum.
3. THE FOOD: Pho, anywhere. Black Rice Pudding at B Star Bar. Sushirito. Burmese Rainbow Salad. Madeleine’s. The Coffee Company espresso. Peet’s Matcha Green Tea Latte, unsweetened. Ginger carrot soup at Beautifull. ANYTHING at Miette. Lavender shortbread cookies at Blue Fog markets. Shrimp quesadilla at Papalote. Sunchokes at AQ. Crab at Crustacean. Risotto made by Jeff. Cookies made by Jeff. Goat cheese dates by Meghan. Deep-dish from Little Star pizza. Avocado icecream. Ethiopian, but even better, Eritrean. Nicoise salad at Cafe Prague. Ah… Cafe Prague with your surly East-European waitresses and your mismatched furniture, how I love thee.
4. THE PARKS: Golden Gate. Presidio. Marin Headlands. Crissy Fields and Marina Green. The dogs, the runners, the tourists, Alcatraz, Angel Island, the smell, the mansions, the Palace of Fine Arts. The Quinceanera dresses and poses and posses. That’s not even mentioning what’s a stone’s throw away from San Francisco: Napa, Sonoma, Guernville, Russian River, lake Tahoe, Pacifica, Pescadero, Pie Ranch and its monthly barn dances, redwood forests, national parks, Yosemite, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, ay-ay-ay… I’m running out of breath and bandwidth, and need to stop before this become an ode to California, and THAT, my friends, could take YEARS…
5. THE MUSIC VENUES: The Red Devil Lounge, which, incredibly, is CLOSING. Ireland’s 32, the awful hole on Geary that brings back numerous great memories of watching the Facekicks, back when they still were a unit, and drinking with a large group of friends and friends of friends…The Boom-Boom Room, The Elbo Room, and the rooms and backyards graciously provided by various people for our friends’ improv shows. The second floor of the Rickshaw Stop. The Fillmore, where we saw Balkan Beat Box and Cat Empire. The Independent, and its free movie nights. DNA Lounge and the burlesque shows. And, no, I still haven’t been to the Great American Music Hall…
6. THE BIKING: The bike ride to Baker Beach. The bike ride to Ocean Beach, through the park. Biking to work, as much as I hate getting there sweaty. Biking to Sausalito over Golden Gate bridge – and taking the ferry back because we ate too much… Biking up the hills to check out the Moraga Stairs. Biking to lake Merced. Biking to El Rio, in the Mission.
Biking against wind, going uphill, with fog obscuring everything further than 2 feet away. That’s actually NOT my favorite part.
7. THE FESTIVALS, THE FAIRS, THE FARMERS MARKETS: Really, must I? Yes, I MUST. Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Outsidelands, Treasure Angel Festival, the neighborhood festivals: North Beach, Haight Ashbury St. Fair, Sunday Streets, farmers markets, all of them: Fillmore, Divisadero, Ferry Building, etc. Beer Fests and Wine Fests at Fort Mason and Renegade Art Fairs at the same awesome Ft. Mason. Haloween, Dia De Los Muertos, Bay to Breakers, Tuesday night – basically anything serves as an excuse for these wonderful SF weirdos to get in costume. Stay weirder than even Portland, San Francisco!!
And I could go on and on and on, but instead, I’ll leave you with a parting shot (ha!) of the Golden Gate bridge.