Trip Report - Monterey & San Francisco

Mar 2nd, 2009, 06:51 PM
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Trip Report - Monterey & San Francisco

Friday, February 20, 2009

John & I met at my friend Lianne’s house so that we could travel to the airport together even though my flight was at 6PM and John’s was at 7PM (he was already in Boston for business and I just drove down this morning). John was a bit late so he changed quickly in Lianne’s laundry room and we were off. We got to the parking lot in Revere fairly quickly. As we headed for the shuttle bus, John realized that he had forgotten his license and credit cards at Lianne’s. He called and she couldn’t find them. Nicky, Lianne’s son, remembered that John had gone into the laundry room. Sure enough they were there! Linda left on the bus for her flight while John headed back to Lianne’s. After two quick shots of tequila to calm his nerves, he returned to the airport, this time with his credit cards. We both easily made our flights.

I arrived first at SFO and went to get the rental car ($18/day on Priceline). I had to circle the airport only about 3 or 4 times before John arrived. He took over the wheel and we headed to Monterey. It took us a little less than two hours. The hotel was the Intercontinental at Cannery Row right in between the aquarium and Bubba Gump’s. The location was perfect and the room fabulous. We had a fireplace a balcony overlooking Cannery Row and a wonderfully comfortable king size bed. The bathroom was oversized with a large walk in shower. There was also a great gym with plenty of cardio equipment a Jacuzzi tub and a lap pool. It is a new hotel and only $189.00 a night. The place we usually stay was a mile away at Fisherman’s Wharf, not nearly as nice and was over $300 a night.

We slept well!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

We woke early and headed over to our favorite place, First Awakenings, for breakfast (about a 2 minute walk to Pacific Grove in the outlet mall). We had omelets, fruit, coffee and a bit of oatmeal. The sky was overcast, but it wasn’t raining as predicted. We walked down to Fisherman’s Wharf using the bike path, browsed in a few shops and then headed back to the hotel.

We had a little tiff as we headed back to the hotel. I wanted to walk to Carmel (only about 20 miles) ten take the bus back and he wanted to run first and then walk to Carmel which would mean that we would arrive after dark. We finally agreed to walk to Carmel as I had done many years ago when in Monterey on my own. We started out running. John ran ahead and said he would turn back to meet me in awhile. The views along the ocean were incredible, lots of waves crashing over rocks, unusual plants and lots of green. My legs were heavy. I immediately got a cramp in my right upper thigh but I kept running in an effort to work through it. We are training for the Boston Marathon and due to a back injury I haven’t been able to run for two weeks. This was my first time out. I ran as long as I could, walked, ran, walked, ran. John and I got back together at mile three. We continued toward the gate towards Pebble Beach and decided to abandon the goal of Carmel. We remembered that there was a store at the 4 ½ mile point, just before the 17-mile gate, so we headed there for some water. Unfortunately the store had closed. We stopped to ask a woman walking her dogs if there was a nearby store (there wasn’t). We chatted for awhile, turns out that she was from Woburn, MA.

We headed back to the hotel, another 4 ½ miles. We tried to run. John pulled ahead. He stopped at a small food stand about a mile away from the hotel, had a Gatorade, bought me a water and chatted to a man who was on a nearby bench. We walked the last mile together to town and stopped at the Nestle Toll House store across from the hotel. We each got a chocolate chip cookie and split flavored water, $7.50 total, but yummy!

We returned to the hotel, showered and headed off in the car. We drove to Carmel, browsed through some shops (I bought a cute top), had some fudge and then tried to find a lunch place. It was just before 3:00. Turns out most places close at 3 and then reopen at 5 or 7. We finally found a place called Luca that had a bar menu available.

The hostess waited on us. She was very sweet. We had really fresh bread with an olive spread. I tried a red wine ($14.00 for 6 oz!) and a Margarita pizza. John had a mushroom/caramelized onion/fontina cheese pizza. The food was really great as was the atmosphere.

