Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Fortunate Pilgrimage - 2010 San Francisco & Napa Trip Day 2 Part I

Continued from...
I Am The King Of Thai - 2010 San Francisco & Napa Trip Day 1

(San Francisco Market Street)
My full day in San Francisco consisted mostly of exploring the various neighborhoods by foot in San Francisco and eating. I was prepared for an entire day of walking from weekly hikes I recently had been taking up to Echo Mountain. Having lived in Los Angeles for most of my life, it's sometimes easy to forget how much a feel of a city I could get from walking instead of driving. Compared to a passive ride on the passenger seat in my friend's car the night before, I was able to let the lay of the land be better be ingrained into my brain.

The Adante served a free continental breakfast along with the hotel stay. Generally I have very low expectations when it came to free hotel breakfast, but I decided to at least check it out before writing it off. The continental breakfast turned out to be just as I expected, but with even less choices. It was simply an offering of a couple types of muffins, toasts and bananas accompanied by hot chocolate, coffee and an assortment of teas. I understood keeping cost low, but to only have one type of fruit was a bit perplexing. It wouldn't had strained their budget if they got a few less bananas and replaced them with apples. I decided to completely opt out of the hotel breakfast. It was pointless to travel all the way to San Francisco just to have muffins and bananas.

(Sears Fine Food Zagat Rated)
(Sears Fine Food - Swedish Pancakes)
The Adante was only three blocks west of Union Square in San Francisco. Sears Fine Food was one block north of Union Square so it was perfect for us to grab breakfast there. My friend Kenneth back in Los Angeles suggested that we check this out because of the high number of reviews and ratings on yelp. When we reached Sears Fine Food, there was a line already formed outside the door. I'm not a big fan of lines so we decided to buy the food to go and eat it at Union Square instead. I normally don't eat breakfast so it wouldn't had been a heavy meal. I only wanted to try out their Swedish pancakes. My travel buddy ordered an oatmeal because she did eat the free breakfast at the hotel.

It took approximately twenty minutes for our order to be completed. We took our food down to Union Square and found a table to eat. The Square was relatively empty since it was only ten in the morning. The ice skating ring in the center only opened a few minutes prior. The Swedish pancakes were smaller than I expected. There were around fifteen little discs inside the box accompanied with slightly warm and melted butter and syrup. It turned out to be very convenient to eat at the square as finger food as well as to share. I picked up each small disc, dipped it into the butter and then into the syrup. Since I was outside on a cold morning, the temperature of the food dropped rather quickly so there really wasn't a chance to savor the food as I would inside the restaurant. But sitting outside had its perks. It was open and bright. The air was still fresh from having just been through a storm; the rain did wash out a good amount of the pollution in the air. It was a very relaxing way to start a long day of exploring San Francisco.

(Organic Donuts)
(San Francisco Ferry Building Marketplace)
After breakfast, we walked down market street to the ferry building. I visited the ferry building during my last visit to San Francisco and had lunch there with a friend. It hasn't changed much. The market there were filled with healthy choices and unique food items such as head cheese and organic donuts. I was very tempted to get some food, but I knew I had to pace myself or I would end up over eating. I only ended up having a little bit of samples of the almond brittle from G. L. Alfieri. The brittle were not overly sweet which I liked. I always feel a little bad trying out samples without buying. I knew it's a marketing ploy to get you to feel exactly that, but I simply couldn't help but to feel the urge of making a purchase if it is actually a descent product. Fortunately I am disciplined enough to not allow myself to give into my urge to do so; well at least my wallet behaved.

(San Francisco Chinatown)
(San Francisco Chinatown Alleyway - Ross St.)
(San Francisco Chinatown Fire Escape)
After leaving the Ferry Building, we began our pilgrimage to San Francisco Chinatown's Golden Gate Fortune Cookies. Alright, it wasn't really a pilgrimage, but it almost felt that way going up the hills of Chinatown and then to a hard to find back alley. San Francisco's Chinatown was one of my favorite Chinatowns that I have ever visited. It's bustling and the hills made it more interesting to explore. The store was located at Ross Alley wide enough to fit one car through at a time. The store front was very easy to miss and in fact, we passed by it initially and ended up at the other side of the alley without being able to locate the store. For a brief moment I thought I was lost. Nevertheless we turned around and finally located the small door to the small fortune cookie factory.

(Golden Gate Fortune Cookies Worker)
As soon as we stepped foot into the store, we could smell the aroma of the fortune cookies, and it smelled wonderful. Within a few steps upon entering the store, you could see three Chinese women sitting at work stations making fortune cookies. There was a charge of fifty cents to take a photo of the workers making the fortune cookies. It was similar to what I had seen on the Travel Channel before. This company had been in San Francisco since 1962. An older man greeted all the visitors, promoting the store to us in English and Chinese. He continuously boasted about how people from all around the country and the world would come to his store to buy fortune cookies. Then he handed my friend and I a golden coin fresh out of the assembly line to try. A golden coin is simply a fortune cookie without having been bent into the shape of a fortune cookie and stuffed with a fortune inside. It was still warm from the assembly line and it was definitely tasty.

(Golden Gate Fortune Cookies - Golden Coin)
The circular discs were crunchy and warm and had a slight tangy aftertaste that I had never experienced eating a fortune cookie. In fact that slight aftertaste was extremely hard to detect when I ate the same cookies a day later. The freshness and the warmth amplified the aroma of the cookie. I ended up buying two bags of mixed flavor fortune cookies; regular and chocolate, along with a bag of cow's ears which are salty flavor cookies. The fortune cookies were all very delicious and the cow's ears were wonderfully made. The crunchiness lasted as long as the cookies were contained in sealed bags. As a bonus, the man who packed our purchases threw in a stash of free golden coins into our bags for us to snack on throughout the day. The only drawback to the cookies were the limited variety of rather generic fortunes inside them. But I did get a kick out of knowing that a new relationship would soon blossom in my life, which did actually come true. But another fortune said an investment in something with four wheels would soon be fun to make did not realize. Which one would I have rather come true; only time could tell.

(Hills of San Francisco)
While exiting the fortune cookie store, there were loads of tourists who just arrived into the store. It was definitely a well known secret. For all intensive purpose it had the making of a pilgrimage. There was a journey up a hill and into a small narrow passageway. It was tiring and easy to get lost. There was an old, though I'm not certain whether he was wise, man. There were fortunes told by the female oracles making the cookies. There were foods to be shared and bread, well cookies, to be broken. Finally we left the journey with things to bring back to where we came from to share the wealth. It was certainly a fun journey for the morning of my full day in San Francisco.
Now it was time to take a hike over the remaining hills to Swan Oyster Depot on the other side.

Continue reading at...
It's a Small Small World - 2010 San Francisco & Napa Trip Day 2 Part II
Burger To Die For - 2010 San Francisco & Napa Trip Day 3 - The Food
Riesling, riesling, where for art thou my riesling? - 2010 San Francisco & Napa Trip Day 3 - The Wine


Post a Comment

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More