Day 5: Wednesday, April 27, 2016 (continued)

Our friends Gio and Will (whom we met at last year’s dinner party) came by and we all piled into Gio’s car and headed to Japantown. We parked underground and came out through the lobby of this Japanese-themed hotel.

A beautifully-displayed orchid.

A beautifully-displayed orchid.

A gorgeous suiseki. I couldn't get a decent picture, tough.

A gorgeous suiseki. I couldn’t get a decent picture, tough.

Headed across the street to Ramen Yamadaya. They have ten locations between San Francisco and San Diego.

This is why leftover ramen solidifies in the fridge!

This is why leftover ramen solidifies in the fridge!

Very important instructions in the lobby:

japantown-me by ramen instructions

After a short wait, we snagged another window booth overlooking the courtyard below!

japantown-view from window table

Yamadaya’s menu:

japantown-yamadaya menu

Almost all of us got the Yamadaya Tonkotsu Kotteri, with the black truffle oil. Beers and sake were ordered. Tim also ordered a plate of fresh garlic cloves with two garlic presses, and a dish of this AMAZING smoked chili paste.

japantown-yamadaya ramen


It was SO freakin’ good. The service was impeccable. At the end of the meal, the owner came to our table to tell us the story of how he developed the chili paste. He was extremely generous with his time during a busy dinner rush, but that wasn’t where his generosity ended. He came back a minute later with five little take-out tubs for me to take back to San Diego: two of the chili paste, one of chili oil, one of his “Fire” sauce, and one of his “Death” sauce.



When we got home, Tim carefully wrapped each tub in plastic wrap and topped it with a rubber band. Then he stacked all five tubs and wrapped the whole cylinder in more plastic wrap and rubber bands, then sealed it in a Ziploc bag. They made it home with minimal seepage, probably just from the pressure changes.

Spent the rest of the evening packing. I was barely able to squeeze the paintings into the back of my backpack. They made it home in great shape, too.

cliff house-guzman paintings

The artist’s bio of sorts, included in the back of each print):

artist eduardo guzman bio

My souvenir haul (plus the chili sauces and the paintings):

souvenir haul

Day 6: Thursday, April 28, 2016 (last day, travel home)

Tim didn’t sleep well that night. He’d planned to drive me downtown to a BART station, because the inbound Muni trains are packed with commuters on weekday mornings. Instead he just called me a Lyft, which was a perfect compromise. That way he could just go back to bed. Love you, Timmy! Kisses!

At the airport, I found a little cafe and ordered mimosas and a fresh fruit bowl to put on top of my Dramamine. Great people-watching there, too.

As the plane was swinging up and over San Francisco, I had a bird’s eye view of the whole city at once. I could see Market Street, the Transamerica Pyramid, Alcatraz, all the parks, including Buena Vista Park and Golden Gate Park, and its thin panhandle, too, so I could pretty well pinpoint Tim’s block, if not his house. I didn’t think to take a video.

Like this.

Uneventful flight, and Rich picked me up. It was raining and cool in San Diego for the next couple of days, as though I’d brought San Francisco’s weather back with me.

And last but not least, the joyous reunion with Cisco. Mini was completely nonplussed. “What is all this commotion? I was taking a NAP here.”

Check out the next San Francisco 2018 Travelogue!