We headed back to the hotel, there was a huge line outside of Bubba Gump’s…maybe 50 people or more (we think it must have been a tour bus). We returned to the room and took much needed naps. Our plan was to just stay in bed all night as we were exhausted. We decided that probably wasn’t a great idea as we’d end up awake very early in the morning. So we headed down to the hotel restaurant and had a drink at the bar and ordered a cheese and cracker plate. The wine was okay, but not great.

We then headed to bed (me using Advil PM and earplugs to ensure a great nights sleep).

Sunday, February 22, 2009

We rose to another overcast morning, but it wasn’t raining so we were happy. The temperature was in the low 60’s – warm for us this time of year. NH is getting another foot of snow today and tomorrow.

We headed across the street to Starbucks and then to First Awakenings for breakfast (they don’t serve Latte’s). We had omelets again. I got one with chorizo, avocado, salsa and sour cream – very yummy.

We then headed off to Point Lobos for some hiking stopping first at the Carmel Valley country store for some sodas (where we also found a bottle of Robert Hall wine).

It was a $10.00 admission to the state park. We hiked two different trails. On the first we came across two deer sitting just a few feet from us and not seeming to care that they were being photographed. The second was very windy, we could barely walk straight, the winds were so strong – great views though. The rock formations were unusual – rocks inside rocks and lots of great shapes. It was amazing. We heard and saw a few seals, no whales though…. We started to get a bit cold so we stopped at two. This is a great place though. Highly recommended not to miss!!

We started to drive back toward the hotel, stopping at Pebble Beach. We ate lunch at the deli. John got a turkey sandwich and I had some nuts and broccoli salad. We then browsed the shops and went to look out over the 18th hole (John likes to get his picture standing on the green – he is a geek ). Too expensive to play here, last time we checked the greens fees were something like $500.

We stopped at a drugstore to get some giant sized bandaids. I have a huge ugly blister on my leg from my ski boot being on to tight when I skied with Lianne, Nicky and Peter last Tuesday; and I had my 6 month visit with Dr. Goos, my skin doctor before we left on Friday and of course, as usual, he removed a small mole from my neck.

We returned to Monterey along the 17 mile drive and each headed out for a run. John went for a longer run along the ocean while I headed toward Fisherman’s Wharf. While there I bought a hand carved bear for our front porch. After shipping he cost about $500. Probably not a great decision since the Dow is down to 7,000, it’s lowest in 14 years! I also bought us a cute “just married” Christmas ornament since we didn’t have one and technically we are still “just married” until we reach our first year anniversary in April. Of course I stopped at Ghirardelli for my free chocolate – peanut butter was the flavor of the day. I bought a small square of caramel filled for us to share.

We both headed to the gym and lifted weights for a bit then we showered and decided to head to Carmel to dinner. We choose Graslings, across the street from the fire station. It was a place that we had found several years ago and loved. All of Carmel seemed to be very quite. Our waiter said that people probably headed out of town early because of the rain. We did have a bit of a fight over the wine…long story that we don’t want to remember John sometimes thinks he is more qualified to select the wine versus asking the waiter for help – however he picks mostly based on whether he likes the sound of the name, he has zero knowledge about wine; I prefer to ask the waiter for advice). The meal was really great. I had the onion tart and a white fish encrusted lightly in an almond and bread crumb crust over couscous. John had a Caesar salad and rare Tuna. For dessert we split and apple bread pudding and a chocolate lava cake – both great! The waiter felt guilty about us fighting and gave us each a free glass of red wine.

We returned to the hotel and rented Slumdog Millionaire. It was a great movie (the Academy Awards were also on last night, the movie won 8). It was a story that took place in India of a man who grew up in the slums but won the “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” even though doctors and lawyers hadn’t won.

We then settled down for a great night’s sleep.

