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Trip Report San Francisco, Fighter Jets and more!

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This has been our 7th trip in 4 years and all I can say is that I feel happy and comfortable in northern California. The purpose of the trip was to see both sons, one of whom lives in SF.

Flights – chosen for lowest fares. NY to SF was on Virgin, the same flight that they thought a terrorist was hiding in the wheel well at JFK the previous week. SF to NY was on American and all I can say is that I’m glad our seats remained stationery.

Places we visited – SF, Sausalito, Point Reyes, Pacific Grove, Carmel, Monterey, Big Sur and Cupertino.

Hotels – the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero – we’ve stayed here a number of times; rooms could use some freshening, but we love the location. Seven Gables Inn in Pacific Grove - wonderful.

First day – Thursday - our flight landed a bit early, we had carry on and headed to the taxi line. We hit some traffic, but we were at the hotel by about 3. The same Hyatt employee who checked us in last trip, checked us in again upgrading us to a room with a balcony and Bay view. I had known that there were a lot of things going on in the city, but I had forgotten. As soon as we were in our room, I heard the unmistakable roar of fighter jets overhead. From our window, I could see them – so very close to the buildings – too close - and not in any formation. Being a NYer, I was really alarmed – what could they be protecting us from? The sound was deafening! Yes, I forgot it was Fleet Week and the Blue Angels were practicing for their weekend air shows. I was so relieved when a hotel employee told us what they were doing. It was a beautiful afternoon and we went out for a walk along Market Street and then through Union Square stopping in some stores, but not buying anything except my beloved See’s Caffe Latte Little Pops. It’s embarrassing how many boxes I bought. Back to the hotel to freshen up and then an early dinner at one of our favorite go-to places, Barbacco. We especially like it for our first night. It is comfortable, casual, priced well and the food is delicious. Not knowing exactly when our Ca son would arrive, we started on wine, ascolane (fried stuffed olives), antipasti of seasonal veggies and a beet salad. After he showed up, he started on that and we ordered a braised chicken thigh dish, polpette (Sicilian meatballs), a pasta (Maccheroni I think) and an order of brussel sprouts. The dishes aren’t very large and perfect to share. We were really full, but got some house made gelato to share anyway. We walked ds to his bus, some hugs and end of a good, but short first day.

www.barbaccosf.com

Day 2 – Friday – Second son’s flight was early am and he was at the hotel by Bart at 8:30. And hungry. We walked over to Perry’s in the Hotel Griffon on Steuart St. It was pretty empty. I’m not a big breakfast eater, but all the food was very fresh and carefully prepared. After eating and catching up, we walked along the water for a while and then headed to the Ferry Building where we caught a ferry to Sausalito. The original plan was to walk over the bridge to Sausalito and take a ferry back, but the concierge discouraged us – not from walking over the bridge – but walking to Sausalito. She said there really wasn’t a place for pedestrians. Although we’ve driven it several times, we couldn’t remember if that was so. We opted for the ferry. In all our trips, the only time we had been in a boat on the bay was when we went to Alcatraz. This was a good experience with some beautiful views. In Sausalito, we walked a lot – through parks, near marinas, along shops although I find most unimpressive. We had lunch in Sushi Ran, a very high quality Japanese restaurant (on Michael Bauer’s 100 Best list). It was very good, but not the amazing lunch we remembered a few years back. It was time to head back to the ferry. During the ride back, my friends, the Blue Angels, were rehearsing and I got some incredible photos. In most shots, the planes look gray or black, but I got one photo where they are so close – six of them – that you can see that they are blue and yellow. It was amazing to watch them while out in the bay – the highlight of the day! There also were some boats from the America's Cup out there - just great to watch. (I do regret not walking over the bridge to Sausalito).

We took a rest at the hotel and then met Ca son after work for dinner. This was a fairly new restaurant, Claudine, on Claude Lane. I chose it because of Michael Bauer’s review. Although the staff was very nice, the food was nothing special and some dishes not good (tough, flavorless roast chicken). I usually find his recommendations right on the mark, but not this time. We firmed up our plans for the next day, the guys went off to a concert and we went off to sleep.

www.perryssf.com
www.sushiran.com

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