San Francisco: The City by the Bay

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Our food walk day. 🙂

We went to Mama’s for breakfast. We were there by 8:30 and only had to wait in line for IMG_2643an hour! Mama’s is a must visit when we’re in SF. The portions are generous and the food is delicious. I had the Florentine Scramble which is scrambled eggs (they must be delicious, since I don’t do eggs, and I reallllllly don’t do scrambled eggs), with spinach, bacon, red onion, and cheese. Also potatoes, and a toasted sour dough baguette. I barely made a dent in all that food. To the extent that the waitress asked if I likedIMG_2645 it when she took away my plate. I assured her it was very good!

After breakfast, we went back to our hotel, took a little rest, then regrouped for the next foray. We rode the bus down to the Sutro Baths. We had visited there a couple of years ago, but I wasn’t able to walk around and see everything up close and this time was my opportunity. The area has some amazing history attached to it.

After exploring and being wind blown, we made our way to the nearby Cliff House where we shared some snacks as a late lunch. Then we rode the bus back to the city center, walked to Lemonade for … what else? some lemonade!

Then to the Marriott Hotel for our usual visit to their View Lounge.  It used to be called the Sky Lounge, (or Skyy??) but now it’s the View. Our waitress there was awe. SOME! She took excellent care of us and was charming and fun! We can’t wait to go back just to enjoy her company. Anyway, drinks, more snacks, and watching the construction of the building nearby took some time. It was fascinating to watch the crane operator. That also necessitated debating and looking up crane operator salaries in San Francisco.

Back to our hotel then. We had leftovers from Luisa’s and snacks from our first night that we put out, but let’s be honest. We’d been snacking all day. No one was really “hungry.” After we ate, we went to the hotel’s restaurant and enjoyed some live music. A jazz group was playing.

We decided to sleep in the next morning, Wednesday, and go to Dottie’s True Blue Cafe, another staple of SF visits, for breakfast. And it’s a good thing I decided to look at the menu first thing Wednesday morning, because I discovered that they’re closed on Wednesdays.

Quick change of plans and we instead went to Lori’s Diner, where we had a coupon for 20% off. The food was good and hearty, the service excellent, but it just wasn’t Dottie’s.

After breakfast, our destination was the Walt Disney Family Museum. Another first for Dave and me. We rode a couple of busses to get there. It’s on the grounds of the old Presidio. It’s phenomenal. We spent several hours there. It’s truly a museum dedicated to the origins of Walt Disney and his family. It begins with his ancestors’ migration from France and Ireland. It’s laid out and organized extremely well. I loved it. I soon gave up trying to read everything, because there is just so much detail. I didn’t realize that Walt was only 65 when he died. What a loss to the creative world …

IMG_2585Another bus ride and we were closer to the Fisherman’s Wharf area and we stopped at the famous Buena Vista Cafe for Irish Coffees. Tony had started a group text before the trip with a link to an article about the cafe and their coffees and the bartender who’s served five million of them.

The experience did not disappoint. We all enjoyed the coffee and shared some fries as sustenance before we walked down to Fisherman’s Wharf for dinner at Boudin’s on Pier 39. Dave and I shared clam chowder in a bread bowl and it was as delicious as expected.

Then our little group headed to the highlight of the trip which was a wine tasting bay cruise. Such a fun evening! The cruise was two hours long. IMG_4291It included 5 tastings, plus a bonus “welcome aboard,” taste. The weather was pretty windy and chilly, so we didn’t spend much time outside on the deck. The first 30-40 minutes were pretty rough as we sailed toward the Golden Gate. But once we reached the bridge and turned around, everything was delightful! The water smoothed out. People could walk to the bar for their additional pours. (Instead of having to stagger from post to post, grasping their glass, afraid to let go of either.)

The crew was personable and fun. The customers could join the captain and take pictures behind his station.

From the Golden Gate, we then sailed to the Bay Bridge, to Oracle Park and McCovey Cove. There are blankets on board, if it’s really cold. The whole cruise was wonderful and I highly recommend it!


We docked at 9:00, walked to a nearby cable car stop and waited for our turn to ride back to the stop near our hotel. By then, we only had about half an hour to enjoy the last of the

night’s jazz musician’s in the hotel restaurant, but it was a great ending to a wonderful day in San Francisco.

And alas, it was the end of our trip. We had to fly out of Fresno at 4:00 the next day,Thursday. Which meant we had to be at the airport by 2:30, leaving our house by 2. We had to do laundry and I had some work to do, so we needed to leave by 7:30 the next morning.