Monday, February 23, 2009

We woke early on Monday, sad that it was our last day and that we’d be separated for almost 3 weeks while John heads to Singapore, Israel, Japan and Taiwan. I stay in rainy California through next Sunday – two days for business at product boot camp in Cupertino and then on to San Francisco.

We headed over to Starbucks in the pouring rain, grabbed a coffee and headed back to the room. We decided to try to go for one last outdoor walk; it was too beautiful (and green) to stay inside despite the rain. We made it a few blocks and decided it was raining a lot harder than we thought so we turned back and headed for the gym. I ran, biked and used the stair stepper. John ran and biked. My thigh is a lot better. It’s achy but no longer cramping.

We returned to the room after requesting a later check (noon). After showering we packed and headed to the lobby. The rain had stopped and there were blue skies and lots of sun. I ran over to Ghirardelli (no free chocolate today) and bought us another two caramel squares.

We drove along the Coast, enjoying the weather, quaint houses (John stopped for photos of his favorites) and the views through Pacific Grove and back over to Carmel. We walked down to the beach, where John teased some fat, very tame chipmunks. We chatted with a guy who made urns out of stone to hold people’s ashes.

Next we stopped for lunch at a place called Nico on San Carlos (between Ocean and 7th). The ambience was great. The room was tastefully decorated and painted a colorful orange with a roaring fireplace in the rear of the room. I had to send a few work related emails (wireless cards are great!!) and then we settled down to eat. We were first served bread with some type of pepper oil dip. I ordered home made pasta with a Bolognese sauce. It was incredible. John had a salmon sandwich on focaccia bread.

We wandered back to the car, after stopping in a few art stores, a furniture store, an airplane store and a candy shop. We headed off for Cupertino. While driving, John’s ex called to complain about his 19 year old son being caught smoking pot again. John attempted to convince her that there are worse things that the kid could be doing and that he should be punished but she shouldn’t let the incident wreck her relationship with the kid forever.

As we traveled father north it started to rain again. Soon it stopped and a beautiful rainbow hung over the horizon – wider and longer than I have ever seen. It was really beautiful.

We found the hotel, a Marriott Courtyard, in Cupertino pretty easily. The area reminds us of Rt 9 in Natick, MA – lots of strip malls, car dealerships, etc., etc. We stopped at a Porsche dealership so John could “press his face against the glass”. It cheered him up a bit (he was kind of upset after hearing about the incident with his son). We took photos of him with his dream car for his vision board and also wandered inside and spoke to a very nice sales guy.

We planned to drive to a local mall but decided we were too tired so we headed back to the room to catch up on email and laundry (so John didn’t have to go to Singapore with dirty, very smelly running clothes).

For dinner we headed to a place across the street called Alexander’s. It was a great place. We sat at the bar with a very friendly bartender. There was a couple on their first date next to us, we are predicting that it would be their last, the guy seemed sweet but the girl was pretty obnoxious.

We had both had wedge salads. I had a crab soup with nori and John had a pork and pear dish and some mushroom “puffs”. Everything was great! The bartender gave us a free glass of white wine that he said would pare well with our salads. We also got a chef’s “taste” of mushroom cream soup, a palate cleanser, some chocolate covered popcorn to eat on the plane and a big wad of cotton candy (all complimentary).

We headed back to the room, folder laundry and cuddled on the bed for awhile, saying our goodbyes. We made out and hugged. It was really sad. I will miss him a lot. It was fun being together for the weekend, I had a great time. It made me realize that we need to make more time for us and spend more time appreciating each other when we are back in NH.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I miss John 

A guy from my group picked me up and brought me to the office. I was in product boot camp all day. Some of the sessions were great, some so-so.

I headed back to the hotel around 5 and went out for a run in the neighborhood. The weather was perfect and lots of green!

