Four days in this city doesn’t make me an authority, although forty years ago I lived in this beautiful city. Time is a great thing, one forgets so much! I was totally lost yet I recognised many street names. Stockton, Fillmore, Geary, Divisadero, Haight and of course Market Street. I didn't remember up from down in this hilly city... or East from West! But it still held memories galore. The sun didn’t rise once in four mornings, so that didn’t help with my directional skills either, every morning fog, not thick fog but gray skies and blah lighting! And this was midsummer, July in fact. By 2 or 3 pm the sun managed to find a way through the haze and warm us up. No wonder cafes have names like Fog City Cafe.
Someone is making a killing from selling polar fleeces to half frozen tourists on summer vacation, $12.00 a pop, or two for $21.00 and they were walking out the doors of many shops as we all shivered in our summer clothing. The best twelve dollars I’ve ever spent!
Once over the fact that it was chilly and the two day bus ticket I purchased was for an open air vehicle I set off in my new polar fleece to Union Square to explore the city. I wondered why so many were gathered at the bus area, I soon discovered that there are many bus companies offering many choices, our hotel concierge only mentioned one option; kick backs perhaps? Anyway I had a two day pass for $50.00. I also used 3-4 taxis at twenty dollars a pop and caught a bus one day to the Golden Gate Park at $2.00 a ride, which lasted 30 minutes so a good deal! We visited the Japanese Tea Gardens but really not worth the entry fee, maybe in the spring when the cherry blossoms are out, but certainly not in July.
The tram cars cost $5.00 for one stop or ten stops and the queues are extremely long on the weekends, so be warned. Even our tour bus turned passengers away on the weekend and the folk then had to wait 30 minutes for the next bus. I think public buses and taxis are better value really, so be wary what you pre-buy and try to shop around. I spied a bus one morning called Urban Discoveries all decked out with jungle graphics and the passengers wore 'pith' helmets with zebra and tiger print rugs over their knees!
Food.... So many places to choose from... And the locals eat everywhere else!
Tadich Grill, John’s Grill both have great reviews but are really resting on their laurels. Lori's diners look cute and have a charm from the fifties era but the food is pretty bad... Canned tuna and lettuce - hardly a meal to remember!
Sears Cafe on Powell Street on the other hand is worthy of its reputation. We didn’t need to queue but often there were queues up the street for breakfast. Short stack pancakes, omelettes (Swedish pancakes very much like our pikelets) were all great value and delicious.
In Union Square is Ruli Cafe...such a good spot to people watch... Great coffee, vino, pastries etc... And no tipping unless you ask for table service. Their Afogato is like our iced coffee and despite being six bucks it was soooo good.