Friday, August 14, 2009

San Francisco & stuff

Sorry I've been off the radar:
for a couple of weeks. I had to go to DC & San Francisco for work stuff, and then might have stayed over in SF for a few days after that as well.

In my non-San Francisco related news:
I finally had a pretty major breakthrough on my search to find details about John Braden. His sister contacted me a few weeks ago, just before I left town, so I've not had a chance to detail any of this on the blog. However, for anyone who is interested, I hope to post some details that she has provided in the near future.

Managed to avoid most of the super touristy stuff in SF:
and there were some high points that I mention below. I know this isn't a food blog, but sadly there was really no live music to speak of while we were in town, so food is most of what I have to talk about from the trip.

Tried to go to a place in the Castro for dinner:
but it was closed, so we took a local's recommendation and went to a place called Catch. More than worth it if you are willing to spend a little money.

If you are ever in search of good breakfast near Union Square in SF:
you should definitely check out Brenda's French Soul Food in the Tenderloin. Some people tend to be scared of the Tenderloin, but during the day, it's plenty safe, and there are many cool hole-in-the-wall type places to be found. If you go to Brenda's, please note that it is tiny, and if at all busy, you sign yourself in on the waitlist outside. You can avoid some tourist embarrassment if you go straight for the list instead of walking inside and being instructed to step back out to wait for a table. (Note the clipboard hanging in the doorway at the far left of the photo.)

When you eat in San Francisco
you'll notice a 3% surcharge on your restaurant bill for the San Francisco health tax. Pretty cool in my opinion that they've tapped into their tourist market to provide health care to the lower income folks in what is an incredibly expensive city to live in.

Don't buy the yuppie guilt trip:
when restaurant waitpersons ask you if you want bottled water or tap water to drink. The tap water is just fine.

It's not really that "indie":
when the store is named that, is it?

We spent some time searching
for a speakeasy H. had heard about called Bourbon & Branch, that happened to be right by our hotel. It's kind of a hidden away place, and you are supposed to have reservations. We didn't plan that far ahead, so we tried the alternate method of getting in, which is with the password "books." Well, we didn't even have to use the password because we followed in a bunch of people who used the password. It's not super secret or anything, as the info is on their Web site. All part of the experience I guess. It's at the corner of O'Farrell and Jones on the edge of the Tenderloin, and the sign pictured below is all that marks it. Kind of an interesting place, and probably worth going to once if you're in the area. Just remember to bring your pocketbook, as the drinks start around the $10 range, and that's for a draft beer. You'll probably see lots of young people dressed to impress and wonder how the hell they can afford to live in the city AND drink there, but I guess that's just what you find in San Francisco all around.

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