Dinner was at a random Chinese market where I got veggies and chicken from the Buffet for $2.00. It was kind of gross but okay.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009
This morning I walked to the nearby Starbucks and then waited for someone from work to pick me up. I finally met all the people I talk to on the phone each day after being with the company for 1 ½ years. It was really great to meet them all! We had a nice lunch together at BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse, CUPERTINO 10690 N. De Anza Blvd. 408.865.6970 TEL – I had a really great Asian Chicken salad!! Cost was $17 each (including tip), I was only able to eat about half.

Class today was really good.

After my work meeting I was dropped me off at the Caltrain stop in Sunnyvale at 4:39 (I found the schedule online). It was very easy to buy a ticket and then I just walked across the tracks to catch the train which arrived promptly at 4:58. I had to ask someone which side I was supposed to be on to get to San Fran as it wasn’t clearly marked (at least I didn’t see a sign). The cost was $6.00. It took a little over an hour (most of the ride was express). The train appeared to be brand new – it was a very comfortable (and at times) scenic. I got off at the last stop which was almost at the end of the Embarcadero.

I grabbed a cab to the Argonaut Hotel in Fisherman’s Wharf. The cost was $10.30 before tip and took about 15 minutes.

The Argonaut is nice. I got room 369. The décor is a bit weird – maritime theme (blue rug with gold stars, yellow and white stripped walls, blue and yellow couch, large round red mirror on the wall). Reminds me a bit of Disney World. It is clean and comfortable though. Not as nice as the Intercontinental in Monterey, but not bad. I noticed several people with dogs in the hallways. I am not a dog person, but a good place to stay if you feel the need to take your pet on vacation.

I dropped off my bags and headed over to Ghirardelli for my free chocolate (they give out pieces at the door, today’s flavor was peanut butter) and then I headed to McCormick & Kuleto's for dinner. John and I had come here several times years ago and it was very good. This time I wasn’t crazy about it. The bartender was pleasant. I ordered the clam chowder and a poached pear/spinach salad. The chowder was okay and the salad a bit boring, the presentation could use some help as well. I also had two glasses of wine. Total price with tip was $60.00!!!! I was appalled that I could spend that much on soup salad and wine not to mention that it was marginal! The bar also smelled a bit like some type of cleaning supplies (maybe bleach?).

I headed back to the room, tried to call John but couldn’t get ahold of him. I was asleep at 9 PM.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I awoke to a bit of drizzly rain today. After working a bit I headed out for a run. I started off for the Golden Gate Bridge, stopped at the Starbucks (near the Safeway) and had a coffee and 3 mini scones.

I then took off toward the Bridge and ran on the bike/running path for about 3 miles. As I approached the weather cleared and the sun came out. It was a beautiful run. Lots of dog walkers, fitness classes, bikes, walkers and runners. It was cool to run along the ocean and see the bridge. I stopped at the warming hut/gift shop right near the bridge, browsed a bit and had an ice tea. I headed back to the hotel. All total it took me about 2 hours.

It was almost time for lunch so I set off to look for the Oakville Grocer which I recalled had been great last time we were here. I couldn’t find it (an Internet search shows that it closed a few years ago). I ended up back at Starbucks with a turkey/cranberry sandwich. It was very good.

After lunch I worked a bit more and then took a walk over to Union Street, stopping first at Michaelis Food Store which I saw on to get a diet coke and a lottery ticket (I usually don’t but these but there was a sign that there is a $117M jackpot). Union Street was about 15 minutes away and has lots of great clothes and housewares. I ended up with some sweatpants at a place called Lucy. There was a Lulumon (my favorite) but there was nothing there that I liked on me….

My next stop was at Crepes A Go-Go for a Nutella (my favorite!!) crepe. It was really great. They fold it up so you can take it to-go and eat and walk. This was a highlight of the day (I LOVE Nutella).

I headed back to the hotel via the crooked street (Hyde/Lombard). My heart rate was up to 161 while walking up the hill. I had my camera with me and the light was perfect. I got a great cable car shot as I crossed Hyde Street. I took my time walking back down to the hotel and got a few shots of the Ghirardelli sign from the rear and some of Alcatraz in perfect light.

