Monday, 28 October 2013

San Francisco Day 1

Hellooo San Francisco! Today is our first day and first time in USA, we arrived into San Francisco late last night and thanks to a super comfortable flight (we were able to lie down and sleep) and a great night sleep at the hotel, neither of us were jet lagged and we were ready to explore the city of San Francisco at 9:30am.  

Day 1 Plan
  • Get our bearings
  • Explore

Boudin Bakery Cafe
Address: 120 O'Farrell St, San Francisco
We were hungry, had no idea where anything was and couldn't make up our mind. After walking past several cafés we settled on Boudin Bakery Cafe because the menu looked a bit more inviting and the prices more reasonable than the previous cafés we walked past (we didn't know this was a chain until later in the day when we walked past another two Boudin Bakery Cafés). I ordered a turkey and avocado sandwich which was awesome, the sandwich was well endowed, the ingredients were fresh and it came with salad. Hubby ordered a clam chowder in sourdough because he wanted to be able to compare it with the clam chowder at the pier. The sourdough was nice and crispy on the outside and the clam chowder wasn't too bad either. We were happy little vegemites when we left Boudin Bakery Cafe and was ready to explore!
Taste Test Score 8/10

Boudin Bakery Cafe on Urbanspoon

Ferry Building Marketplace
We decided to walk down Market Street toward the pier and ended up at the Ferry Building Marketplace. It's a great little farmer's market with lots of interesting shops and eateries. Just to give you an idea of what to expect: there's a shop that sells a 'grow your own mushrooms' kit and there are so many different types of mushrooms in that shop, most of which I had not seen before. As well as the mushroom shop there is a shop called Boccalone Tasty Pig Parts where hubby and I tried the salumi cone which was nice but couldn't beat the salami, ham and prosciutto from Europe. Sound interesting?
Verdict: Great place to visit.

The Embarcadero
This is the waterfront street along the port of San Francisco. We walked along The Embarcadero from the Ferry Building to Pier 39 which would have been a great walk if it wasn't so windy and chilly! The Exploratorium which is the science museum in San Francisco is located here on Pier 15 but we didn't go in and instead hung around outside where there were flying monkeys! From there we walked past Pier 33 which is where you board the ferry to Alcatraz and then to Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf.
Verdict: Nice walk but do it on a not so windy day if you can.

Pier 39
Official site:
Pier 39 is one of those places you need to visit as a tourist, just because; it actually reminded me a tiny little bit of Hillary's Boat Harbour in Perth. It has lots of novelty and souvenir shops, clothing stores and eateries, however one thing you can't miss whilst you're here, are the seals sunbathing and making a lot of noise on the pier. Hubby and I had fun and enjoyed walking around and also enjoyed the live entertainment as well (there was a guy juggling knives whilst trying to balance on a see saw). Whilst we were there we had to have more clam chowder but before we got to the clam chowder we walked past this crepe shop which looked quite enticing.
Verdict: Definitely worth a visit.

The Crepe Cafe
Address: Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco
We were enticed by The Crepe Cafe because you can see them making the crepes through the window. To ensure we have enough room to fit all the food we wanted try in, we only ordered one crab crepe and a serve of garlic fries. The crepe was massive and really good, the crab meat was real crab meat and there were lots of it, my only complaint is that the filling wasn't hot enough. The garlic fries was also pretty awesome and I suspect hubby will be making this when we return home (hubby gave the garlic fries 10/10).
Taste Test Score 8/10

The Crepe Cafe on Urbanspoon

Pier Market Seafood Restaurant 
Official site:
Address: Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco
Time to try another clam chowder and also crab cakes! We were a bit full from our crepe and garlic fries so ordered the smallest size clam chowder which doesn't come in the sourdough but with oyster crackers instead. Verdict? The clam chowder was creamier, tastier and had more chunky ingredients in it than the one we had in the morning at Boudin. The crab cake was made with real crab meat, you can see the individual strands as you bite into it and it was very tasty. We didn't eat in the restaurant, they have a 'crab stand' at the front where you can buy food to go and sit and eat on the benches around the complex.
Taste Test Score 8/10

Pier Market Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon


Musee Mecanique
Official site:
Address: Pier 45, Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco
At Pier 45, there is a museum called Musee Mecanique which has an amazing collection of mechanically operated musical instruments and antique arcade games. Hubby and I had fun competing against each other on the arcade machines and taking photos. I have to say some of the machines with the singing puppets are a bit scary but the mechanical musical instruments are beautiful and amazing. 
Verdict: Interesting place to visit for something different.

Little Italy and Chinatown
We were so stuffed after eating at Fisherman's Wharf, we decided to walk all the way back to our hotel which is approximately 3km away. We walked through Little Italy along Columbus Ave which is lined with Italian restaurants and all the light posts are marked with the colours of the Italian flag. Some of the restaurants really did remind me of the restaurants in Italy. We turned off Columbus when it hit Grant Ave which is one of the many streets of Chinatown, however we only strolled along Grant Ave because it is where the Chinatown gates are located. Chinatown in San Francisco reminded me of some of the older parts of Hong Kong. We eventually ended back at our hotel for a rest and to warm up.
Verdict: Definitely worth a visit especially if you're looking for something to eat.

Address: 401 Taylor St, San Francisco
We didn't feel like eating until 8pm and decided on Jasper's as we didn't want to venture too far from our hotel (it was only a couple of blocks away) and because we were already quite tired from a full day of walking, something which we were not accustomed to. We didn't have a problem getting a table at 8:30pm, however it did take a while for someone to attend to us but after we were seated, our allocated waitress was wonderful. Hubby ordered a steak, I ordered lamb gyros and we shared a mac and cheese. The steak was cooked a perfect medium rare and was so tender, my gyros were a bit soggy from the sauce and wasn't too exciting and the mac and cheese, well it tasted alright but it was really quite watery. I really enjoyed dessert though, I ordered a fudge brownie with peanut butter mousse, stout cream and beer caramel, it was yum! 
Taste Test Score 7.5/10

Jasper's on Urbanspoon

So that's the end of our day one adventures. Loving San Francisco so far but a few tips and observations from a first time tourist. There are lots of homeless people around so do keep your eye and ear out eventhough it doesn't feel unsafe like Northbridge in Perth does at night. Keep away from the Tenderloin district as this is where the lower socioeconomic citizens hang out and unless you want to do some charity work there, I'd avoid it. Remember to tip at restaurants that offer table service although it is not mandatory it is expected. So far food is cheaper or the same price as Perth but servings are bigger and/or better. If you're travelling to San Francisco at this time of the year (end of October) bring a scarf and a hat of some description as it can get very windy and very chilly. Off to bed now to charge up for another full day tomorrow. Good night. xx

P.S. - Sorry about the lack of photos but I didn't realise my camera doesn't like my new phone and won't transfer files. :( Will make sure I take more photos on my phone for future posts. :)