Day 4: Saturday, April 28, 2018

Started out the morning with a walk to Gus’s Market for coffee, then we took the dogs to Golden Gate Park’s panhandle to do their business. Tim pointed out HOPI’s (homes of particular interest) like this one. There are so many details and gewgaws on this house it’s like a painted lady. Needs a powerwash, though, to get all the dust and soot off:

And this one, all done up in my favorite colors:

I spotted this tai chi class underway, and noted that, just like in all the best real-world YouTube videos, the badass kung fu master is wearing a dress shirt, dress pants with a belt, and street shoes. Like, office attire. Well, here it is!

Hit the post office on the way back to mail my postcards. Back at home I found Moby like this, poor thing helplessly trapped under some extremely heavy pillows: 

Then we took an Uber to the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero. It took FOREVER because we got caught up in baseball game traffic. We wanted to hit their epic farmer’s market and get something to bring to the dinner party that evening at Tim & Alex’s friends’ house.

BTW, Sinbad’s is GONE. Only some pilings and an earth-mover are where it used to be.

The Ferry Building was so crowded you could hardly turn around. First priority, getting some coffee at Blue Bottle Coffee, which Tim insists is the best. He got a pound of decaf to bring home, too.

Then we wandered about as we sipped our strong Gibraltars. The idea had been floated about getting some oysters at Hog Island Oyster Co., but the line to get in was RIDICULOUS. Forget that noise. More wandering. Farmer’s market stuff, all incredible. Found this guy selling crates full of the widest variety of greens – there must have been at least a couple of dozen. We got a bag full of all sorts of stuff – mustard greens, a new sort of cress, arugula, and more – even a few bunches of edible flowers thrown in for free.

Nice guy.

Next we caught the F-line streetcar going along the Embarcadero. It was one of those old-timey 50s style electric-cable buses:

Destination: the stop for the Alcatraz Landing, directly across the street from which is Hillstone restaurant. I’d been wanting to treat Tim to this place ever since Bon Appetit wrote a glowing article (love letter) about the chain. Apparently, the food is so good and so consistent, and the service so impeccable, that the chain has gotten the magazine’s unending admiration.

First thing I noticed was this gorgeous tabletop sculpture of an otter.

First thing Tim noticed was the dress code, which, while lenient toward the weekend tourist crowd’s typical attire, did mention “No Hats.” Luckily, he whipped off his sun visor before having to be asked to do so. #EmbarrassmentAverted

The second thing I noticed was half a dozen of Louis Poulsen’s iconic “Artichoke” lampshades. I worked in an architecture firm for 10 years and managed the reference library, and I used to drool over the Louis Poulsen catalog. These things are EXPENSIVE, folks. Like $7,000 to $12,000 apiece. Hillstone features a famous roasted artichoke dish, so they figured it’d be a clever match.

Tim ordered their ubiquitous cheeseburger with fries, and I got a (small) glass of champagne and the smoked salmon appetizer. One of the many nice touches at Hillstone: the napkins come with a buttonhole so one can pin it to one’s shirt:

Tim’s cheeseburger looked amazing:

So tall it’s like a Dagwood.

And my smoked fish was to DIE for. Came with some creamy herb dressing and grilled buttered garlic toast points which our charming British waiter Alec assured me could be replenished if needed, since I’d mentioned that that would be my meal.

OMG OMG OMG

It was a HUGE piece of fish for an appetizer, and it’s smoked in-house in small batches. You could smell the smoke before it was even in your mouth. So tender it was like butter. Shared with Tim but we still brought some home.

Outside, we stopped to take pictures of this unusual sculpture of a cowboy riding a bucking… fish.

Picked up the F-line again to Fisherman’s Wharf. Destination: the Musee Mecanique, a big warehouse filled with hundreds of old-timey arcade games, many of which are over a hundred years old.

**Next post: Day 4 (Part 2) – Musee Mecanique, Lombard Street, Dinner party