I got to the hotel exactly at 6PM, just in time to get a free glass of red wine (happy hour is from 5 to 6 nightly). I took the glass up to my room and enjoyed it while catching up on email.

I walked about a block away for dinner and got a cheese burger and fries at In-N-Out Burger. It was nothing great but better than McD’s and BK and cost about $6.00 including a soda. I had also read about this on

Afterwards I watched a movie, talked to John for a bit (he was at lunch with his distributor in Singapore) and headed off to bed.

Friday, February 27, 2009
I got up at 6:45 AM and grabbed a latte and scone at the Starbucks around the corner. I tried to call John in Singapore but he had already gone to bed. I got sucked into work issues until about 9:30 and then headed out. It was a beautiful sunny, cloudless day in the high 60’s low 70’s.

I headed to Ghirardelli for my free chocolate (peanut butter again) and then back to Michaelis Food Store. The owner was just as friendly today as he was yesterday – no emotion, no smile, no hello – just like described. I grabbed a diet coke and another $1 lottery ticket. I headed off to find the double decker bus since I had a free coupon from Turns out that the coupon was only good for a ride from Union Square back to Fisherman’s Wharf. They wouldn’t accept it for the reverse but would give me $3.00 off any other tour (no thanks!!)

I jumped on a cable car ($5.00 these days) and took it to the top of Lombard Street. From there I walked down the hill to the Chestnut Street shops and then to the Fillmore Street shops. I browsed, bought a few Christmas gifts and ate… I got sushi and a Kombucha at a healthy grocery store. I also bought the book “Stairway Walks in San Francisco”. There are so many that sound great…

From there I walked to Union Square then on to Montgomery and Market where I joined the City Scapes And Public Places 1:30 walk. The walk was great! It was free, given by City Guides, a non-profit, primarily volunteer operation. We wandered through rooftop gardens, bank lobbies and hidden parks. My favorite was the last one, a redwood grove next to the Transamerica building. Note that many of the business who have these hidden rooftops have a small golden plaque outside of the building. Most are open 9-5, M-F. The guide, Paul Cooney, was a nice guy and has some fascinating stories for us. Most people seemed to donate about $10 to the non-profit after the walk. It was about a 2 hour walk.

I stopped at Starbucks for a latte and rice krispie bar and to warm up a bit (it got a bit cold towards the end of the walk). While there John called. He is headed to Israel today.

I headed back to Market Street stopping at Zara (my favorite store) and Nordstrom’s. I then grabbed a trolley back to Fisherman’s Wharf ($1.50). I ran for the hotel (so I wouldn’t miss Happy Hour), got my free glass of wine with a few minutes to spare and then called John (the “world traveler”).

He had told me this morning that his flight was at 12:40. He was looking at his itinerary this morning and realized that 12:40 was the length of his flight not the time! His flight was really at 11:00. He went crazy trying to pack and pull the robot parts together and took off for the airport. He arrived with an hour to spare but couldn’t find his gate. After further inquiry, he discovered that his flight is at 11:00 PM tonight!! He said Faith was laughing so hard she almost ran off the road. She picked him up and brought him back to the hotel – good thing because he had left all of his medicine in the bathroom!! Hmmm, Mr. World Traveler alright…

After answering a few emails I headed back to the cable car (no lines) and got off at Green Street at Frascati. I got a bar seat. The bartender was great. He recommended a Malbec which was quite good. I ordered a mixed salad (goat cheese, citrus, almonds, onion), brussel sprouts in brown butter with capers and Russet Potato Gnocchi with Butternut Squash, Black Trumpet Mushrooms, Brown Butter and White Truffle Oil. Everything was great! I almost got dessert, but the couple beside me ordered bread pudding that was so large it would have fed a family of 4, so instead I got a latte. The owner was very friendly, he was walking around talking to customers. While eating I read the Stairway Walks book in an attempt to decide what I should do tomorrow.