So we said our farewells Wednesday evening, after the jazz musicians finished their set. (Quick interruption–one of them came over to chat–asked us where we were from–turns out he plays sometimes with the Sons of the San Joaquin–Fresno’s pre-eminent cowboy singing group.)

We had a wonderful three full days and two partial days in San Francisco. We loved every minute and we’re so grateful to our generous friends for sharing their lodging with us.

I’m almost up to real time now! I’ll try to get caught up tomorrow. Or the next day …


Food Talk Friday: Home from San Francisco

We’re home from our San Francisco trip and had just as good a time as we expected. Even better, maybe, and we had pretty high expectations to begin with.

Our friend Deb showing off her French Toast Sampler
Our friend Deb showing off her French Toast Sampler



We did visit Mama’s and loved it. The wait was under an hour and the food was well worth it. I had the Bayshore Shrimp omelet while Stud Muffin had the French toast sampler with orange-cranberry bread french toast and banana nut bread french toast. The service was excellent. Even though the line still stretched around the corner, we never felt rushed or like we couldn’t stay and enjoy a second cup of coffee as long as we wanted.




The Stinking Rose in San Francisco

The other city “main stay” we visited was The Stinking Rose. It bills itself as “A Garlic Restaurant” and it lives up to that. There’s a far of something that looks like pesto on the table, but it seemed to be more garlic and parsley than basil. Garlic-olive oil is on the table also. I had the Neon Ravioli which were filled with potato and cheese and served in an alfredo sauce. Dave had the fettucine in a garlic, butter, and lemon sauce. Both dishes were tasty. Because we all had plenty of garlic that night, I can’t say how long the aromas lingered the next day but I do know we’re all safe from vampires for quite a while.

Each day we splurged on breakfast, skipped lunch and for dinner either had snacks or went out.

Other restaurant highlights:

  • Drinks at the View Lounge at the Marriott.
  • Dinner at New Sun Hong Kong (very good, a recommendation from a waiter at the View Lounge when Stud Muffin asked where to get good noodles).
  • Breakfast at Sears, a local favorite. I had Eggs Benedict, which is always dicey because I don’t love poached eggs, but these were excellent. Whew! Stud Muffin had the Veggie Omelet.
  • Watching the Giants game at Bartlett Hall. The fries were A. May. Zing. We shared fries and had drinks while watching the game.
  • Breakfast at Dottie’s True Blue Cafe. We needed another breakfast place so I searched for some Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives recommendations in the area and found Dottie’s. So good. Another wait in line, just like at Mama’s but also like at Mama’s, well worth the wait. I had the Fried Egg Sandwich special and it came with fruit! The first fruit I’d seen in San Francisco. Delicious! The egg was just like how Stud Muffin occasionally fixes his fried egg sandwiches: scrambled in a bowl, then poured into a hot skillet and cooked without further stirring, almost like an omelet but without any filling or turning. When the egg is done, he lays it on a cutting board and either cuts out a circle or a long strip that is folded and placed in the sandwich. Dottie’s egg was folded and topped with cheese and avocado, served on a small english muffin. I couldn’t finish it and I mourned leaving some of it on the plate.
  • Dessert at Ghiradelli’s. I had a scoop of chocolate with some peanut butter topping. Stud Muffin can’t have peanut butter, chocolate, or really anything very late in the evening, so he shared a couple bites of mine but didn’t have a dessert of his own. My companions had hot fudge confections and malts and all kinds of yumminess.

We also picked up a flyer for an eating tour of San Francisco. You can tour North Beach/Little Italy, Chinatown, or all off the above. We may have to check that out on our next trip. So much good food, so little time.


Food Talk Friday: San Francisco Eateries

I’m writing this a few days before we head to San Francisco. It’ll be posting the day after we get home.

I’m so conflicted.



I know there are great restaurants in the city that we will try. In fact, I know there are far more great restaurants in the city that we will be able to try.



For sure on our agenda is Mama’s. We’re going with friends who have been raving about this place for years. Literally, years. So I’m excited to see what the fuss is all about.

When we watch Diners, Drive-ins & Dives, I make note of places that sound especially yummy and are in cities I might visit. My San Francisco list is pretty extensive.

Sigh. Again.

Next week, I’ll write about where we went, what we ate, and what we thought. And what we’re sorry we missed and what we’ll be going be back for.

Because you know we’ll be going back.