Monday, March 29, 2010

Frisco Trip - Day 03: A Lame Goal Achieved

March 27, 2010:

The Golden Gate Bridge isn't all that big. Go figure.

I’m a total newbie and tourist, so we started the day with visiting the Golden Gate Bridge, the symbol of Frisco if there was one.

We started on the side of the bridge that was opposite of San Francisco. And as it turns out, the cliff that overlooks the Golden Gate Bridge was a perfect spot for an artillery, a place called Battery Spencer. I was never aware of this, but Spencer was, until the mid-40’s, one of the main lines of defense for any attacks on San Francisco. It had a cool look to it, and reminded me, movie geek that I am, of just about any local where you needed an abandoned military base/ghost town feel.

We crossed the bridge and parked on the other side to walk across the bridge. We only went half-way, seeing as we had to pack a lot into the day. I’ve been noticing as of late, and especially when I walk around areas that are both high up and have an open view, that I have a mild fear of heights. Its not so bad that I can’t even look down, or get terrified, but that I have to focus on anything that has nothing to do with how high up I am. I felt it at the top of the Eiffel Tower, I’ve felt it when looking out over office building windows, and I definitely felt it on the Golden Gate Bridge.

My opinions on the Golden Gate Bridge? What hasn’t already been said a thousand times? Let’s just say I’m for it.

Afterwards, we headed to Haight and Ashbury to grab lunch and to earn the right to say that I’ve been there. We ate at a place called Magnolia Brewery, where one of there claims to fame is that they have direct access to some of the purest water in the entire city. The water was cool, but the food was even better. And the beer was pretty dang good, too.

We exited and walked down the street to head to my requested destination, which was the San Francisco Amoeba Record Store. With this store, I would complete my easy quest of being to every Amoeba Store in the world. But before we got there, we tried a number of the stores along the way. Ranging from musical instrument stores, book stores, and even the area Goodwill store, which was impressively stocked with nice vintage clothes and items. Not a big surprise, considering the address, but an all around world of difference.

But besides the businesses, the people on the street are incredibly interesting, from the everyday citizen, to the homeless man, to the new generation of deadbeat hippies. Within a block of walking, we had been offered a gold watch, a used newspaper, a cell phone, and metamphetamines. Veronica had even been sniffed by someone. Very strange.

But within this entire myriad of questionable antics, not once was I offered marijuana. I was a little sad at that.

We arrived at the San Francisco Amoeba, and I soon achieved my admittedly weak sauce goal of being in every Amoeba in existence. It felt cool. A simple accomplishment, but it was all mine, darn it. I even picked up a hard to find copy of Twelve Small Steps, One Giant Disappointment by the band Bad Astronaut. Used, even! Good on ya, SF Amoeba.

We exited Amoeba, found our car, and headed off to check out even more of Frisco. One such place turned out to be a set hills called the “Twin Peaks” (nothing like the movie or show, darn it), and got a panoramic view of all of San Francisco, from the Pacific Ocean to the Bay. Beautiful city and location, to say the least. We then went to the Golden Gate Park and walked around for a bit, though we were too late for the Japanese Tea Garden. By the way, the Golden Gate Park is staggeringly gi-normous.

Following the King of Public Parks, we went to lazily named Ocean Beach and walked through a defunct salt water park and a mysterious cave. I love caves. I don’t know why, I just want to grab a torch and explore for lost items of monetary value and fight nazis. Simple joys, people. Though the “cave” was really just a tunnel, the cool part was that half-way through, there was a opening in the wall that led into a cavern where ocean water would roar in and out of. Again, simple joys.

At this point, our hunger had achieved levels of urgent distress. We headed further into the city proper, valiantly searched for parking, and walked to a restaurant named Tadish Grill. The place had an old school feel to it. In fact, it had been established in 1849. They were in there 161st year of continuous operation. The entire wait staff was male, and they all wore white coats. These guys had that feeling of experience and stand-offishness that can only be achieved through years of working at a place that I would have to sell blood to eat at more than once a year.


I got the Lobster Thermidor Baked in the Shell, Served with Small Salad or Cup of Chowder, Potato and Vegetable. I opted for the clam chowder.
Dennis got the Filet Mignon (6 oz) Broiled, Topped with Jumbo Prawns, with Bearnaise Sauce, Potato and Vegetable.
And Veronica got the Seafood Cioppino with Garlic Bread, (includes: clams, prawns, scallops, bay shrimp, crabmeat, and white fish).

(I know all this because I promptly swapped a menu. Don’t worry, the menus change every other week or so).

To say the food was delicious would be a gross understatement. It was perfect in every way. I can rarely say that, and when I do, I might be wrong. But not in this case. And it wasn’t even obnoxious in its excellence. It was more in a way that the restaurant didn’t have any other choice but to be the source of such awesome fare.

We all tried a little off of each other’s plate. The lobster was big, sweet, and covered in an amazing sauce. Dennis’ steak was perfect. And Veronica’s cioppino had some of the best broth I’d ever tasted, not to mention amazing seafood. I’m not much for seafood, but DAMN that was good.

And clam chowder I had there was the best clam chowder I’ve ever had. And it seemed right that the best clam chowder I’ve ever had was not only in San Francisco, but in the Tadish Grill.
After stuffing ourselves till our eyes watered, we headed home and slept the sleep of the righteously gluttonous.

Topics of Conversation @ San Francisco: Yellow pits, beer production, Muir, hippie elves, chill offers for illegal wares, Hetchy water, bands starting with the letter “Z”, the Guano Wars, “Damn it, China!”, Two Schulz’s = Disaster, Zachary’s Lament, the crack of sunset, etc.


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