I grabbed a cable car back to Fisherman’s Wharf, got another free chocolate square (still peanut butter) and bought a caramel square. I talked to John for a bit, watched the movie Milk (really great and about a gay politician in SF who was assassinated along with the mayor) and headed off to bed.

Saturday, February 28, 2009
I got up around 7:00 AM and just caught John as he was flying out for Turkey enroute to Israel. He’s not doing so well. He’s tired, homesick and worried about his son, who is causing problems again (he stole 5 gallons of gas that his step father had stored in the garage).

I grabbed a latte and scone at Starbucks (nice that it is so close), showered and headed out. There were lots of large running groups running through the wharf area (one of the things that we miss out on by not living in a big city). I walked to the ferry building and wandered through the Farmer’s Market taking a few pictures. It is really an amazing market, lots of healthy organic foods, breads, spices, cheeses, veggies… So much better than anything I have ever seen on the East Coast. I tried lots of samples – bummer that I can’t take anything home! There is a craft section where I bought a cute handmade black and white cap.

From there I headed out to do a stairway walk (from my book). I took a trolley from the Ferry Building to the Castro. I wandered around there for a bit (the last time I was there it was about 10 years ago on Halloween, very different!), bought a diet coke and jumped on a bus (I think 31?) to the Golden Gate Park. From there I walked to 16th Street which eventually turned into a staircase which led me to Moraga, the start of walk #11. I took several photos of the titled stairway (a highlight of the walk) and then ascended the steps. People around here must be in great shape, the steps are tough!!! The rest of the walk was easy to follow and took about an hour. Highlights included seeing a “real” neighborhood, and outcropping of rocks which the author compared to a book she read about the White Mountains (which is where we live) and the wooden staircase to the Grand View Park.

After walking I grabbed a bus (71?) at the top of 16th near the park. I got off at Haight/Ashbury, admired the craziness and wandered up to Alamo Square. I have always wanted some photos of the “painted ladies” but in all my trips out West I had never been there with a camera (I think we ran by them once when we ran the Bay to Breakers several years back).

From there I grabbed a bus (I think 21?) back to the Ferry Building. At this point I was starving!! I went to an Asian Delicatessen (there wasn’t much left, seems almost everything was sold out) and got a sweet potato puff and ice tea. Next I went to a fast food Mexican place and got a steak taco – OMG it was so good! I wish we had more real Mexican Food back East. There is really no place near us in NH. Last I went to a sweet shop and got two macaroons a vanilla and a hazelnut – both yummy!!

I wandered back to the hotel, stopping here and there to take a few photos. It was another beautiful day, a bit cloudy but warm. The entire strip was very crowded.

I headed to Ghirardelli for my free chocolate (still peanut butter) I got one in the main store and two in the coffee shop (very bad). I went to vist “Mr Happy” at Michaelis Food Store where I bought a diet soda and checked my lottery tickets (I didn’t win – bummer! I was already imagining ways to spend my millions!). I wandered back to the hotel checking out all the vendor tables as I walked.

In the lobby I grabbed two glasses of wine at Happy Hour (by telling them that one was for my husband). God must have been listening to my fib because I ended up spilling a full glass on my bed, rug, chair & desk. I had to use a few towels to clean up the mess – hopefully housekeeping doesn’t think it’s blood.

I walked over to Scoma’s for dinner. When I lived out in Alameda, I used to bring guests to Scoma’s when they came to town (of course back then it was a business expense so I always got the filet and lobster tail which now costs $75). There were about 50 people waiting for tables in the lobby, two bars and parking lot. I mentioned that I was a party of one and got seated immediately. Apparently there is only one table for one and it was open. My lucky day!!

