I think I'll break up my three-day whirlwind in 24-hour hunks (that sounds like a company that could be very lucrative).
Monday, I took freaky Virgin America to SFO, and then I took BART with total ease to Embarcadero. My friend lives at the Millennium Tower, which is nicer than most hotels I've been to--except her apartment has a very distinct Ikea-ness to it.
Tuesday I got a taste of Bay fog. Dressed in a long-sleeved shirt, I strolled over to the Ferry Building and grabbed an Acme Bread company croissant (unremarkable) for breakfast then headed out. Then I walked to SF Moma because it was the first Tuesday of the month, hence free art appreciation. There was a big Ansel Adams/Georgia O'Keeffe exhibit going on, which I promptly decided was not worth my time, and instead admired the rest of the exhibits, especially Robert Frank's photos, particularly the The Americans collection.
Is it just me or does every art museum have a Calder mobile or sculpture? I want one.
Then I walked around the Yerba Buena gardens and the underwhelming Metreon. Then on to Union Square. On the way I ducked into the Palace Hotel, which is where I would like to have a party some time. It's absolutely darling. I got in the wrong part of Union Square and left in a hurry. It seemed far nicer later in the week when I passed it in the cable car.
Then I took the Bart from Union Square to the 24th Street station and went to Mission Pie, but didn't get anything, because I am very pie-picky. And then I walked QUITE a long way through the Mission to St. Francis Fountain where I was served a nice chocolate shake and terrible cornbread that had forgotten to advertise itself as having peppers in it. Gah!
The great thing about the Mission and much of San Francisco is the murals and beautifully painted Victorian houses. I'll post pictures later.
I then stopped at Dog Eared Books, a fantastic if mildly creepy used books seller, and bought a birthday gift for my friend.
Starved, I went to Delfina Pizzeria, by far the best pizza I've had on this coast, but I was unable to finish my margherita. Tartine was right next door, and I couldn't just leave it untouched, so I bought a brownie-to-go (I didn't finish it for several days, but it was altogether too rich for my blood) and a nice little rocher with cacao nibs that was light enough to eat on the spot. Around the corner I stopped at Bell Jar and got my friend a freakish Judy Garland paper doll for her 25th birthday.
Then I dragged my exhausted bones to the Mission Dolores, which is worth the price of admission if only to sit in the honey-lit basilica where it is still and womb=like. Highly rec'd.
Then I walked up to Market and headed back to the Civic Center. On the way I stopped at Get Lost Books and picked up Sara Wheeler's Travels in a Thin Country and bought my mother's birthday gift at FLAX, a super-cool art shop.
Not yet done, I went to Citizen Cake in the Hayes Valley and bought a s'mores brownie and little chocolate cookie and creme sandwich, both of which I ate much later. The latter was just sugar, but the brownie was fantastic.
Then I walked through Civic Center, taking a stroll through the truly breathtaking San Francisco City Hall, which by that hour was empty. Under the rotunda, I looked up for the birds I could hear chirping, then realized there was a San Francisco city sounds recording playing. I walked through the other side past the library and museums and all the way to the nearest Bart, which I took back to Lucy's.
I wanted to pass out, but we went to the strangest place for dinner instead. Eddie Rickenbacker's, a bistro decked out in bikes, had a truly fantastic burger. I couldn't eat the whole thing and ended up having the other half the next night, which was almost as good nuked. It's a strange set-up, but totally worth it if you're in the Embarcadero/SOMA area and don't want to spend a million bucks or dress to the nines.
Which I never do.
So that was day one.