The waiter, an older Italian gentleman named Heros was a nice guy and funny. He kept me amused through the entire meal. John called to say that he arrived in Turkey safely and the waiter took the phone to let John know that I was in good hands. The table next to me had a birthday and Heros offered me a slice if I led the “Birthday” song. One of the woman was very drunk, it was funny listening to her. I had butternut squash soup with crab (incredible!), pasta with scallops (yummy) and some of the chocolate birthday cake (also very good). Heros kissed me goodnight and helped me with me coat. I am glad I went.

I walked back to the hotel (a few blocks) while chatting with John. It really was a beautiful night – perfect temperature!

I am off to bed… Today is the day that my grandpa died in 1976… actually he passed on Feb 29th. It’s so long ago, but seems like yesterday.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

This morning is was a bit rainy (not down pouring but stronger than a drizzle). I got my latte and scone from Starbucks and headed back to the room. I was a little upset with John – no message letting me know that he arrived safely in Israel and he wasn’t picking up his phone. I emailed, texted and called and then headed out for a run (this isn’t the first time that he has “forgotten” to check in…must be a man thing).

I ran for about an hour out and back through Chrissy Field toward the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a good run. I’ve come a long way since last weekend’s first outside run in Pacific Grove. As I got closer to the hotel, John called to inform me he was alive.

I returned to the hotel, showered and headed off to my tour. Since I knew it was going to be raining, I signed up for the San Francisco Movie Tour. For some reason I thought it met at Pier 29 ½ (there is no such pier). I checked a map when I got down in that area and realized it was at 43 ½. I walked back to 43, luckily I was early anyway!

The tour was great! The tour guide Wylie was knowledgeable as was our driver (Dan). We watched about 75 movie clips – the scene from the movie played right as we were passing by that particular spot. It was VERY cool. We covered all the major sights of the city. There were several photo stops as well. Favorites were the “wedding” church in North Beach, Mrs. Doubtfire’s house, the area underneath the Golden Gate Bridge (on Sunday the fort is open and entry is free (small donation) – great photo opps from the roof! And the military pet cemetery also under the bridge. We didn’t have a photo stop here – too bad because there were some cool stones. I will have to go back sometime.

I was planning to do another walk from the staircase book this afternoon but I was a bit chilled. I sat in Starbucks for awhile and had another latte and rice krispy square. I started to walk over to North Beach and got sidetracked up Lombard to take some photos at the bottom of the crooked street. It was a bit cold, windy and raining harder so I stopped by Paradise Nail Spa (948 Columbus) for a manicure. The place appeared to be brand new. It was very clean and the woman very nice. The chair gave an incredible massage. The woman took her time, did a great job and then massaged my hands and shoulders. I was there for an hour and it only cost $14.00!

While I was there, I got a call from United saying that my flight tonight was cancelled due to the large snowstorm expected in Boston. I rebooked on the red eye tomorrow night. I called AJ to make sure he would tape 24 for me. Then I walked back to the Argonaut. They extended the hotel one more night and are allowing me a 7:00PM check out.

I grabbed a glass of free wine from the hotel happy hour and then took a cab back to North Beach ($6.25). I window shopped and checked out menus for awhile stopping at a chocolate store. They had incredible fudge, lots of unique flavors. I got a chunk of chocolate, caramel, Reeces peanut butter cup – yummy!

I settled on the Ideal Restaurant (1309 Grant) for dinner. The waiters all seemed to be straight from Italy. I ordered a glass of wine, the pear/ prosciutto/mascarpone cheese appetizer (really great) and spaghetti alla carbonara (not as good as Chef Chaz from my days at culinary school, but still pretty good). Total before tip was $37. I took a cab back to the hotel and headed up to watch some TV and relax (it is a nice night out but one of the problems with being a telecommuter is that a delayed flight is no excuse for getting an extra vacation day – I’ll have to get up tomorrow early so that I can work East coast hours from here).

No free chocolate at Ghirardelli today, I am sick of peanut butter squares, sad but true!!

Monday, March 2, 2009
I got up just before 6AM, chatted with John Little and started work (since it was already 9AM on the East Coast).

I grabbed a latte and scone from Starbucks and tried to happily deal with one of my idiot sales guys (most of them are good but this guy makes things painful).

At 9:15 I had had enough and headed out for a run. It was overcast but not raining. I headed through the Marina to the warming hut on the other side of Chrissy Field where I had an energy bar and green tea – it started to drizzle. I ran back to the hotel; it started pouring in the last mile or so (I am guessing I ran about 6 miles). John called me to say goodnight (from Israel) during my last half mile.

Despite the rain it was nice to be outside! I am not looking forward to the foot of snow in Boston. Although I AM looking forward to another extended ski season.

I returned to the room at 11AM and worked some more. At 2PM I walked up to Michaelis Food Store to buy one last mega millions ticket (just in case). The owner actually smiled today and was a little chatty. I ordered a tuna sub on sourdough bread with all the extras. It was yummy!!

I walked back to the hotel (a few blocks) stopping at Ghirardelli for my daily free chocolate (peanut butter again, but beggars can’t be choosers!) The sun started to pop through the clouds, and by the time I got to the hotel, the sky was blue!

I worked a bit longer and then at 3PM I headed out with my Stairway book to do walk #2. It was wonderful! I am glad I did this one. It was so non-touristy, I felt like I might live here! I got some cute photos – half way through the battery died, so I missed a few good shots (didn’t think pf using my cell phone until later). There were lots of bay views, great stairways and gardens. The walk included the Coit Tower, I had been there in years past so I didn’t visit the interior. The Greenwich Stairway was amazing! I would love to own one of these homes along this stairway!! The Wharf Stairway was very cool as was the stairs leading to Jack Early Park and the views as I arrived. The walk took about 1 ½ hours. I wish I had time to walk it again!! I was sad to have to return to the “junk shops” of Fisherman’s Wharf.

I did stop in a candy store because they sold individual squares of Giradelli chocolate. I have been wanting to try the vanilla but the main store only had the large packages. I wasn’t crazy about it. I also got a caramel (yummy) and a raspberry (very yummy). I didn’t want to buy a package because I have no willpower and will eat them all myself in a day or so.

I stopped at Walgreens to pick up a few cans of diet coke to place back in the mini bar so that I didn’t have to pay $2.75 each. While there I got a passport photo. My passport expires next month. The guy made me take my hat off (bar hair day) and I am wearing a purple shirt with a hot pink running jacket (my only clean clothes). The photo is scary!!

I wandered back to the room, got my free glass of wine at happy hour, a new key (mine didn’t work any more) and did a bit more work. It was really great to be able to have the room late. I would have had to hang in the lobby for awhile. I am sad to say I am off to the airport in an hour. I always hate to leave SF – it truly is one of my favorite places in the world.
adnil1962 is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2009, 07:53 PM
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 25,673
Wow, what a report! If I hadn't read carefully, I'd think you live on chocolate and lattes!
sf7307 is online now  
Mar 2nd, 2009, 09:17 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 518
and wine

BTW - forgot to thank Stu for all the suggestions!!
adnil1962 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2009, 08:35 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 4,640
What a fun read, we have Nico at the top of our list for our next visit to Carmel. Sounds like you had a great time! ***kim***
kimamom is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2009, 10:26 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,050
Thanks for your very detailed report, an interesting read. We'll be staying at the Intercontinental Clement in a couple of weeks, so glad to hear that you enjoyed your stay there.

Haven't been to First Awakenings for a number of years but really enjoyed breakfast there in the past, so maybe we'll walk over since it's right there. We've also got Cantinetta Luca in Carmel planned for one nights dinner, still trying to decide on a place for our second night. Maybe the Mission Ranch Inn, Stokes Adobe or Taste Cafe. Kim, any thoughts?
curiousgeo is online now  
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